Final Version of Cassava Agronomy Tool Deployed for Use in Nigeria and Tanzania

Final Version of Cassava Agronomy Tool Deployed for Use by Farmers in Nigeria and Tanzania

The agronomy advice tool named AKILIMO is an all-in-one agronomic advisory tool developed by the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project, which is supporting cassava growers with the knowledge and tailored recommendations needed to intensify their cassava-based cropping systems.

In order to support use, uptake, and adoption of the AKILIMO advice tool, the ACAI project has teamed with several partners who participated in the development process, as well with interested entities, to carry out training and dissemination events.

The ACAI project is a large association of strategic research institutions, national research agencies, private business enterprises and non-governmental organizations that are dedicated to developing the  resources needed to build the capacity of both end users, and trainers of end users of AKILIMO.

In Tanzania, a series of farmer training and profiling sessions have been carried out to establish a network of trainers who will apply the technology and teach their peers. The same activity is being implemented in Nigeria with project partners leading training for extension agents within their networks to expand the reach and uptake of the AKILIMO advice tools.

AKILIMO offers a suite of decision support tools to provide advice on different aspects of cassava cultivation, identified by cassava value chain actors as the most important agronomic gaps to be filled to improve production and productivity of cassava.

The AKILIMO tools have been packaged in various formats that allow access and use for audiences at all skill and literacy levels. For versatile access, AKILIMO is being deployed in the following formats:

  1. Smartphone app
  2. Paper-based tools: flyers, manuals, lookup tables and maps available on the AKILIMO website
  3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) through VIAMO
  4. Interactive SMS and chat applications through the chatbot by Arifu.

The ACAI team has also established a data capturing tool to monitor the exponential growth in the number of farmers choosing the various formats of the tool and a feedback loop for regular updates and improvement.

Partner involvement and ownership of the process is part of the overall plan to have AKILIMO tools be sustainably maintained beyond the ACAI project. In 2020, the project has entered into a series of additional partnerships within Nigeria and Tanzania.

ACAI project is implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in partnership with the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI), and several other research and development partners.

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APNI Contributor: Dr. Kodjovi (Guillaume) Ezui, Project Manager – Cassava, East and South Africa