TAAT and ACAI train stakeholders on Good Agronomy Technology Practice
The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project in collaboration with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) conducted a training on Good Agricultural Technologies’ Practices (GATP) and Mechanization for cassava stakeholders in Mkuranga, Eastern Zone Tanzania. The training is part of TAAT’s core objective to empower project stakeholders for efficient and effective deployment of appropriate technologies.
The training was organized at the Central District Office, Mkuranga on 4–5 March. It was facilitated by ACAI East Africa coordinator and IITA Systems Agronomist Veronica NE Uzokwe; ACAI and IITA Weed Scientist Prof Friday Ekeleme; and Engr George Marechera, Business Development Manager for the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).
Participants in the training included representatives from the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), development partners: FJS starch company and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), government representatives, extension agents (EAs), and cassava growers. The GATP and mechanization of cassava production systems training aims to empower stakeholders, particularly EAs, who work very closely with cassava growers.
In her opening remarks, the guest of honor Madam Julitha Bulali, who is the District Agricultural, Irrigation and Cooperative Officer (DAICO) in Mkuranga District, hailed the training as a progressive step towards empowering smallholder farmers.
Uzokwe gave an overview of the objectives and the content of the training which covered topics including good agricultural practices, data capturing, proper use of herbicides, and alternative weed management options in cassava production. The facilitators also gave training sessions on mechanization in cassava production and record keeping, logistics management, and cost-effective tracking.
In her presentation, Uzokwe emphasized the importance of applying tailored GATP to increase productivity and profitability. Participants in work groups developed work plans to implement in the first project year of TAAT. A reward system for work delivery and payment modality was also designed for the EAs. Participants discussed and agreed to establish several demo fields per district, site selection processes, plans for field activities, and sourcing of planting materials.
Ekeleme led a practical session on how to calibrate herbicide volumes to be used in knapsack spraying. In his presentation, Ekeleme emphasized the importance of considering the efficacy and safety of herbicides to be applied to manage weeds in cassava fields to optimize yield and generate income from cassava.
According to TAAT cassava-compact leader, Adebayo Abass, the project will train a minimum of 4,000 smallholder farmers in Tanzania. Abass said the farmers will be taught to handle user-friendly mechanized tools from production to harvesting of cassava. Participants will also exchange experiences that would ensure that the training aligns well with the expected outputs.
Representatives from the cassava growers’ group, TARI, government, and development partners expressed their gratitude to the training organizers and noted that the skills learned will empower them to carry out their duties effectively.