ACAI partner establishes 492 training plots for scaling AKILIMO
The Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC), a primary partner of the Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), has established and planted 492 validation trial sites for AKILIMO. Also, TFNC set up 46 demonstration sites across the ecological zones covered by ACAI.
Planting took place between October 2019 and April 2020 because of the varying ecological and climatic conditions across the country that dictate the planting and harvest windows. The regime used in planting and monitoring the plots follows the AKILIMO recommendations in Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices.
While the validation trials will be used to check the effectiveness of the AKILIMO recommendation when applied practically, the demonstration plots, on the other hand, will be used as a training location for farmers of the various aspects of the practices advocated by the AKILIMO tools. The organization will also use the validation trial plots for training farmers.
“Despite having our focus on best planting practices, we have received increased interest for all AKILIMO tool recommendations and therefore will include other use cases in our training,” said Rhoda Mahava from TFNC. AKILIMO tools provide cassava farmers with tailored fertilizer recommendations, land preparation methods, weed management, planting densities, and fertilizer application best practices for intercropped cassava fields as well as planting and harvest dates for high cassava root starch quality and sustainable raw material supply.
TFNC has resorted to training individuals, rather than groups, due to the coronavirus pandemic following the guidelines issued by health officials to avoid infection and transmission of the disease.
The trials and demo plots were established and planted in collaboration with select secondary partners, local government authorities, extension agents, and strategic farmers. The secondary and primary partners working with ACAI are required to be active players in the cassava value chain.