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400 Cassava Farmers In Ebonyi Trained On Akilimo Tool

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The Cedro Royal Multiventures, Abuja has trained 400 grassroots cassava farmers in the use of Akilimo advisory tool for fertiliser recommendation and weed management.

The Lead team of the venture, Mr Fakunle Aremu, said this on Monday in Abakaliki during a training workshop on the use of the tool.

Aremu said the innovation was meant to increase cassava production.

He said the firm, together with Eleanya Empowerment Foundation Africa in the state, wanted cassava farmers to see cultivation as a business and more profitable.

Aremu described Akilimo as a digital service that provided tailored fertiliser recommendations to farmers and service providers.

He called on trained farmers to pass the knowledge to other farmers for sustainability and food security.

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“We plan to train 8 000 farmers but will train only 400 today. We train and build capacity of farmers on best practices in sustainable agriculture. We also link farmers’ groups with innovations, financial institutions and markets,” Aremu said.

The Akilimo Promoters with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Mr James Ekele and Mrs Josephine Fasakin, said the objective of the recommendation was to show farmers that cassava farming is business and more profitable.

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Ekele, who is also a facilitator, described the project name as Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI).

“We have developed tools that guide farmers on fertiliser recommendation, weed management and best planting practices. The fertiliser tool recommends six uses, such as type, quality, how and when to apply fertiliser on cassava farming. It also helps them for cost benefits if it is profitable to use fertiliser or not. The weed management describes how best to prepare a farm and control weeds to achieve maximum yield,” Ekele said

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The Founder, Eleanya Foundation and Farmer, Mr Henry Agha, called on government at all levels to support farmers to achieve objectives of the innovation and ensure food security.

Mr Emma Oyim, farmer and Chairman, FADAMA in Afikpo-North Local Government Area, said he had been cultivating cassava out of ignorance.

“I am privileged to acquire this new innovation to boost cassava production and hope the programme will be carried out to the grassroots for maximum yield,” Oyim said.

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The General Overseer, God Sent Salvation Strong Tower Mission, Mr John Echem, said that government’s support on funding would increase productivity of cassava.

The workshop featured lecture in fertiliser recommendation and weed management.

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