Tuesday, 15 September 2015

1200 Farmers Trained on Farming Techniques for Higher Yields

    1200 Farmers Trained on Farming Techniques for Higher Yields

Deputy Direct, CAVA II Project Dr Adebosola Oladeinde-Opeodu distributing
 improved cassava stems to  farmers in Kwara State Nigeria.

Over 1200 cassava farmers across Nigeria have been successfully trained on new farming methods for improved productivity, and empowered with 4440 bundles of high yielding cassava cuttings, by the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project, Nigeria (CAVA II).

The farmers’ trainings which commenced in April, was facilitated by service providers working for CAVA II-Nigeria in different states across the country. Four geo-political zones of Nigeria: South-South, North-Central, South-South and South-West, were covered during the trainings, and the farmers were linked to markets close to them.

The Country Manager, Cassava: Adding Value for Africa-Nigeria, Prof Lateef Sanni said the training programme was aimed at mentoring smallholder farmers to cultivate cassava productively, thereby increasing their incomes.

Farmers' training at Umudike in  Abia State
He said: “Our aim is to mentor and coach the smallholder farmers, to cultivate high yielding cassava varieties, and expose them to good agronomic practices which will increase their yield per hectare. In the next 10 -12 months when they harvest the varieties, If they are able to get about 20 -25 per hectare, it can be said that we have been able to improve their yield from the current 11 tons per hectare to 20- 25 tons per hectare.”

Prof Sanni pointed out that the farmers’ training is in line with the overall objective of CAVA II Project which is to improve the incomes of smallholder farmers, adding that if the yields of the farmers are increased, their income will consequently increase.

He said, “If the project is able to double the yield of the farmers without expanding the area of their cultivation, the farmers will make more money. The improved varieties distributed to the farmers will also have a diffusion effect on other farmers, because after harvest, the farmers with high yielding varieties can circulate their cuttings to other farmers in their vicinity; and gradually the low yielding varieties cultivated by most farmers will be replaced with high yielding varieties”

Farmers who supply fresh cassava roots (FCR) to large industries in Nigeria, such as Thai Farm International, Greentech Starch, Allied Atlantic Distillers Limited Igbesa, and Matna Starch Akure were targeted in the first round of the farmers’ training which commenced in April this year and ended in March. The second part of the training, which was held between July and August, 2014, was organised for farmers who supply fresh cassava root (FRC) to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the country. A cluster of farmers were built around big SMEs in order to facilitate constant supply of roots to the industries.

In order to ensure that the fresh cassava roots (FCR) supplied to end users have starch content up to 26 percent as required by the SMEs, CAVA II Nigeria developed a theory of change whereby the project planned and distributed improved cassava stems to farmers who supply roots to large scale industries.
Mr Stephen Olonade, demonstrating the right 
spacing for planting cassava during a farmers' training 
in Kogi State.

The Country Technical Expert on Cassava Production for CAVA II-Nigeria, Mr Stephen Olonade, explained: “ The project distributed improved cassava stems which include: TME 419, TMS 96/1632, TMS 98/0581, TMS 30555, TMS 92/0326, and TMS 98/0505. These varieties where chosen because they have high starch content which is highly sought after by these large industries and SMEs.”

He however added that having adopted the best agronomic practices and  improved cassava varieties, the farmers yields are expected to increase by at least 25 percent in the next 10 -12 months.

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