Extension agents working under the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) in Oyo State and the University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM) in Benue State have concluded plans to resume training activities previously halted by the COVID-19 lockdown across Nigeria.
Godwin Atser, digital extension advisory services specialist for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), disclosed this, noting that training activities would adhere strictly to federal rules on physical distancing established to stem the spread of COVID- 19.
The two organizations are partnering with the IITA’s African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) on disseminating the “Akilimo” decision support tools to farmers in Oyo State and Benue State.
The name Akilimo is coined from a combination of two Swahili words, “akili” meaning smart or /intelligent and “kilimo” meaning agriculture , which together loosely translates to smart agriculture.
The Akilimo system was developed over the course of three to four- years of research. , it is an all-in-one agronomic advisory tool developed by the ACAI, it supports cassava growers with knowledge and recommendations to strengthen their cassava-based cropping systems.
The JDPM and UAM disseminate information through gatherings of farmers, which occur in their homes, village squares, community schools, and churches using battery-powered mobile projectors, videos, and other paper-based tools developed by the ACAI.
Through their extension networks, the two organizations have both covered dozens of rural communities and local government areas in the two states since they began in 2019.They originally commenced their operation by instructing farmers on best-practice, weed control methods, the safe use of herbicides, and ideal planting practices in cassava and -maize farming systems.
The training activities had previously been halted due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown measures put in place by both state and federal governments to curtail the pandemic in Nigeria.