ACAI to ensue sustainable improvement in cassava production in Africa – IITA


By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Project Coordinator for African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), Dr Abdulai Jalloh said ACAI is set to ensure sustainable improvement in cassava production in Africa.
Dr Jalloh who dropped this hint in Ibadan declared that towards this direction, ACAI has stepped up efforts in cultivating and fostering the right partnerships in its cardinal aim of reducing the cassava yield gap in Africa.
According to him, the project has engaged key actors in Nigeria and Tanzania from farmers, researchers, extension services, development workers, processors as well as input dealers notably fertilizer manufacturing companies.
Emphasizing that the main aim of the project “is to establish contact among relevant actors for considerations for learning and information sharing that will benefit the participating partners associated with ACAI”, he stressed that “the ACAI project team from inception realized the importance of partnerships, and is sparing no effort in ensuring effective collaboration among partners from the experimental phase to the development, and use of the tools that will support appropriate management of cassava to realize the crop’s fullest potential on farmers’ fields”.
Dr Jalloh added that even though the entry point of ACAI “is to address yield gap, it is imperative for strategic considerations of the cassava value chain and inclusiveness of all concerned”.
“ACAI is conscious of the mistakes of past interventions where bottlenecks were considered in isolation irrespective of other existing ones and even those that could occur as a result of concentrating on only one aspect. ACAI would direct efforts towards reducing the yield gap, which would eventually increase cassava production while ensuring impacts along the value chain with a view to having a sustainable improvement in cassava production, processing, and utilization, and impact on overall economic development of individuals, communities, and countries”.
Speaking, Mr James Watiti of CABI who is leading the establishment of cassava value chain clusters said it was very crucial to bring all stakeholders together and hold a meaningful conversation in an open manner, adding that as long as there is candid conversation among partners, issues and challenges can be addressed and synergies capitalized on”.


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