IITA, German agency train 35 farmers in cassava farming

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International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and a German development agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), have trained 35 farmers, extension agents on cassava farming systems in Ogun.

Godwin Atser, the IITA’s Digital Extension and Rural Advisory Services Specialist, said that the beneficiaries were also drawn from farmers cooperatives and N-Power youths in the state.

Atser in a statement in Abuja  said the training facilitated by IITA, was aimed at assisting farmers to minimise crop losses caused by weed infestations in the cassava and maize value chains.

He said that the beneficiaries were trained on good agricultural practices principles including cassava agronomy and steps to cassava weed management.

Others are calibration, safe use and application of herbicides.

“The training capitalised on successes and lessons learnt under the Cassava Weed Management Project of IITA which has merged with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI).’’

Atser also quoted Mr Sunday Idahosa, the Value Chain Advisor of GIZ, as saying that weeds were a major challenge constraining the productivity of cassava.

“Weeding takes from 50 to 80 per cent of labour budget for cassava production.

“The training is a dream come true, and it will create an open door for future collaboration between GIZ and IITA/ACAI.

“We are hoping that this Training of Trainers (ToT) will extend to about 1000 farmers from the step-down activities that will take place following the training,’’ Idahosa explained.

IITA works with partners to enhance crops quality and productivity, reduce producer and consumer risks, and generate wealth from agriculture with the ultimate goals of reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

GIZ is a German development agency headquartered in Bonn and Eschborn that provides services in the field of international development cooperation.