IITA-ACAI to train 30,000 farmers in Abia, Benue, Oyo, Osun, Ogun  - Mega Icon Magazine
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IITA-ACAI to train 30,000 farmers in Abia, Benue, Oyo, Osun, Ogun 

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About 30,000 farmers from Abia, Benue, Oyo, Ogun and Osun states will benefit from the training on the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management & Best Planting Practices, says Godwin Atser, ACAI Digital Extension & Advisory Services Specialist today.

The trainings are aimed at empowering farmers with the knowledge to boost cassava and maize productivity and yield per hectare. This will subsequently increase farmers’ incomes, better their livelihoods, and create jobs for more people.

The trainings are being done in close collaboration with state Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) and other extension service providers.

To ensure a seamless and successful dissemination of the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices tool, the team has developed videos and translated same into local languages – Igbo, Yoruba, and Tiv, targeting the respective zones.

The ACAI team has also procured mini-projectors and mobile phones to empower extension service providers in the participating states.

The Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management was first developed by the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project. The tool has since integrated the best planting practices of ACAI. Farmers who use the toolkit have more than doubled their cassava yield from the national average of 9 tonnes per ha to more than 20 tonnes per ha.

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“It is amazing to see how the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management & Best Planting Practices Decision Support Tool is changing the face of cassava farmers,” Atser added.

Dr Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development & Delivery described the toolkit as an innovation that combines a set of agronomic recommendations and plant protection products to control weeds and increase the productivity of cassava.

Beyond Nigeria, several other countries have requested for the toolkit with ACAI team training partners in Liberia, Tanzania, Burundi, and Zambia.

Apart from the use of videos, the ACAI team has put up the recommendations from the Six Steps on Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices on the 3-2-1 service of Airtel where subscribers in Nigeria can dial 3-2-1 and get information on cassava weed management and other agronomic practices free of charge up to 10 times in a month.

“The idea is to get the recommendations to thousands of farmers across Nigeria and Tanzania so they can get better yield from cassava farming,” Dr Dixon added.

 

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Oyo govt. issues 48 hours ultimatum to owners of abandoned trucks on Ojoo-Iwo Road Expressway

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Owners of abandoned Trucks and Containers on Ojoo-Iwo Road Express axis have been warned to take the vehicles off the road sides in the next 48 hours or risk the facing sanctions from the Oyo State Government

The chairman of the State’s Environmental Task Force Committee and Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, retired Commissioner of Police Fatai Owoseni, made this known on Sunday, while monitoring the evacuation of heaps of refuse on the Ojoo-Iwo road express way organised by Union of Tipper and Quarry Employers of Nigeria (UTQEN), Oyo State chapter.

While speaking during the clean-up exercise, which was held at the Ojoo expressway and its environs, Owoseni commended the initiative of the Association in assisting the Government to make the environment cleaner and safer.

He enjoined other associations to emulate the UTQEN in supporting the State Government to make the State habitable for all and sundry.

He said: “I appreciate the Union, which joined us in this mission, donating their trucks freely for us to work today and for bringing out their members for this exercise.

“I also will appeal to the good people of this State to desist from dropping refuse just anywhere anyhow. The median along the road is not the proper place to drop refuse. Everybody in the neighborhood should key into getting contractors, the PSPs to pick their refuse. This has been the practice but people stopped it at a certain period of time. So, they should support the initiative of the State Government to make Oyo State, especially Ibadan.”

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Owoseni noted that over 20 trucks were brought out by the Union to rid the axis of refuse and filth, saying: “It is a good initiative that we have seen an organised body supporting the efforts of Governor Makinde. They brought out about 20 trucks this morning with their members to join us in this process. If we have people buying into government’s efforts like this, we will get everything cleared in no small time.

“The most challenging thing is the buy-in of our people. We have been doing a lot of enlightenment. We met with different market leaders to sensitise them and let them know that everybody must join the state in getting rid of this refuse and sustaining the effort.

“We are also advising the people on the need to adopt the system that has been in place; using the contractors and PSP but it has been a herculean task.”

He charged the people of the State to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the medians and roads, urging them to embrace the culture of waste-bagging, which he said would play a significant role in eliminating the challenge of indiscriminate waste dumping in the State.

Owoseni maintained that the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration had Zero Tolerance for indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the state, stating that it was already making progress in the area of refuse disposal and management.

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“To change the mind of the people is a very difficult thing. In all of these, we are making progress, it is just matter of time and I believe that the good people of Oyo State will appreciate what this administration is doing on solid waste disposal.

“We want to see how it works in this emergency period and, of course, the Governor has set a template that will solve the issue of waste disposal permanently in Oyo State.

“So, by the time emergency period elapses, we would have gotten a workable template where respective MDAs that are supposed to do their work will be able to do it and sustain it,” he said.

In his remark, the Chairman of UTQEN, Comrade Wasiu Yekeen, said that the clean-up exercise organized by his association was meant to support the State Government in making Ibadan cleaner and safer.

He said the association was impressed by the way the Governor Makinde-led administration was handling the issue of environmental sanitation in the State.

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Osinbajo Departs Nigeria For UAE Peace Forum – Aide Discloses

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has departed the nation’s capital, Abuja for the City of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The Vice President is expected to speak on ‘The Role of Religions in Promoting Tolerance: From Possibility to Necessity’ at the Sixth Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.

Contained in a  statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Prof Osinbajo’s speech is scheduled as the forum’s keynote address.

“The Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies is an annual event organized by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

“Prof. Osinbajo’s speech is scheduled as the forum’s keynote address.

“The Sixth Assembly envisages an opportunity to initiate a civilized dialogue on the formulation of a new concept of tolerance, one that is humane and generous, and to transform a perspective that makes tolerance a religious imperative.”

He also stated that VP Osinbajo will be at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, to meet with Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayan, the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

Both leaders are expected to discuss bilateral issues on how to continue to expand diplomatic and economic relationships between Nigeria and the UAE.

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“At the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the Vice President will meet with Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayan, the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. Both leaders will discuss bilateral issues on how to continue to expand diplomatic and economic relationships between Nigeria and the UAE.”

 

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Cassava: ACAI scientists, partners to meet in Zanzibar to review progress

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Scientists, experts and scaling partners of the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are set for their 4th annual review and planning meeting. The aim is to discuss and unveil the progress made in cassava agronomy and how such efforts are addressing the low yield per hectare on farmers’ fields in Nigeria and Tanzania.

Across Africa, yield per hectare of cassava is about 9 tons per ha as opposed to Asia with more than 20 tons per ha. This undermines African cassava farmers’ competitiveness in the export market.

The ACAI meeting holding on the exquisite Unguja Island in Zanzibar, Tanzania, from 9 December to 12 December 2019, presents an opportunity for the entire ACAI team to get-together, celebrate successes of the project, discuss challenges, and plan for the fifth and final year, says the Project Coordinator, Dr. Pieter Pypers.

This year’s meeting  will have less of plenary presentations but more of poster sessions, a world café, breakout sessions and information booths where scientists, knowledge exchange experts and partners will showcase and share ideas.

According to Dr. Pypers, “the meeting will also be about scaling and dissemination first, and how we have started gaining momentum with going on the ground with Akilimo. The first day will be entirely devoted to how we have been putting our tools to use within the extension activities of our partners. Only on the last day, we will talk about science.”

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Akilimo is the mobile agronomy advisory tool developed to serve as the face of ACAI’s decision support system. It combines data, predictions models, software infrastructure and interfaces, using pragmatic and user-centered approaches to provide the information in ways that are attractive and useful to partners, extension workers and cassava farmers.

The first day will be entirely devoted to how we have been putting our tools to use within the extension activities of our partners. Only on the last day, we will talk science. – Pypers

Apart from the ACAI team members, partners leading the dissemination of the ACAI Decision Support Tools through extension work in Nigeria and Tanzania expected at the meeting include Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Farm Concern International (FCI), UWAMWIMA, Minjingu, Psaltry International, 2Scale and NOTORE. The technical partners working to strengthen Akilimo (VIAMO 321 service, eSOKO digital solutions and Arifu chatbot) will also be present at booth sessions.

Zanzibar presents a unique venue for this year’s ACAI review meeting.  The island is a real gem, a beautiful place with an interesting history, beaches, sun, palm trees and great food.

“We will take the opportunity to enjoy some of the pleasures that Zanzibar has to offer. But Zanzibar is also a place where cassava is grown. And cassava is a very important crop for Zanzibari farmers, both for food and for cash. Together with the Zanzibar Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) and our partners– Farm Concern International (FCI) and UWAMWIMA, we want to demonstrate some of the very interesting work that has been conducted here. We will be taking you out to the field, and let you experience first-hand how recommendations on cassava intercropping are now being validated and demonstrated to farmer groups on the island,” Dr Pypers added.

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