In just two years, the Expanded Cassava Village Processing Programme (ECVP-P), a programme of Farm Concern International, has facilitated sales worth USD 169,656,189.92, enabled farmers to have 84,784.44 hectares of land under cultivation and produce 391,720.6 MT of cassava.
Through the Commercial Village Model (CVM), the flagship model at FCI, market access for the smallholder farmers has been improved by organizing producer households into commercial villages to ensure adequate numbers of farmers are producing significant volumes of cassava and sweet potatoes which are attractive to market players.
It is for these and other reasons that Farm Concern International (FCI) was in the month of May invited to share its experiences in the implementation of smallholder commercialization interventions at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in Ibadan, Nigeria. The IITA scientists, together with national partner institutes and development partners, gathered to define which agronomic practices could increase cassava yields and how these can be scaled up to benefit farmers in Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, and Uganda in a new initiative dubbed African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI). FCI was represented by Antony Kaunga, Senior Technical Specialist – Programme Operations and Coordination based in Africa Office.
The forum focused on seeking agronomy information from development partners who are engaged in cassava value chain on how to improve their work. The ACAI will tackle four key challenges for cassava intensification: Empowering farmers with appropriate cassava agronomy information on cassava; Collecting the necessary strategic information in relation to cassava growth and nutrient needs; Empowering last-mile delivery agents to make decisions, obtain information, and use these within their networks; Developing geo-spatial recommendations to close yield gaps; and integrating national systems and engaging them in innovative cassava agronomy aimed at reaching scale.
The proposed initiative is set to commence in 2016. ACAI will aim to take cassava to scale in cassava-based systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Upon implementation, ACAI will be driven mainly by implementing partners and will focus on the agronomy requirements of cassava fields and integrating best practices for other management objectives.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond