By Abdallah el-Kurebe
A partnership between the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supported Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has been rolled out to support six Nigerian states in cassava mechanisation.
Niger, Benue, Taraba, Ebonyi, Anambra and Ogun states will benefit from mechanization equipment that would improve cassava production in the country, including cassava planter, mechanize fertilizer spreader and harvester, acquired through funding by IFAD-VCDP.
The partnership by AATF and IFAD-VCDP) in Nigeria is aimed at tappinginto the enormous potentials in the Cassava crop and the resilient spirit of cassava farmers in Nigeria, especially those that have battled numerous problems across the value chain of the crop.
AATF Senior Business Development Manager and team lead of the cassava Mechanization and Agro Processing project (CAMAP), Mr. George Marechera explained that the partnership would address major constraints faced by farmers, including drudgery, low yield and linkage to market opportunities for their crops.
“This equipment will expand the frontiers of cassava mechanization in Nigeria and bring about efficiency in production that will lead to high yield. Farmers who have so far have been exposed to this equipment have recorded up 30 tonnes per hectare as against an average of 8 tonnes hitherto,” he said.
Prior to this acquisition about 300 hectares was planted in Ogun State to demonstrate the capacity and efficiency of these machines.
The cassava mechanization and agro processing project is a public private partnership coordinated by the AATF with the goal of bringing together cassava product processors, farm machinery manufacturers and fabricators and government of participating countries.
The project has the objective of linking farmers to mechanization service providers, processors and in turn build their capacity to engage in farming as a business based on best cassava agronomic practice.