Improving cassava farming with Mechanization

By Alex Abutu

An African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) initiative supported by the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), known as the Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP), is improving the lot of small-scale cassava farmers across selected states of the federation.

The project which is in its third year and operational in Kwara, Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Kogi has the target of addressing key constraints associated with cassava production such as lack of access to improved varieties, poor agronomy practices, and lack of mechanisation and processing.

It is also expected to play a major role in reducing rural poverty by using cassava value-chain to generate employment and income as well as make mechanisation an integral part of agriculture.

No wonder therefore, a group of educated youth, numbering over 15 and including medical doctors, engineers, accountants and teachers in Isenyin Local Government Area of Oyo state, boldly embraced the project and are currently farming over 40 hectares of land with the assistance of AATF under the CAMAP programme.

The group had in the past laboured in vain without getting any tangible results or assistance until AATF came to their rescue and taught them how to embrace and adopt mechanisation in cassava farming.
Abdulrazak Abdulwaheed, spokesperson for the group, in an interaction said that “We leased 40 hectares of land from the community at the cost of N167,000 for one season. We bought axes and other implements to clear the land which took us two and half months and then AATF came in. After our agreement with them, they supplied us with inputs.

“We have seen a maize planter but we have never seen a cassava planter. When AATF told us that they will bring cassava planter and harrower, we didn’t believe it until it arrived our farm.

“When the machine was brought to our farm, AATF provided the operator of the machine to put us through on how to handle the machine. They enlightened us on farm mechanisation, they brought all the implements we needed in the farm, like tractor, harrower, plough, planter, boom sprayer, chemicals, 80 bags of fertilizer, and they also brought the money to buy fuel for the tractor.”

CAMAP Project Coordinator, AATF, Ayodele Omowumi, said the project was designed to improve and make cassava farming more attractive in the country.

According to Omowumi, the project has the vision of introducing a sub-sector that creates a future where cassava farmers are economically buoyant, with enhanced livelihoods, and bring about food security.

The planter, supplied by the AATF, has the potentials of planting a hectare in 45 minutes, but the manual planting takes about 22-man days to cover a hectare. The planter also applies fertiliser simultaneously as it is plantingThe CAMAP programme, as originally designed, has a target of reaching 3.5 million farmers in five years, and the major objective of the project is to increase farmers’ income, improve their standard of living and show how mechanisation can improve agriculture production.
Improving cassava farming with Mechanization Improving cassava farming with Mechanization Reviewed by getitrightnigerians on 08:23:00 Rating: 5

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