Cassava mechanisation project holds first field events in Zambia

The Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP) held its first field events for farmers in Zambia during June 2013. The two field days held in Mansa and Samfya districts of Luapula province showcased the cassava production technologies that involve the mechanisation of most production and processing activities. During the field days, employment of best agronomic practices for cassava production was also discussed.

The field days involved host farmers demonstrating how they established their cassava farms, giving the participants an opportunity to compare the new information with their traditional practices. They all attested to the great difference in terms of crop vigour and growth rate since the new methodology, unlike traditional methods, involved planting improved cassava varieties versus old stems, using fertilizer, the recommended length of stems and spacing and weeding frequently.

Participants were also able to see the functioning of the cassava planter and up rooter which demonstrated labour and time saving advantages of the machinery. Farmers in Zambia will be able to use the machinery during the next planting season later in the year.

The two field days were attended by over 300 participants including farmers, project partners from Zambia Agricultural Research Institute, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the National Agriculture Information Services, the media and local administration.

The goal of CAMAP, which is being implemented in Zambia and Nigeria as the first pilot countries for the Project, is to support the adoption of labour-saving cassava production technologies for use by smallholder farmers in Africa for sustainable improvements in food security, incomes and livelihoods of farmers, processors, and marketers in the cassava sector.

For more information on CAMAP contact George Marechera (g.marechera@aatf-africa.org)

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