Mechanisation helps boost cassava farm yields in Nigeria and Zambia

Farmers participating in the Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP) in Osun state, Nigeria realised a boost in their 2014 harvests as they bagged between 28 and 33 tonnes of cassava per hectare compared to the 7 tonnes per hectare they previously harvested. In Zambia, farmers realised an average of 24 tonnes per hectare up from the usual average of five tonnes from the crop harvested between May and July 2014 that was planted in December 2012 and January 2013. The harvested tubers also attracted higher purchase prices through structured market linkages between farmers and processors facilitated by the project. Processors collected the cassava tubers from farmers’ fields, reducing the duration of time to market which is key to preserving the quality of the tubers and ensuring it is processed within 12 hours of harvest. Harvesting in the other three states of Ogun, Kwara and Kogi in Nigeria and other fields in Zambia is scheduled for later in the year. CAMAP uses a value chain approach to address constraints that smallholder farmers face in the cultivation of cassava. The project encourages use of improved high yielding and disease resistant cassava varieties; use of planters which ensures stems are well cut and properly planted; use of fertiliser and herbicides; and weeding. The project also supports market linkages which helps farmers get good returns for their crop. Project activities also kicked off in Uganda with the first mechanised planting in Apac and Nwoya districts being conducted between July and September 2014. For more information on CAMAP contact George Marechera (g.marechera@aatf-africa.org)

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