Farmers in three countries record over 200% increase in harvest
Farmers in Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia who tried out mechanizing their farms under Cassava Mechanization and Agro-Processing Project (CAMAP) and AgriDrive of the Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) are reaping bountifully from their farms and earning more in the process, AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, has disclosed.
Dr Kanangire who made the observation in a presentation to the 2021 Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Policy Dialogue entitled: Technologies to improve supply of diverse, safe and nutritious food across the value chains, highlighted that AATF has taken the lead in the facilitation of access and delivery of quality and affordable agricultural technologies to African smallholder farmers that significantly enhance productivity and improve their incomes.
From the 7-9 Metric Tonnes per hectare harvest, Dr. Kanangire said farmers under the project had reported increased harvests to over 25 MT/ha, an increase of over 200%.
In a statement on Monday, the AATF Executive Director disclosed that the farmers also increased their earnings five-fold from $350 per ha to over $1,800 per hectares due to better quality tubers, increased yields, and greater market linkages.
The CAMAP and AgriDrive projects, according to Dr. Kanangire are initiatives that have put AATF in the vanguard of encouraging mechanization and Agroprocessing.
““At AATF, we continue to witness the transformative power of technologies when placed in the hands of small-holder farmers.
“The CAMAP Project managed to bring over 65,300 hectares under mechanization within five years in Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia, benefitting over 850,000 smallholder farmers, majority of them women and youth who usually provide labor for cassava production,” he said
Giving further details, Dr. Kanangire said, “Through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) initiative driven by AATF, over 120 climate-smart drought-tolerant and insect-resistant maize varieties have been released. These varieties are suited to different agro-ecological zones and with the potential to increase maize yields by 40-60 percent.”
AATF and partners in Nigeria, released the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea variety, the first GM food crop to be released for cultivation outside South Africa. The product is resistant to the pest called Maruca pod borer which has the potential to reduce production by up to 80 percent.
“Cowpea production is expected to increase through the control of Maruca Pod Borer. The benefits derived from the product include bumper harvests, higher incomes, and improved nutrition and health through reduced use of harmful insecticides. Farmers will now be assured of better health, especially regarding lower use of chemicals from eight sprays to only two,” he said.
FANRPAN Policy Dialogue is an annual event that brings Governments and other agricultural policy stakeholders on agricultural transformation in Africa.