The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) in Uyo trained120 women from four Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom on improved methods of cassava cultivation.
The training was facilitated by the State Coordinator of NALDA, Mr Imoh Imoh, to introduce women to modern ways of cultivating cassava for value addition.
Imoh said that the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, was keen on agricultural development to ensure food sufficiency in the country.
He said that the women were selected from Abak, Ini, Obot Akara and Oruk Anam LGAs of the state.
The coordinator said that improved methods of cassava cultivation was to achieve increased yields, which must begin with selection of high quality planting materials.
Imoh said that the training would expose the participants to modern methods of growing and processing cassava for better yields and profit.
He urged the women to count themselves lucky for being the first set of farmers selected from millions, to benefit from the training.
“Most cassava farmers are either not aware of available modern technologies for growing and processing cassava or lacked the ability to use them.
“The training will be useful to farmers and add value that will enhance farmers knowledge and capacity to improve efficiency of their cassava production and increase profit”.
Dr Bennedict Eka, the Resource Person, said that cassava plant cultivation could be done between March and April in Akwa Ibom, while the second planting season could be done in October every year.
Eka told the trainees that cassava could be planted manually or using mechanized methods, adding that for effectiveness and optimum plant operation of cassava, mechanization and planting on ridges were recommended.
He reminded participants that during the planting of cassava, they should handle the stem with care and ensure that the buds point upwards, stressing that this was where the cutting sprouts.
He advised that to ensure improved cassava yields, farmers must plant good cuttings on loamy soil with good spacing.
“The use of good agronomic practices that eliminate the use of chemicals or fertilisers can guarantee good yields of cassava at low cost and at same time be friendly to the environment.
“A good agronomic practice starts with selecting varieties that are high yielding and by sourcing healthy planting materials from specialised institutions”.
Responding, two of the trainees, Mrs Destiny Uwem and Mrs Nseneno Umanah , said that they would apply the knowledge learnt during the training in their cassava planting this farming season.
The cassava farmers thanked the federal government and its agency for organising the training to equip them with modern ways of cassava cultivation.