Four state-based public extension agencies in Nigeria have signed separate memorandum of understandings with the Cassava Weed Management Project—a project that is being managed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA-CWMP). The MoUs unite all the key partners in the battle against weeds in cassava farming systems. A similar MoU had been signed with the Standards Organization of Nigeria.
The public extension agencies involved in the signing of the MoU are: Abia State Agricultural Development Program (Abia ADP), Benue Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (BNARDA), Ogun State Agricultural Development Program (OGADEP), and Oyo State Agricultural Development Program (OYSADEP). The signing of the MoUs is part of preliminary extension activities aimed at effective and efficient technology and knowledge transfer.
“The MoUs formally bring on board the extension agencies that are critical stakeholders to the project,” says Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project, in Ibadan today.
Signing separately on behalf of the four extension agencies were the Program Managers of Abia ADP, Sir Enyinnaya Elekwachi; BNARDA, James Ker; OGADEP, Ibikunle Onasanya; and OYSADEP, Victor Atilola.
“We are glad to be involved in this project and we will do our best to ensure that it succeeds,” said Mr Atilola.
For Sir Elekwachi the signing opens a new window of collaboration. “With this arrangement, our results will readily get to farmers and create impact,” he said.
Yet for Mr Ker, the MoU is about partnership for impact.
“No one institution can do everything. We need to work together to serve the interest of the people,” Mr Ker added.
Under the MoU, the extension agencies in collaboration with IITA and implementing partner institutions across the states will conduct trainings on improved weed management practices in cassava farming systems, conduct method and results demonstrations and establish link between weed management research team and farmers and other stakeholders (community leaders, opinion leaders.
They will further dsseminate findings on improved weed management practices to farmers and other stakeholders, participate in surveys, data collection, and field days as may be required from time to time, and participate in studies that shall provide better understanding of constraints and available knowledge on weed management and,
They will also participate in IITA Cassava Weed Management Project’s annual work review and planning meetings.
Godwin Atser, Project’s Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert, said the signing of the MoUs was a step in the right direction. “Extension agencies are critical partners in this project and we are happy all of them are excited to bring their expertise to the project so that we create impact at the farm level,” Atser said.
The MoUs were facilitated by the IITA-CWMP team and the IITA Project Administration Office.Established in the early 19 80s, the extension agencies also known as Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) seek to among others: promote increased agricultural production; raise the income and standard of living of farmers; focus on agricultural potentials in effectively utilizing intensive programs of on-farm adaptive research; develop effective unified training and visit agricultural extension system; establish and operate a workable input procurement and distribution system capable of serving farmers at the right time, and provide rural infrastructure for sustainable development.