IITA unveils digital tools for agricultural transformation

IITA [photo: BusinessDay Media]

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday unveiled digital tools that are helping to transform farming, improving yield and livelihoods of farmers.

The digital tools include the cassava, Goseed and yam seed trackers; Akilimo, IITA Herbicide Calculator, e-commerce site and IITA News App.

Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General who marks his 8-year in office on Friday, described the development of the digital tools as a remarkable feat, adding that they would assist in creating impact at scale.

“This aligns with our vision that led us to create the Partnership & Delivery Directorate whose responsibility is to ensure that not only are we carrying out research and writing scientific papers but also delivering and making impact on farm level,” he added.

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The seed trackers are mobile platforms designed to help in seed production planning, seed traceability, seed inventory, real-time tracking of production status, seed certification, marketing, information resources, among others, Lava Kumar, the IITA Head of Germplasm Health Unit and Virologist said.

The IITA Herbicide Calculator is a mobile app that was developed by the Cassava Weed Management Project and deployed across Nigeria and other African countries and is being used in controlling weeds in cassava, explained Godwin Atser, IITA Digital Extension & Advisory Services Specialist.

“The app helps growers to estimate correct amount of herbicides to be added to knapsack sprayers, helping farmers to avoid underdosing or overdosing which leads to environmental pollution and weeds resistance,” he added.

Akilimo, however, is a mobile agronomy advisory tool developed by the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) that combines weed management/best planting, fertilizer recommendations, scheduled planting, according to Christine Kreye, West Africa Coordinator for ACAI.

For the IITA News app, IITA Head of Communication, Kathy Lopez said the app captures and disseminates, in real time, news about research and delivery activities to the public.

Launching the Cassava Seed Tracker, Yam Seed Tracker, Sanginga and Olusegun Ojo, Director General of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), noted that the development of the digital apps were steps in the right direction.

Among those present at the launching were Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development and Delivery, who called for the integration of digital tools in IITA; Paul Ilona, Country Director of HarvestPlus; and Simon Irtwange, President of the Yam Export Association of Nigeria.

While the DG of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Abia State, Joseph Ukpabi was represented; Debo Akande, Executive Adviser to Oyo State Governor on Agribusiness, joined the event via telephone, assuring launchers of the tools of Governor Seyi Makinde’s support and readiness to make IITA a partner in his agribusiness plan for the state.

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