Cassava Mechanisation and Agroprocessing Project rejuvenates hope in Osun State, Nigeria

Cassava mechanization and Agroprocessing Project (CAMAP) has opened new worlds for many in Osun State in Nigeria. Mrs. Kikelomo Amusan never thought that at any given day in her life she would ever own anything in excess of one acre of cassava crop. This came to be when CAMAP kicked off with the first 50 beneficiaries in early May 2013. Mrs. Amusan was lucky to be among the chosen few after adequately satisfying the elaborate criteria which included ownership of one hectare of well stumped land with a good access road; willingness to contribute both in kind and in cash for weeding and any other cost such as firebreak clearing. She was very pleased to have been selected since had leased a one hectare farm where she had cultivated for a number of years. She was also more than willing and ready to maintain her crop free of weeds.

Everything seemed to work well for her since all the necessary inputs which included quality cassava stem cuttings, fertilizer and pre-emergence herbicide were availed by the project on time. It was not until when the tractor was deployed to her farm when things turned against her. Her landlord decided to block her from accessing the farm. She tried by all means to request the landlord to allow her continue preparing the land but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

Her misfortune did not dampen her resolve to participate in the project activities. She immediately decided to move on and look for another piece of land which she did. However, the new piece of land needed a lot of effort to prepare. This is because it was like a virgin land after lying fallow for over six years. It was overgrown with bushes and shrubs big enough for charcoal production. She immediately swung to action and by the time she was through with land clearing, she had paid 26,000 Naira. This included clearing a road wide enough to allow movement of equipment into her farm which is about 200 metres off the road. By this time all the other farmers had their land already ploughed and harrowed and planting was underway. This meant that she had to look for a tractor to help her plough her land since the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation ploughing and harrowing equipment had already been retired to their station in Ilorin, Kwara state. This posed another seemingly insurmountable hurdle to her efforts. Had it not been for the quick intervention of the Cabesi- the area traditional ruler who sourced another tractor from the area for her, Mrs Amusan could not have realized her dream.
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The area traditional ruler- Cabesi also project beneficiary. Were it not for his timely intervention, Mrs Amusan could not have realized her dream Mrs Amusan had to clear a road wide enough to allow movement of farm machinery to her new farm

 

As if that was not enough, by the time land preparation was over, all the planting materials that had been delivered to her initial farm had dried up. She had to move with speed and obtain fresh cassava cuttings if she had to succeed since planting in the other 49 farms had been completed. Luckily she managed to get some materials which were not of as good quality as she had expected. Finally her land was planted on 20th May 2013 and Mrs Amusan cannot hold back her joy as she watches her flourishing and healthy cassava crop grow. She looks forward to the day a tractor drawn cassava harvester will drive into her farm to reap what she painfully sow.

amusanMrs. Amusan (centre) AATF Director, Dr. Kyetere (left) and AATF BoT Chairperson, Prof. Idah Sithole- Niang on her cassava farm.

This is a true story of resilience and fortitude. If all the farmers were as determined as Mrs Amusan, Africa would have enough for her consumption and export markets.

Joseph Ndwiga

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