The inhabitants of Ijesa-Ijebu community, Ogun State in South Western Nigeria experience rising global food insecurity, abject poverty, and low life expectancy due to unavailability of clean, safe-for-drinking water and infections. This is as a result of limited resources and seeming ignorance of global best practices in cassava production and processing. Enactus team at Babcock University devised a plan for cassava cultivation and processing, and provision of potable water that would meet immediate needs as well as generate profits. We have seen the possibility of a paradigm shift, away from strenuous subsistence cultivation and processing of cassava, to large scale, sustainable production.
Challenges have been identified. Rather than see them as challenges though, we have determined to appreciate them as opportunities to apply our talents, skills, passions and resources, to improve the quality of life and standard of living in Ijebu-Ijesa community.
Essentially, we have begun to take action!
The first, in the series of steps we proposed to achieving our overall objectives was capacity development for the farmers.
Enactus Babcock University, in partnership with Odogbolu Local Government, and the traditional ruler of Ijebu-Ijesa kingdom, structured the farmers into a farmer’s co-operative society, comprising of about 22 farmers, for collective enjoyment of the benefits of our solution.
With the emergence of this co-operative society, the farmers were able to secure a large expanse of land (in the region of 2 acres) from the Oba for communal cassava cultivation.
It was at this point that the Enactus Babcock University team took a trip to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, to propose a partnership with the Agripreneurial and Training sections of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to facilitate one-day training in cassava cultivation and processing best practices.
We were able to pull this through, and the IITA team was in Ijebu-Ijesa on Monday, 19th May, 2014 for the training.
The farmers were taken through practical training sessions on high-yield, pest-resistant cassava strains, which had earlier maturation periods. Besides this, post-planting operations such as weed control, and fertilizer application were also taught.
Inasmuch as we understand that one day is never enough to achieve extensive impact in terms of training, we believe that this is a good step in the right direction and the hope the farmers would be able to leverage on the knowledge they have gained. Hopefully, this will yield measurable results. Besides this, we are constantly monitoring the solution to see that the ends are achieved.
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