On 18th-19th September, NaCRRI’s Root Crops Program led a consortium of partners to launch a 5-year project Strengthening cassava innovation ecosystem and knowledge transfer for inclusive rural livelihood development. This intervention is part of the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Ecosystem for inclusive Rural transformation and livelihoods in Eastern Africa (AIRTEA) project being implemented in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
Working with Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NgettaZARDI) and Divine Foods Organic, NaCRRI is set to create jobs and increase jobs for the cassava value chain actors through tackling 3 major pressing issues.
“We expect that this intervention will increase access to certified seed by small scale farmers, increase cassava productivity and value-added product uptake and enhance linkages and collaborations through multi-stakeholder innovation platforms (MSIPs), revealed Dr. Chris Omongo, the Team leader Root Crops Program.
The cassava project which is targeting to benefit four districts i.e., Lira, Kwania, Dokolo and Apac makes entry with an agri-business alliance that connects stakeholders to facilitate business and capacity strengthening among members.
Dr. Robert Kawuki, the Project Country Contact Person says that the project is premised on four specific objectives. “Co-create new ways of delivering healthy cassava seed using village-based bulking centers; support development of community-based incubation centers to enhance capacity for agro-processing and commercialization; establish multi-stakeholder platforms and support enhanced university, research centers, community and industry engagements”.
Dr. Laban Turygeda, the director of Nghetta welcomed NARO team and farmers to Ngetta Zardi, said there has been big problem with cassava, farmers still have knowledge gaps on cassava varieties and the project is timely and this will bridge the gap to farmers. The inception meeting which took place in Lira district at NgettaZARDI brought together key implementing organization, NaCRRI, NgettaZARDI, Divine Foods Organic, Local government and farmer representatives. The AIRTEA project is supported by the European Union, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), OACPS, EAFF and FARA.