One hundred smallholder cassava farmers in five selected local government areas of Kwara state have benefitted a training programme and personal protective equipment (PPE) to increase their productivity.
Speaking during the distribution of the PPE to the cassava farmers from the Ilorin South, Moro, Ifelodun, Irepodun and Asa local government areas of the state at the weekend, coordinator of the programme, Mr. Banjo Famuyiwa, said that the project was financed by the USAID Nigeria, AYOSIFAM Integrated Service in collaboration with Extension Agent Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Kwara state.
Famuyiwa, who said that smallholder cassava farmers are key to supply of raw materials for garri processing factory and its derivatives, added that COVID-19 had threatened their subsistence.
“It’s essential to help them (smallholder cassava farmers) reduce pesticide contamination hazard, health risks and their livelihoods.
“Therefore, the integrated service, with fund from USAID Nigeria, supported 100 smallholders cassava farmers in Ilorin South, Moro, Ifelodun, Irepodun and Asa Local government areas, Kwara state with personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes head hat, overall suit and rubber boots.
“The farmers given the PPE were earlier trained earlier by the team in November 2021 on good agricultural practices, financial literacy and cooperative formation in order to equip them with knowledge needed to increase their productivity in cassava farming.
“Also, a platform called AyosifamHub was introduced (www.ayosifamhub.com.ng) in last December to enable cassava farmers display their goods and connect them with prospective processors who are willing to buy from them.
“All the above activities were carried out by the team in collaboration with Extension Agent Unit of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Kwara state and with fund support from USAID Nigeria”.
Famuyiwa said that the Integrated Service is an agri-business enterprise that deals in cassava food processing into nutritious, stone free garri and its derivatives in Ilorin, Kwara state Nigeria.
“The enterprise is working to improve local food nutrition and increase agricultural productivity in rural areas of Nigeria”.
The farmers, who expressed their appreciation through a spokesperson from Ifelodun local government area, Mr. Wahab Adebisi, pledged to make effective use of the PPE and the training received.
According to them, they had never worn the given PPE before in the course of their activities as farmers, saying that the materials would further secure their health.