Author Archives: Pure

Tanzania team holds financial management workshop for partners

Dr. Adebayo Abass  speaking  at the Financial Management WorkshopThe SARD-SC Tanzania Team held a one-day Financial Management Workshop for project partners and their Accountants in February 2014, at the IITA Office in Dar es Salam. The purpose of the workshop was to acquaint the participants with the accounting, procurement rules and procedures of the African Development Bank(AFDB), the SARD-SC project sponsor, before funds were disbursed to them. The Bank has a set of guidelines which the partners are expected to adhere to for the preparation of their reports.

Dr. Veronica Uzokwe, the project Agronomist welcomed the participants on behalf of the team and commented on their impressive attendance and expressed the hope that at the end of the training, they would have imbibed the essence of the workshop. Declaring the workshop opened, Dr. Adebayo Abass, Country coordinator, SARD-SC project, on behalf of Dr. Victor Manyong, Director, Eastern Africa Hub, urged the participants to ensure the implementation of the projects and the results benefit local farmers directly. He said: “The farmers are poor, especially those who grow cassava or maize. There is a need to develop and advance agricultural technology in order to improve the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers in Africa.”

Dr. Veronica Uzokwe addressing participants at the  WorkshopDr. Abass advised the participants to spend money judiciously and follow the rules and guidelines set by the donors. “The banks want to get value for their money and ensure it is spent on projects tasks. The bank wants to know whether the receipts we submit are for the right payments we made,” he said.
Dr. Edward Kanju presented an overview of the SARD-SC project, with the objective of raising the profitability and productivity of four mandate commodities, such as cassava, rice, maize and wheat in Africa. He reiterated the need for participants to understand and adhere to the Bank’s rules on expenditure.

Mr. Alex Omodo, Regional Financial Manager gave a lecture on the AFDB accounting and procurement guidelines for SARD-SC project which was divided into four components: IITA’s role, Disbursement, Audit and Reports of accounts and procurement. He advised participants to ensure they compile and attach all the necessary documents concerning purchases as well as the accounts made in the SARD-SC project.
Mr. Omodo explained to the participants IITA’s role in projects, which requires it to submit report to the donors accordingly, and this helps the donors to easily monitor the flow of activities as well as the expenditures. He elaborated much about the rules and guidelines required by the donor in relation to SARD-SC project goals and objectives. At the end of the workshop, some of the participants said they were satisfied with the lecture and promised to abide by the Bank’s guidelines.
On behalf of the participants, Dr. Rose Shayo, Gender Specialist from the University of Dar es Salaam, thanked IITA, AFDB and SARD-SC project for organizing the workshop. She concluded by saying: “We appreciate IITA and AFDB for giving us this opportunity to learn about the Bank’s guidelines on accounting and procurement for the project. However, I think there is a need for us to meet regularly for project implementation ’’.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Kanju thanked the participants and said the workshop was a beneficial one as it has imparted new skills and knowledge into the people, necessary to achieve the objectives of the SARD-SC project.

Scientists meet to strengthen agronomic component of SARD-SC cassava value chain

SARD-SC, Roundtable discussion  on survey questionnaire and the trial protocolThirteen scientists convened at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Kampala, Uganda, recently, to brainstorm on how to develop the agronomic component /unit of the institute. This is essential for strengthening the agronomy unit in terms of personnel, research work and protocols for research. Hence, participants at the event included eight researchers from the cassava component of the Support for Agricultural Research and Development of Strategic Crops(SARD-SC) project, four from IITA Kampala and one from Kathiolieke University of Leuven in Africa. They came together to discuss how to strategize and revitalize this important area of study in IITA. Developing the agronomy component of the Institute, according to the scientists, will support such disciplines as Breeding, Food Technology, Socio-economic research and other important disciplines along the cassava value chain.

The meeting was moderated by Dr. Laurence Jassogne, who stated that the objective of the workshop was to plan, strategize and agree on common agronomic approaches and protocols that would identify and investigate the agronomic challenges of cassava and in turn strengthen the weak agronomic component of the Institute. e therefore, encouraged all participants to contribute immensely to the discussion and also interact with other participants to exchange ideas.

SARD-SC, Participants at the Agronomy meeting in Uganda Dr Marie Yomeni, the SARD-SC Cassava Specialist enlightened the group on what SARD-SC project is all about. She stated that the SARD-SC project aims to improve on a sustainable basis, cassava value chain as well as increase farmers’ income which could be achieved by the contribution of a multi-disciplinary team at every step across the chain. However, Dr. Yomeni affirmed that one of the ways in which cassava productivity and sustainability could be achieved is through generation and dissemination of agricultural technologies and innovation. “Hence, there is the need for the agronomists to develop and operationalize a uniform agronomic approach which can be sustained and utilized across a wide range of environment for transformational impact in cassava. This gathering creates a great opportunity for scientists to strategize on the best approach to attain this goal,” said Dr. Yomeni.

Dr. Piet Van Asten, System Agronomists & Country Representative for IITA, Uganda, gave a presentation on logical framework and approach for agronomic research, towards a sustainable cassava technology innovation and dissemination. The framework requires the agronomists to assess first, all the processes involved in the current farmers’ practices at plot and farm levels through a well-planned subsample survey from planting to harvesting on their field, also taking into cognizance how the farmers maintain their soil fertility. The criteria for selecting the farmers plot to be assessed in the country should be based on the use of the Afsis map, which is a GIS-based approach (geo spatial techniques to map adoption domains) within representative areas like the landscape/community level and soil ph mapping. Consequently, an adaptive and applied research is conducted by both the farmers and researchers based on what obtains on the farmers field.

Ms Annet Babirye, a cassava Agronomist from the National Agricultural Research Organization, Uganda talked about the different procedures such as appropriate varieties, preservation of planting materials, planting methods, cropping systems, input, pests & diseases control, harvesting & processing, and profitability involved in the successful production of cassava in Uganda. Ms Wivine Munyaholi, a PhD Research Fellow from the Katholieke University of Leuven, talked about the nutrient requirements of cassava under the management systems in South Kivu, D.R. Congo. She emphasized the need to investigate more information on how to maximize cassava production in various cropping systems including other crops.
Some of the agronomic protocols presented by Drs. Veronica Uzokwe, Nhamo Nhamo and Kintche Koukou, SARD-SC Cassava Agronomists, Field Fellows, to tackle various in-country agronomic challenges were also reviewed. The two recipients of the SARD-SC/AFDB cassava value chain doctorate degrees scholarship awards presented their proposed topics of study while participants made useful contributions to their presentation.

IITA/SARD-SC project and partners hold workshop on youth entrepreneurship in agriculture

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA)  and the Alliance  for a Green Revolution in Africa(AGRA), in partnership  with the SARD-SC project  will hold a  workshop on Engagement of  Youth Entrepreneurship for Agricultural Transformation in Africa, from the  28th  – 30th  May 2014. The  event  which will  bring all interested  stakeholders  together  to brainstorm and develop  the  Pan African Youth  in agric business  takes  place  at the  IITA Headquarters, Ibadan, Oyo State.