CIALCA tests for best cassava fertilizers in the Great Lakes region

Since November 2018, the Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA), led by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), is testing different nutrient combinations to develop decision support tools for cassava fertilization within different agroecological zones in Rwanda. To generate the data that are required to develop these tools, Nutrient Omission Trials (NOTs) are being conducted in three districts: Kamonyi, Ruhango, and Nyanza, which are the main cassava production districts in Rwanda.

Blanket fertilizer applications have been recommended in Rwanda, but these ignore the important variability in soil and climate conditions at regional, landscape and field level. To tackle the problem, the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) advanced the development of AKILIMO, a cassava nutrient expert decision support tool in Nigeria and Tanzania.

CIALCA and the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Board (RAB) are leveraging the efforts of African Cassava Agronomy Initiative, with the aim of adapting the AKILIMO decision support tool for cassava growers in Rwanda, supplying them with site-specific recommendations, optimizing the returns on investment in fertilizer.

CIALCA uses ICT for data collection in the cassava Nutrient Omission Trials

The trials

CIALCA started field trials on cassava, using different combinations of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium and other micronutrient-based fertilizers under both research and farmer managed conditions.

“Observable results before harvesting are very impressive and promising,” Deus Kayibanda, CIALCA Research Assistant says.

The first trial season is ongoing throughout the month of December 2019. The second trial season was planted and will be harvested in December 2020. CIALCA is implementing similar activities in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).