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AKILIMO digital platform improves potato yields in Rwanda

December 27 2021
News image of the African potato platform

The AKILIMO Digital Platform was launched in 2020, by The International Potato Center (CIP,) Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the One Acre Fund to address low yield challenge in the country.

Originally piloted by IITA with cassava in Nigeria and Tanzania, AKILIMO underwent than 5,000 validation trials and 75% of farmers reported yield increases having used the app. Following this successful launch, more than 2,000 extension agents have been trained to use AKILIMO and more than 150,000 farmers are registered for the service, which gives them access to tailored farming advice on fertilizer and other agronomic concerns. 

The AKILIMO project was brought to Rwanda in 2020 to serve cassava and potato farmers. To date, the digital platform operates in three counties where it has undergone nearly 200 trials to evaluate variations in fertilizer use among sites. These data will be used to calibrate AKILIMO for crop and spatial models.

AKILIMO considers fertilizers that are commonly available to potato farmers and provides recommended use for those fertilizers to the individual farmers. Based on last year’s data, recommended fertilizer use rates exceed the government’s recommended rate 300 kilograms of NPK fertilizer per hectare but did have small differences across districts. 

The AKILIMO project was brought to Rwanda in 2020 to serve cassava and potato farmers. To date, the digital platform operates in three counties where it has undergone nearly 200 trials to evaluate variations in fertilizer use among sites. These data will be used to calibrate AKILIMO for crop and spatial models.  AKILIMO considers fertilizers that are commonly available to potato farmers and provides recommended use for those fertilizers to the individual farmers. Based on last year’s data, recommended fertilizer use rates exceed the government’s recommended rate 300 kilograms of NPK fertilizer per hectare but did have small differences across districts.  A second season of multilocation trials has begun in the same districts along with a set of farmer-managed trials to compare blanket fertilizer recommendations with the tailored fertilizer recommendations provided by AKILIMO. The AKILIMO-tailored fertilizer recommendations can be delivered to farmers using a variety of tools, such as smartphone apps, printable guides, and/or IVR-based messages directly to farmers.

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