The Ikaram cluster is located in the state of Ondo in southwestern Nigeria, approximately 400 km from Lagos, and 100 km from Akure, the state capital. The region receives about 1500 millimeters of rain annually.
Ikaram lies in a semi-urban area, where farming is not a major focus. However, the soils are severely depleted in nitrogen, putting a tremendous strain on the population, most of whom are sub-subsistence farmers. Farmers produce about 0.2 tons of cassava per hectare and 0.12 tons of maize per hectare, both exceedingly low yields. Malnutrition is prevalent. Girls spend an average of 4 hours a day collecting water and firewood. The literacy rate for the community is extremely low: 35% for males and 15% for females. Ikaram has a town hall, 16 primary schools and seven secondary schools. There are seven major markets that operate once every five days, and smaller local markets that are open daily. Villagers have formed credit cooperatives to enable them to access small loans. The Farmer’s Congress is a cooperative organization that links farmers to extension services and other inputs provided by the government or other agencies.
- Farmers were trained on pesticide application and on raising newly introduced high-value crops.
- Qualified technical health personnel have been hired and trained in family planning and sexual reproductive health, leading to threefold increase in contraceptive use from 2008 to 2009.
- School gardens and resource rooms, equipped with three computer sets and library books, were established in all primary schools, where more than 30 additional classrooms were built.
- More than 10 boreholes were equipped with motorized pumps.