At least 4000 cassava farmers from Busia County are set to benefit from the new value addition related cassava production technology equipment introduced by the county government.
The County Government of Busia has expressed satisfaction with the amount of cassava being produced within the county as it now shifts focus to value addition and market linkages.
According to the County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Agribusiness, Dr. Moses Osia, the high production being witnessed has been realized through partnerships and collaboration with stakeholders like Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of a cassava value addition cottage at Okilidu for the Kastamakis self-help group, Osia stated that the cassava has the potential to multiply fast within a short duration, has a high maturity rate of between 9-12 months and develops uniformly. It has a yield capacity of 30-40 tonnes per hectare.
“We have witnessed this cassava value chain actually putting food on the table and money in the pockets of farmers and thus insist on use of good variety and proper technologies,” said Osia as he called on more investors to help add value to the produce.
He however noted that since the introduction of the new variety of cassava in different parts of the county, the livelihoods and yield has improved and he is calling upon farmers who have not adopted these methods to embrace the new varieties available and the new farming technology introduced.
“There is need to engage farmers to promote climate smart agriculture technologies which will allow them to adapt to the effects of climate change while at the same time reduce greenhouse gases,” added Osia
Josephine Asirat, a resident of Asing’e location, has been growing cassava since 1995, says that with the current unpredictable climate change’s tuber crops are the most suitable choice as they can exhibit tolerance to harsh weather conditions and stress.
“Before I was planting the traditional varieties, after the training I attended in 2016, I shifted to planting certified seeds either from KALRO, and other certified seed entrepreneurs, I have tested its goodness and I can recommend other farmers to try this,” she added.
Dr John Wambua, an expert researcher with KALRO who also attended the ceremony encouraged farmers to adopt the new technologies right from the seed, management to value addition and market linkages on social media platforms.
“If farmers embrace the modern technology for planting, drying, cleaning, processing, peeling, the cassava and even the new varieties of cassava that we have brought about today, their yield will continue to grow and livelihoods get better,” said Wambua.
“We aimed at interactively creating awareness of diversified agricultural research products and services. You all know that sound knowledge management is key to sustained economic growth which involves the generation, acquisition, dissemination and up-scaling of technologies and the accompanying packages,” added Wambua.
In 2019 Busia MCAs allocated Sh15 million in the supplementary budget for the completion of the Simba Chai Cassava Processing plant, in Teso South. The investment has however remained non-operational since its inception a move that agitated farmers in the area to demonstrate last year.
The plant at Simba Chai was expected to serve 15,000 cassava farmers in Busia and neighbouring Bungoma and Siaya counties.
The key advantage of cassava is that it easily grows in good and poor soils. It’s drought-tolerant. It’s hardly affected by floods if there’s proper drainage. It’s climate-smart. Extensive land preparation for the crop is not necessary.