Mrs. Joyce Otim, a cassava farmer in Uganda has stated that Cassava without value addition fetches little money. For this reason, she prefers selling processed cassava flour as it raises better sums of money than selling raw or fresh cassava.
Mrs. Otim lives in Apedi Adek village in Oyam district, about 380 kilometres north of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. She started growing cassava in 2010 after retiring from her job as a high school teacher. She says adding value and producing high quality cassava flour is key to boost income as cassava farmers.
Mrs. Otim plans to expand her farm in order to grow more cassava. She says, “Income from high quality cassava flour has helped me educate 10 children. I have also bought a car, land, and livestock.”
She explains the economic benefits of processing cassava: “Currently, fresh raw cassava is sold locally at only 1,500 Ugandan shillings ($0.41 US) per kilogram, whereas high quality cassava flour fetches 6,000 Ugandan shillings ($1.62 US) per kilogram.”
Mrs. Otim doubles as the chairperson of a women’s group in her area called Okole Women Development Initiative. The women group has received a grant from the Ugandan government’s Skills Development Facility and is currently training the women how to produce and benefit from high quality cassava flour. The funds has so far helped them train other women’s groups to produce high quality cassava flour. The women have conducted trainings for 13 women-led farmer groups in Balla, Alito, Okwerodot, and Akalo sub-counties in Kole district.
Nora Ebukalin is the chairperson of Popular Knowledge Women’s Initiative in Uganda. She says the women are benefiting greatly from growing and processing fresh cassava.
Mrs. Ebukalin says that lack of access to adequate and sustainable markets has been the biggest challenge for cassava farmers, but that producing high quality cassava flour has opened new markets.
Okello Innocent is a cassava farmer in Akalu sub-county. He says that growing and processing cassava has increased his family’s income. He explains: “As soon as we were trained by Okole Women Development Initiative, we changed from producing cassava only and started processing high quality cassava flour in order to increase our income.”
Source: Farm Radio Int. www.farmradio.org