The Okole Women Development Initiative in Uganda has received a grant from the government’s Skills Development Facility and is currently training women growing cassava on how to produce and benefit from high quality cassava flour. Thus, unfermented flour made by processing raw cassava.
The women follow a multi-step process that includes peeling, washing, grating, pressing, drying, milling, and sifting. They produce the flour both for consumption and to sell to consumers, breweries, and bakeries. The women are also supported to acquire tools for processing high quality cassava flour.
The group uses small-scale cassava processing machines that cost about 3,500,000 Ugandan shillings each ($947 US) after a partial subsidy from a cassava project. Mrs. Otim buys the machines from Kampala and sells them to farmer groups at a fair price.
The chairperson of the women group, Mrs Joyce Otim says the training has become necessary as the income derived from processed cassava far outweighs that raw or fresh cassava. “Our main objective is to empower women to excel in agriculture and to increase our household incomes.” She stated.
Explaining the economic benefits of processing cassava to farm radio, Mrs Otim noted that 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.
So far the Okole Women Development Initiative has conducted trainings for 13 women-led farmer groups in Balla, Alito, Okwerodot, and Akalo sub-counties in Kole district.
Source: Farm Radio Int. www.farmradio.org