A group of farmers in the region have ventured into adding value to organic crop, hence boosting their yield.

Isaiah Odongo, a member of Kamicha Kabondo Development Group, has his two acre of land with cassava.

“I have sold two 100 kilogram bags of cassava tubers and a bag of seeds to buyers from the crops that I planted August 2015,” Odongo told Xinhua in a recent interview at his farm.

Odongo is one of the beneficiaries of the group that uses cassava in making donuts, chapattis, cakes, cookies crisps, ugali, porridge and cassava chips.

“Cassava is a nutritious crop that can easily be used making various food products and is versatile to value addition,” said Pamela Okuta, the chairperson of the group.

The group started cassava production in 2010 after going through a series of training programs.

“They took us through training on how to cultivate the crop, value addition, marketing to the savings and credit facilities for farmers,” said Okuta.

The farmers here plant different varieties of the improved cassava.

Each member has cassava farms with different intervals in terms of planting and maturity. The group has set a standard price to market the cassava tubers.

According to Okuta, the group harvests and sells cassava from the farmers at intervals. One kilogram of cassava tubers goes for a dollar.

They have ready market for cassava cuttings at 6 per dollars 90 kilogram bag. The group markets the seedlings to organizations such Kenya Red Cross, Ministry of Agriculture Pokot and to farmers in Meru, Kakamega, Kericho and Kisumu.

A section of the harvested cassava is processed into flour which is used to make cakes, cookies, chapattis, donuts and porridge.

“To make the flour, the cassava tubers are washed thoroughly in clean water to get rid of the soil. Once cleaned we peel the cassavas, using sliding machine, chop them into pieces and finally dry them using a solar drier for two days,” she explained.

The farmer also uses some of the dried sliced cassavas to make crisps by deep frying in oil.

“The crisps are packaged into sachets and sold at price range of 0.1 dollars to 0.5 dollars depending on the size. Our crisps have self-life of three months,” she added.

Nevertheless, farmers are advised to caution against certain diseases in the production of the crop.

Robert Musyoki, the Chief Research Officer at Simlaw Seeds Company, said cassava mosaic and brown streak disease is viral disease that attacks the cassava crop.

He said the farmer should inspect the source of the cassava cutting and ensure they buy certified planting material from the nearest Kenya Agriculture, Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) station.

“When you realize you have planted infected seeds, simply uproot them and plant fresh planting materials,” Musyoki said.

Charles Ouma, the group Treasurer, said the sales of the cassava products are collected and banked. The group sells their products to locals and also through exhibitions in Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay, making sales of 10,000 dollars a month.

“We have group share of 17,000 dollars. After the sales of the cassava members deposit their share into the group’s bank which is later shared annually depending on each member’s input,” said Ouma, adding that the group operates savings and credits facilities for members. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/News Ghana


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