Cassava, a highly nutritious crop, can be time consuming to plant, maintain and harvest. This has caused many farmers to shun planting the crop and those who plant cassava neglect its maintenance leading to below optimum yields. Cassava Mechanisation and Agroprocessing Project (CAMAP), currently being implemented in Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda, is aimed at reducing drudgery, and increasing productivity and incomes for farmers.
Stephania Kunda is one of the farmers participating in the project’s implementation. She was part of the first group of farmers selected for the CAMAP project in 2013 who planted 1 ha of cassava using machines for preparing the land and planting the cassava. One and a half years later, she boasts of a bountiful harvest of cassava as a result of the project. She harvests 55 baskets of cassava that weigh about 50kg before peeling from a 25 sq metre of land and sells them at 15 Kwacha (USD 2.2) each. This price varies and could go up as high as 30 Kwacha (USD 4.4) per basket. In total, she earns 825 Kwacha (USD 121) from 25m by 25m land and ultimately 13,200 Kwacha (USD 1,941) per hectare of land.
This season, Stephania has decided to increase the area she is planting with cassava to increase her profits. She can now afford to pay for machine services to cultivate the new piece of land from income gained from the previous harvest. She is also saving some money to buy a bicycle and more goats which feed on cassava peelings.
CAMAP continues to change lives of smallholder farmers through helping them plant cassava on larger tracts of land by providing machine services at a subsidized rate. The subsidized payments are used to build a revolving fund that ensures the sustainability of the project.
– Grace Muinga, AATFby