A new variety of Cassava leaves
Short maturity cassava variety assures food availability in Bunda District.
Many farmers in Tanzania have been struggling to produce enough food to feed their families due to severe land degradation. Drought is one of the major causes of these low crop yields which contributes to food insecurity among rural communities.
To overcome this challenge CPAR, through Farmer Field Schools (FFS), facilitates training for men and women farmers to promote crops that are drought resistant and have a short maturity period. One of these is the cassava leaf. The roots are rich in calcium and vitamin C and contain a nutritionally significant quantity of thiamine, riboflavin and nicotinic acid. The quality of cassava root protein is fairly good in terms of essential amino acids and is an important source of carbohydrates.
Elizabeth Bunuma, is 46 years old. She is a mother of six children, four boys and two girls from Haruzale village, Bunda district, Tanzania. Elizabeth has been struggling for years trying to cultivate maize and traditional cassava in order to meet her household food needs year round. She says “my household was food insecure every year because of drought which affects maize and cassava varieties that took too long to mature and were vulnerable to diseases and pests which means the yield wasn’t enough for my household.”
Elizabeth decided to join the Chipuka (Sprout) Farmer Field School (FFS) group. The group is facilitated by CPAR Tanzania's field staff in collaboration with local facilitators who have been trained by CPAR.
Elizabeth acknowledges that one of the greatest things she has learned in the Farmer Field School is about the short maturity cassava which is also disease resistant. After she learned about this cassava variety she started planting them and in a period of 10 months she has already started harvesting cassava. She now has enough food to feed her household all year! Elizabeth feels, “relief now, this new variety of cassava is going to solve my food problems at home, thanks to CPAR Tanzania for bringing this variety and farming education to the women of Haruzale village. Farmers have also benefited from the nutrition training where we can use cassava in different kinds of dishes such as cakes as well as porridge enriched with local chicken eggs. Our children look so healthy now!"
In the future, Elizabeth hopes to sell her excess crops, for a higher price, at the market by processing them into cassava chips or white flour. She is also very keen to share the knowledge about cassava production with other farmers in Haruzale village and nearby villages.
CPAR Tanzania has introduced this new cassava variety in three communities in the Bunda District. The aim is to enable 500 households to be food secure throughout the year.