It has been a frequently debated that climate change has shortened the availability of food in rural areas. What would women do?
Is cassava the only solution?
Recently, cassava production may have sustained communities through drought in some areas affected by climate change, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, including Tanzania.
Climate change is the source of food insecurity at the family level and across the region. At the family level, women have suffered and found feeding the family hard in the absence of their husbands, even in Tanzania. While, it may not sound like it in your area, the drastic changes in food security has suppressed socio-economic growth, perpetuating family conflict, with women having suffered critically at this level.
The Co-operative Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre (CEIC) of Moshi Co-operative University has run a one-month programme for capacity-building of Cassava Women from two subsectors in northern region of Tanzania. About 50 women, 25 from each part, attended. The two groups have had different experiences in cassava production. How did were they taught in one class?
(Read next paragraph, or leave a comment, I will reply below.)
The uniqueness was the training in how to produce quality cassava, processing it into various by-products, such as flour, bread, and chips. This together with training in collective marketing, inputs supply, lobbying and advocacy, developing a viable business plan, and group/co-operative formations. Women in Tanzania were excited to make gari from cassava as it is done in Nigeria and Ghana.
Why this project?
This project aims to facilitate seed multiplication among women in one cluster of 25 members from a drought-affected area in Makuyuni, Kilimanjaro region. They have been selected because each of them own a minimum of one acre as per their business plan. They have no experience in using cassava as a food, but use it to shade vegetables from high sunshine.
The interesting thing is that the second cluster are well experienced, with more than two acres in cassava production, but inadequate access to markets. Middlemen are highly exploitative to these women.
Specifically this project will expose the two groups to various actors along the cassava value chain.
Low-skilled women from Makuyuni Kilimanjaro will conduct a farm study with fellow women group in Kikatiti to exchange experiences. The visit will motivate Makuyuni Cassava Women to participate in cassava production, which will help them through drought and cut down on food insecurity in the area.
Moreover, what has been learnt in class will be put into practice. The skilled group from Makiba in Arusha will be exposed to Cassava Women Forum.
The two-day forum will include participation of all cassava beneficiaries, buyers, middlemen, processors, transports, owners of supermarkets, market traders, etc. This will create a network and knowledge sharing. The forum will also be a market for producers and buyers to place orders and take orders. In this regard, women cassava producers will be in a position to better access the market.
The sustainability of the project rests on strong collaboration between the two women groups, who will also compete with each other for the same buyers. The low-skilled producers will have to request seed from the experienced ones, until the whole community is satisfied.
Twenty-five women selected after being supplied with seed will also be required to supply to five fellow villagers, who have not attended the training, and monitor their progress by using farm book record.
The network formed during the forum will motivate farmers to produce more cassava and reach other business service providers. The forum will also provide a room for discussion for various women’s cross-cutting issues, and the relevance of Government of Tanzania policy. Thus, government intervention in these two areas will create room for sustainable production, especially through improved infrastructure.
CEIC will conduct monitoring every two months to assess progress of cassava production, study visits, and outcomes of the forum, so as lead to project success.
If this project is granted USD 5,000:
- The study visits will cost USD 1,000
- Seep purchasing USD 1,000
- The cassava women’s forum will cost USD 2,000.
- The remaining $1000 will be used to monitor the progress of the project
My name is Damian Sambuo, 31, an assistant lecturer in economics and statistics, and a coordinator of the Co-operative Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre at Moshi Co-operative University. My expertise is in agripreneurialism and agribusiness in various field of local economic development. My centre is concerned with agricultural and co-operative innovations in Tanzania.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Damian Sambuo (Tanzania): damiansambuo548[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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