GFAR blog

YAP proposal #154: Exposing women to cassava value chains (Damian Sambuo, Tanzania)

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]

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #154 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:

  • Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
  • Support the post by clicking the “Like” button below (only possible for those with a com account)
  • Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3


Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!

As a donor, support young agripreneurs and sponsor this unique project.
Check out the side column for our current sponsors.
“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.


73 thoughts on “YAP proposal #154: Exposing women to cassava value chains (Damian Sambuo, Tanzania)”

  1. This project is continues or only for that year?

    how long it will take for complete?

    1. Shaban this project will be sustainable as long as farmers are aware of buyers and processing techniques. Moreover it included new cluster who will start to plant cassava in their selected areas.

    1. New cluster will have an opportunity to receive seed. Then we are expecting each farmer to produce seed and distribute to other new 5 members. This 5 new members will be responsible to give feedback to the leader (seed distributor ) supported in this project.
      This model will enable all villagers to receive seed within three years. It is called Multiplicative model.

  2. its a good project for rural farmers who depends on raining agriculture which for now is not sustainable.this also helps the women to have something to control over,from the cassava production.

  3. What strategy do you expect to make project successful?
    Can you demonstrate the project outcome for easy monitoring and evaluation?

    1. So far we have trained women for about four weeks, we are now plan to take them to demonstration farms.
      This project aim at market linkage. As for what they are going to produce there shall be already market in place.

  4. collaboration between all cassava beneficiaries is very important so as to boost the market, but market traders should more considered so as ordinary people who have no high purchasing power can get the cassava at the local market at the normal prices instead of getting them from supermarket or from middlemen

    1. Yes Koshuma, you are right. Women cassava producers through this project have trained to target local, urban and cross-border market

  5. It is a good project for supporting the rural poor, especially women who are more vulnerable when it comes to drought and hunger. I have two observations:
    1. you could elaborate more on how long it takes to harvest cassava.
    2. will this agriculture depend only on seasonal rains or there is an alternative like irrigation?
    3. You could elaborate more on the cassava value chain. The possibilities that these women can add value to cassava and thus, benefit more from the project.

  6. The project is quit essential at this on going climatic changes. Cassava is a plantation that has been undermined by many societies, however it has proven to be a good solution in inconsistent climatic conditions!!

    It should answer the following;
    -Sustainability of the project output after it comes to an end.
    -How will the project create market awareness to the rural women; interms of fetching best prices, consistent buyers?
    -How can the project expand the knowledge in cassava plantations (thus not only roots but talk also of leafs, stem and other by products)

    1. Denis, we planned to have a stakeholder forum, where al actors in cassava value chain would meet.
      In the forum there shall be an opportunity for networking, recognize buyers demands, quality issues are going to be discussed.
      You know this will also create awareness to them.
      We had trained them in class on usefulness of the cassava plant. Selected participants were now assigned to trained others at farmers group level.

  7. Well done Mr Damian!!!! I believe that this project will have a positive impact to the intended population and above that…the trickle down effect ..i.e the idea of assigning those women under your study a task to monitor and mentor five other women who are not in your study is excellent! I wish to get someone to mentor me too!! I pray that you extend the project to many other areas with drought conditions! All the best! I

    1. Theresa this model is new and it is now performing very well among potatoes producers in Lushoto Tanzania

  8. Historically cassava has been promoted as a drought resistance crop – negative perception and mostly farmers took it as a mitigation factor;
    I could advice to adopt value chain approach so that the targeted women becomes actors and ownership is built from on set. They will decide what to process and what to sell as a raw instead of placing that role to forum and government. Follow the case study of Mkuranga Commercial Family Farmers Groups at Kizapala and other 8 villages supported by VECO supplying markets with floor, starch etc.
    So revise your budget upwards as it will require to include other activities in the chain

    1. Well said Alvin
      I would like to learn more about the approach used in Mkuranga.
      How do I access Mkuranga Report?
      I believe through this forum interested parties are invited to participate.

  9. The project sounds good so far. The project should also extend the perspective to view cassava as a business commodity, rather than viewing it as femine resistant product. The project should go further to display value flow of the same product, showing gross margins to be distributed among actors to this value chain.
    Otherwise, it’s great project.

    1. Sumuni we are also plan cassava to be a source of Starch as now pharmacist are importing Starch at high cost. Therefore if more cassava shall be produced , that will be another door for processing cassava as a business commodity. Cassava can also used to make a Glue

    1. When we are helping women to have a sustainable income, we are all benefited. The country’s generation will live a better life.

  10. It is a good idea to deal with the forgotten crops. Well I think the best way to sustain this project is for the farmers to form cassava co-operative societies like Rwanda. Rwanda has a federation dealing with cassava.
    These co-ops should not only deal with marketing but also processing of cassava. Processing may be done at the federation level.
    Eventually the profits earned from the federation should flow down to the primary societies (members)
    We can follow the Anand Pattern of co-operative societies in India.

    This is an appropriate idea at this time when we are experiencing adverse climatic conditions


    1. Great idea Awaichi. I see it is a good opportunity for these women to unite and form a cooperatives for collective marketing.
      They are now two groups that soon will be officiated.

  11. Hongera Mr Damian…i think this project will be continuous and it will have a bigger impacts to targeted group. I also take this opportunity to advice on adoption of value chain for cassava!..Thank much for this project Sir

  12. congratulations mr. Damian…it’s a great idea targeting on cassava due to changes in climatic condition….i think you should consider also on processing to win competition in the market…..gud luck sir

  13. Good project! Agricultural is a very good option of creating wealth and giving back to the society both in alleviating poverty

  14. it is a very important project I real like it. its a good thing to empower women in our society. together we can fight against hunger and poverty.

  15. Will the project base on the northern zone or in your long term plan (if there’s) you will be expanding to cover the whole country. And according to your research studies how is the cassava market locally and internationally?

  16. It is a good idea Mr. Sambuo, Do this project will contribute to economic development of targeted area? How?

  17. The proposal is good Mr Damian,this will solve shortage of food especially during dry season,all the best.

  18. its a very good initiative in expanding social protection especially to informal working women as an income gurantee scheme and food security.

  19. More education is needed in both cassava production and searching for markets. This is due to the fact that selected women would never back down if found that the cassava production is profitable to them. Lack of markets will lead to the failure of the project. All in all congratulation and be blessed

  20. Congratulation mr Sambuo.Its good idea but you could also include more region.Why don’t you include also men?

    1. The project focused on women to sensitized rural income. In Northern region men are less participate in agriculture. Mostly men are doing business in town and urban areas.

  21. Congratulation Mr Sambuo.Its good could also involve other region.Why don’t you involve men?

  22. This good project as far as local community will benefit from it. It’s worthy to invest in it.

  23. it is a good project sir Damian keep it up, i have two concern is this project target only women? what if men are interested with the project are they allowed to join?

    then how can Someone who is interested in this project can volunteer to expend his/her knowledge?

  24. great! the potentility of the project will expand in considaration of other cutting across isues affect the poor rural residence ie nutritional adherance.

  25. It is a very good start Mr Sambuo.I am very sure that if the project start well will also have a successful fate.
    I do suggest the following things:
    Women need equipment that will help them produce quality products out of Cassava. Therefore I strongly support that after dishing out skills and knowledge on how to grow this plant, good equipments that will help these women as from growing cassava to the product processing stage shall be given to them or shown a way to acquire those equipment by themselves.
    Secondly, The small sample size of women you took shall be a good probing question for a large group of women to be involved in a near future.Do it good to the extent that shall attract other women to join their hand in this.
    Thirdly, Together if it is possible we can register this group of women as member of Malihai Clubs of Tanzania.They will be involved with other conservation activities such as tree planting few to mention as a compliment in addressing the issue of Climate change.Registration is free and they will benefit from their membership of which I am sure will play part in growing Cassava as well.

  26. A good project towards the poverty and the problem of hunger in African countries. Also the income generation through exportation of cassava products to China. We keep going Sir to make sure that the project is sustainable in African Countries not only Makuyuni and Makiba.

  27. Hapo utakuwa umefanya vzr mwalimu I really appreciate what your doing Bt naomba nitumie fursa hii kukushauri kuwa ungekuwa na group ya watu Wako kama 5 people watakaokuwa wanabeba implemention ili project iwe inatekelezeka maeneo mengi zaidi mana ukipata watu wanaopenda kilimo watasaidia Sana kwenye implementation. And I promise if you choose me to be among of those people I will work on it 100%

  28. Well done Damian Sambuo, i think this is the right approach, only to add close supervisory at secondary stage and processing of the cassava to add more value and diversify market should be a point of emphasis.

  29. Congrats Mr Sambuo…it’s a great idea targeting on cassava due to changes in climatic condition but…to me I advice also the project to decide in those area to support farmers on open dreep irrigation system and on my side I know how to connect the system and I can help them if the project decide to use.

  30. Congratuation Mr. Damian for a great job I hope the project will be expanded to other parts of the of the country and we expect to have this experience even in south highland in few years to come

  31. Very good work, Mr. Sambuo. I have noted one more product that can come out of the cassava production. As a Vegetable researcher, I see another opportunity for these women start selling cassava leaves which will generate extra income from the same. Post-harvest technology can also be adopted for storage purposes and to be used during drought season. So, cassava leaves can be used to fight food insecurity as well as generating extra cash for the household.

  32. Nice project Sambuo.Make sure you transform writings to a real thing.Make things happen!!!!

  33. welldone Mr.Damiano for your nice and helpful project!!!
    Though you said that among those 25 women attended the seminar in each village,every one will share with other 5 villagers the seed you had contributed to them…now the questions come,
    1)Is your project limited only to 125 women in each village? if no..
    2)How will the rest of the women in those villages will get benefited from your project???
    3) what if most of people in the locations do possess less than one acre??
    4)What strategies did put make sure that the seed you contributed shall reach to targeted people? plz remember ndugulazation!!!!?sorry for this but hope understood.

    1. Greetings Paul
      Your questions are very interesting to clarify some issues.

      If at the end 125 farmers obtained seed. That mean, each of 125 farmers is responsible to distribute to others 5 members as such 125*5=525 villagers.

      Then they shall go to third round of 525*5 this mean all villagers will be in position to acquire seeds.
      There shall be a simple regulations. If you want sees you must have 5 members that you will supply to them in next season.

  34. welldone Mr.Damiano for your nice and helpful project!!!
    Though you said that among those 25 women attended the seminar in each village,every one will share with other 5 villagers the seed you had contributed to them…now the questions come,
    1)Is your project limited only to 125 women in each village? if no..
    2)How will the rest of the women in those villages will get benefited from your project???
    3) what if most of people in the locations do possess less than one acre??
    4)What strategies did you put to make sure that the seed you contribute shall reach to the targeted people? plz remember ndugulazation!!!!?sorry for this but hope understood.

  35. In lake zone the women are the main cassava cultivators and producers, yrt they lack skiils &technology of making out different products out of cassava. Whats your commitment in this? How can you help the lake zone women to go far economically through cassava production?

    1. We actually focus on Northern zone for now due to a limited resources.
      Anyhow we can team up to secure more support from other stakeholders.
      Let us keep in touch

      1. Congratulation Mr Sambuo for hopeful project. Congratulation also for being able to carry a lot of complicated things at once.

  36. Yeah for real it’s a great project for every one can undertake it for further benefits in term of food and employment opportunity!

  37. big up Mr damiani, I have well understood your cassava project, I am so interested with your topic, it is related with the life situation of Tanzanians women. it is the best way of reaching food surplus where by if people take much concentrations in there we will be able to reduce food deficit. but can i know to what extent the government have make it possible to ensure that people adopt this type of agriculture? thank you.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s