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Promoting cassava in Tanzania

For over 30 years, Concern Worldwide has worked with the poorest people in Tanzania to help to transform their lives.

Farming in challenging environments

Three-quarters of Tanzania’s population are farmers who depend on their crops for income and food. With unpredictable weather patterns and lack of irrigation opportunities, promoting crops which are strong and resistant to dry weather is increasingly important for farmers. These farmers often go hungry in dry seasons.

Cassava, glorious cassava

We believe that cassava is a crop worth promoting. It provides food and income for around 10 million people and Tanzania is the world’s seventh largest cassava producer. Cassava is an extensively cultivated crop in tropical and subtropical regions and is a major source of carbohydrates. Although it is a strong crop, it is prone to disease so the right variety must be used to reduce this risk. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure cassava is utilised to its full potential. 

 Improving farming techniques

Our livelihoods programme covers nine districts in four regions of Tanzania. We promote cassava through farmer field schools teaching farmers about:

  • Improved crop varieties
  • Better farming practices
  • New farming ideas

Cassava processing 

With support from the EU and our partner KIMAS in Masasi District, we have set up six cassava processing groups and supplied each with a processing machine. Each group of 10-20 people has trained members to manage the machines, and 60% of members are women. The processing groups are in their early stages but good results are already being achieved, such as an increase in flour usage to make simple local products such as biscuits. We are also supporting farmers to secure markets for flour.

Cassava Week

In September, we helped to organise Cassava Week – a national event held in Dar es Salaam. Participants came from all sectors – from farmers to processors, manufacturers and the government. The goal was to create links between these groups and discuss ways to increase the production and usage of cassava.

Food and wealth for all

Seven farmers and processors from Masasi participated in this event. They received training in seed multiplication, cassava processing, marketing, and accessing credit. They said that they learned several things: using good packing materials to attract customers, making various products from cassava flour and the use of new technologies in processing. They will take valuable lessons back to their communities to improve their work and their lives.