The cassava project – Introduction & Planning

In May, 2013 we started a Cassava Project in the South West Region of Cameroon in a village called Kake in Kumba as part of our drive to empower women and reduce poverty.7

A group started in 2003 with twelve (12) women from the same neighborhood. They came together with main goal of helping each other in “farm njangi work”. They worked on each other’s farm on rotating basis; starting with clearing, tilling, planting and weeding. In this way, a large portion is covered on one day.

Later in the same year, they introduced a compulsory 500 FRS weekly kitchen njangi contribution. Every beneficiary used the money to buy a kitchen utensil of her choice for her household.

These activities continued until 2006 when the group seeing what was happening in other places invited the chief of Agric post and Agric Extension worker for KAKE to work with them. They; like other farmers wanted to improve their knowledge on how to better grow crops and equally to attract some financial support from the Government and other funding bodies.

The Project is aimed at transforming Cassava into garri, water-fufu, myondo, kum-kum, starch, cassava flour that can be used for baking. At the end of the project, we hope to realise the following:

  1. Minimize post harvest loses
  2. Reduce manual labour. The provision of a cassava processing unit will instantly reduce two hours manual work into less than five minutes, allowing the women to not only grind their own cassava, but also enough to sell at the market.
  • Protect the health of women and children
  1. Transform almost all cassava from group members and other farm families in Kake and other surrounding villages.
  2. Increase the family income through the sales of cassava by-products with its added value hence alleviating poverty and thus increasing the living standards of the peasant farmer, through the cultivation of 15ha of cassava and the production and transformation of 225 tons of cassava tubers into garri by June 2015.
  3. Enable the women to assist their husbands to send their children to school especially the girls who are often sent to early marriages because husbands prefer to send but male children to school due to lack of funds

The project started on the 21st of May, 2013 with a meeting organised by Afrika Initiative e. V. Cameroon in collaboration with the Women’s Group. It brought together village and traditional heads and elites of Kake. As tradition stipulates, bags of rice, drinks and bags of salt were distributed to the villagers. T. Shirts with the logo of Niedersachsen Unwelt Stiftung were distributed to the Women’s Group. These T. Shirts including the above mentioned items were provided by Afrika Initiative e. V. Cameroon.

Due to serious rainfall, construction work started on the 31st of August, 2013. The building that will host the transformation of cassava is still under construction. Nevertheless, cassava was planted in the 10 hectares of land acquired for that purpose. 120.000 cuttings of cassava were planted by the women.

Photo: Training and demonstration at the cassava sight. What you see here are cuttings of cassava to be planted by the women’s group. They were receiving the last demonstration exercise before they started planting. The following has so far been achieved:

  • Acquisition of 10 hectares of land
  • All traditional rites with the villagers and elites accomplished
  • The population identified poverty as their major problem which has manifested itself through inability to pay children’s school fees, hospital bills, poor malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation.
  • Capacity of Women’s Group strengthened through training sessions and seminars, workshops, meetings, exchange visits etc.
  • Markets/ Customers where the extra garri, water-fufu will be sold identified.
  • Quality cassava cuttings procured
  • The internal structure of the Women’s Group strengthened and solidarity bond among members increased
  • Capacity of Women’s Group built on rapid multiplication of cassava seed material using the two notes states
  • A demonstration unit created with the Women’s Group and other farmers in and around Kake and Kumba.
  • Construction site acquired
  • Services of technicians available and at standby
  • Construction plan and building estimates established
  • Building materials though not all procured
  • Construction work ongoing
  • Building roofed

Remaining work:

Plumbering work

  • Electrification
  • Plastering
  • Procure materials for plumbering, electrification and plastering
  • Hire labour
  • Carry out the above work
  • Plant cassava
  • Procure processing machine and other Equipments
  • Install machines
  • Install women for the cassava processing
  • Train farmers on good transformation techniques
  • Restructure and install Management Committees amongst the women
  • Put MANCOM in place
  • Harvest cassava
  • Transform cassava into various cassava by-products
  • Follow up activities and report