The Cassava Commercialization and Processing Programme implemented by Farm Concern International (FCI) with support from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has resulted in tales of transformation across East Africa. Commercial Villages (CVs) in Makueni County contributed Kshs. 566,700 in total, out of which Kshs. 76,000 was used to purchase 38,000 cassava cuttings from the University of Nairobi farm in Kibwezi. Using their savings, members of Mbuvo CV used part of her members savings to purchase a one-acre plot at Ksh. 80,000. The Commercial Village has since then started developing the plot with an intention to set up a cassava processing plant and rental shops. They fenced and set up demonstration plots and have also built up a village hut.
The Commercial Villages Model (CVM) developed and updated by FCI is a hybrid model through which typical social administrative villages are designed and systematically graduated into commercialized competitive market-led agricultural production units. It is supported by a business incubation and graduation pathway that is efficiently organized to evolve social administrative villages into commercial villages that meet the modern markets quantity and quality (Q&Q) requirements through bulking and quality assurance. One of the main components of the Commercial Village Model is the savings and credit scheme that encourages farmers to save and borrow money within their Commercial Villages. Record keeping is made through pass books which is an FCI initiative.
Mbuvo Commercial Village is currently saving money to buy a tractor for ploughing the cassava fields and also to be used as a source of income through land tillage and transportation at a fee. “Our vision is to change the lives of the people in this Commercial Village,” said Mr. Masyuki, the chairman of Mbuvo Commercial Village.
One of the great achievements of the initiative is availability of school fees loans for members. “School fee is just a phone call away. We just call the principals and assure them that the child belongs to our member and that the money shall be paid. We then organize to process the money whereby the member completes an application form, and then the cash is availed to the school immediately. So far we have seven children whose parents have benefited from borrowing from the savings in the Commercial Village” said Mr. Masyuki..
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond