Commercialization of Cassava has opened an additional financial window to farmers from Tangakona Commercial Village (CV) in Western Kenya. Farmers have taken advantage of market demand to supply the much needed cassava and sweet potatoes planting materials in Busia and beyond. This is as a result of commercialization campaigns and market linkages by Farm Concern International under the Cassava Commercialization and Processing Programme supported by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and implemented by FCI.
Tangakona farmers used to initially produce and market cassava and sweet potatoes individually and had little knowledge of markets as well as cassava and sweet potato value addition processes. In 2010, FCI mobilized the smallholders to work together to form a Commercial Village to enable them market their produce collectively. Farmers were also introduced to improved varieties of cassava and sweet potato, and good agronomic practices. As more farmers became aware of the potential benefits of the new cassava and sweet potatoes varieties, the demand for clean planting materials for cassava and sweet potatoes rose.
Farmer organizations and NGOs started buying the vines and cuttings from the farmers, and the demand has steadily been rising. This has necessitated Tangakona Commercial Village to source from neighbouring CVs under the project to meet the demand. Tangakona CV has been transformed into not only a major supplier of clean and certified planting materials for cassava and sweet potatoes in Western Kenya, but also a key supplier of processed cassava. In the months of September and November 2013, they earned a total of KES 1,092,000 from a supply of 1,365 bags of Cassava cuttings. In July 2014 they sold a total of 4.8 MT of Cassava chips to Edom Nutrition Solutions valued at KES.169, 000. Moreover, in May 2015, they sold a total of 5,062 bags of vines at KES 500 each to One Acre Fund earning them KES 2.5Million. Currently, Tangakona CV earns an average monthly sale of KES 5,200 from value added products and an average of KES 2.5 million from cassava chunks and chips. A member of agro farmers, Mr Ekisa echoed, “Now we can fulfil our financial obligations to educate our children and improve our livelihoods.” Another member of the group, said, "We have come a long way to where we are today since FCI introduced us to the Commercial Village Model.”
Members of Gwata Commercial Village, in Kibaha, Tanzania, have benefited from various capacity building forums and trainings under the programme. The farmers in Gwata took a step forward by planting 175 acres of cassava of Kiroba variety which is high yielding, early maturing, pests and disease resistant. Kibaha rural district council recognized the effort shown and intervened by contributing one cassava chipper as well as one milling machine which have been installed at Gwata Commercial Village. This has enabled the CV to commence cassava processing into flour. The CV processed 9,000kg of cassava flour worth TZs 11,700,000 which they sold to various individuals, food vendors and hotels.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond