The European Union will pump in over sh. 700 million to support the growing and value addition of cassava in the country.
According to Mr. George Okeyo, head of programmes at the Self Help Africa, an NGO that is leading a consortium of five others implementing the project, the EU has extended a grant of 6,587,523 Euros to support the project that will be implemented in seven counties.
Okeyo said that the five year project will target to increase food and nutrition security, employment and income amongst 28,000 smallholder farming households in Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya, Busia, Kitui and Kilifi counties.
Addressing a one day stakeholder engagement forum in Siaya County, Okeyo said that the project will work with the small holder farmers to increase both the volume and value of cassava and will provide business linkages for them.
He said that they will also work closely with the government to review the Cassava development strategy and the roots and tuber policy that is due for review.
Addressing the occasion, programme manager at the Ugunja Community Resource Centre, one of the lead implementers that will oversee the project in Siaya, Busia and parts of Kisumu, Mr. Charles Ogada lamented that Cassava, together with other traditional crops such as Millet, Sorghum and sweet potatoes had long been neglected despite their nutritional value.
Ogada however said that the rural communities in the targeted areas were set to benefit from the value chain since the project will engage in market oriented agriculture where they will be linked to buyers.
He said that they will help the farmers acquire disease free, high yielding seed cuttings from the over 300 farmers who will be contracted to supply the same from their cuttings.