Farmers, NGOs staff, district officials and other stakeholders from different ministries on 24 October visited Kinanzi Cassava Plant in southern province as part of the activities to mark the Cassava Week.
The three day event was presided over by the Minister of State in charge of agriculture, FulgenceNsengiyumva, who encouraged farmers in the Southern Province to apply best farming practices to improve on the Cassava value chain.
“We urge you farmers to use best farming practices in order to increase productivity since you’ve got the new cassava variety,” Minister of State Nsengiyumva told the farmers.
The CEO of Kinazi Cassava plant Nsanzabaganwa Emile said the plant is working under capacity and that there is need for farmers to put in more effort now that a new variety of Cassava has been secured by the government and delivered to the farmers.
“Some farmers still harvest eight tonnes per hectare while others are able to harvest 30 tonnes per hectare; which calls for more efforts to double production and satisfy processing plants plus earning instantly now that the plant pays them immediately as soon as they deliver their produce,” said Emile.
The new variety was distributed to seed multipliers over the last seasons and now farmers are being provided with the new cassava variety cuttings.
The varieties are being provided to farmers on credit and they pay after selling their harvest,” he explained.
According to district officials, cassava will be planted on 1,800 hectares in Kinazi sector alone while in the whole district 7,700 hectares are targeted.
The $10 million highly automated cassava milling factory has the capacity to process 120 metric tons of raw cassava on a 20-hour daily operation.
According to the CEO, the plant has played an enormous role in changing the lives of farmers socially and economically.
Nsanzabaganwa says the biggest role that the company plays is to find ready market for the farmers.
“We find them ready market for all their produce and this has enhanced their economic status,” he adds.
Another benefit, he says, is that cassava farmers do get access finance.
Unlike the past where cassava was considered only as a food crop, today it doubles asboth a cash crop and a food crop thus helping in the food security of the country.
“Today we help and recommend farmers to access finance from various financial institutions,” Nsanzabaganwa says.
“We are working with RAB and other stakeholders to increase the yields of cassava from 12 tons to 30 tons per hectare of land,” he explains.
Today over 3,980 villages have been identified countrywide for cassava growing. This will enable the factory to get increased cassava supplies from the farmers.
“With the new breed of cassava that has been given to farmers, we are confident that after this harvest, we shall have enough cassava for us to operate at full capacity,” Nsanzabaganwa says.