Friday, October 07, 2011

(HERALD) 52 Karoi farmers take up cassava production, processing

52 Karoi farmers take up cassava production, processing
Friday, 07 October 2011 00:00
Agriculture Reporter

FIFTY-two Karoi farmers have ventured into cassava growing and processing under the guidance of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme.

The farmers are under the GreenLion Old Age and Orphanage organisation. The project is meant to improve household food security and promotion of consumption of traditional nutritional foods.

The beneficiaries of the project are aged between 60 and 107 years.
The Ministry's director for community development, Mr Christopher Chingosho, said to eradicate extreme poverty, Government mandated his ministry to empower women and promote gender equity and equality.

"The ministry ventured into cassava production since the crop is drought tolerant and resistant to pests and diseases thereby reducing production costs," he said.

"Cassava produces high yields per unit area of between 30 to 40 tonnes per hectare which surpasses those of maize, rice, sorghum and wheat and can do well in poor soils, but still produce better yields."

Mr Chingosho said he was confident local farmers were now equipped with knowledge in production, although they required more training on value addition.

He appealed to UNDP and other interested organisations to support the initiatives through the creation of processing units to enable beneficiaries to create a complete industry where they will produce, process and market locally.

Mr Chingosho urged the farmers to increase production and take advantage of foreigners from Zambia and Nigeria in the country who rely on cassava as their staple food.

After undergoing training Mr Musa Mostafu said he was now able to process cassava into flour, mealie meal, biscuits, chips, glue and cakes.

"Cassava production is a suitable project for the elderly as it does not require much labour as in tobacco; another suitable crop for the area," he said.

GreenLion Old Age and Orphanage chief executive, Mr Lovemore Chigumira, who is the founder of the Karoi organisation looking into the farewell of old people, encouraged society to respect the elderly and assist them.

His organisation promotes livelihood programmes for old people, especially those who look after orphans.

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