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Training to reduce post-harvest cassava losses

The small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) in Dar es Salaam has initiated a training programme for cassava farmers aimed at adding value and reducing post harvest losses.

Speaking to this paper recently in Dar es Salaam, the SIDO regional manager Hamwel Meena, said the programme trains farmers on adding value to the crop hence reduce post harvest losses and poverty.

It was not easily established how much is lost for the cassava crop during post harvest period nationally, but all the country crops losses amount to between 35 to 40 percent.

“We are training farmers how to preserve cassava in a modern way in order to add value to the crop and reduce post harvest losses,” he said.

He said they train farmers on how to refine cassava for value addition and hence enable the farmers to get more money than when selling the crop in unprocessed form.

Meena said the price of fresh cassava from a farm is quiet different compared to the preserved one.

He said already SIDO has trained cassava farmers in Mvuti, Ilala District where they have started to process the crop.

Todate at least 15 groups of farmers have already received training provided between December last year and January this year.

"However, for this new technology to be beneficial, medium and large-scale investors need to get involved in exploiting cassava as a source of industrial raw material and not just as a food crop," he added.

Industries in Tanzania can consume up to 47,000 tonnes of raw cassava in form of high quality cassava flour, starch and cassava chips that can substitute expensive imports in breweries, textiles, food, adhesives, bakeries, and animal feed mills.

Cassava is highly marketable raw material but the transition of the crop to an industrial commodity is greatly constrained because its processing is in the hands of small-scale entrepreneurs, according to agricultural experts.

Speaking to this paper, one of the farmer identified as Hasan Mjopeka, said they have been motivated by the ready market for cassava flour.

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