Cassava is a food security crop in Kenya, mainly grown for subsistence and limited commerce in the western, eastern and coastal regions. Its demand is increasing in non traditional growing regions like Nakuru County where cassava agribusiness development initiatives have been undertaken but take off has faced challenges including disease (CBSD), late maturity and low yield. This project was conceived with the objective of contributing to improved food, nutrition and income security of small holder farmers through innovations in the cassava value chain in three ASAL (Agricultural Semi-Arid Lands) sub-counties of the greater Nakuru County. A household baseline study on the status of cassava production, utilization and value addition was conducted in the three selected project sites (Njoro, Solai and Subukia sub-counties). Results indicated that the average age of farmers was 60 years and that a majority of household heads (approx. 90%) engaged in farming as their primary occupation, dedicating about 0.3 acres (0.15 ha) of land to cassava production. Majority (88%) of farmers grow cassava for subsistence purposes and with limited food product diversity. A small percentage (12%) grow cassava for both food and sale. The most desirable cassava variety characteristics were high yield potential and early maturity. Access to clean planting materials is a critical drawback as 44% of farmers obtain them from neighbours while 27% recycle their own. Overall, CMD and CBSD are the most problematic diseases with 76% of farmers indicating that they do not apply any control measures. A majority of farmers (79%) cited Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) as the most important capacity building need for cassava production.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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