Developing a community-based cassava seed system for increased productivity and market linkages in Uganda

The Cassava Community Action Research Project (CARP) is aimed at enhancing sustainable production, processing and marketing of cassava and cassava products among the farming communities. Specifically, the project is focusing on quality cassava planting material, appropriate agronomic practices and promotion of relevant technologies for improved performance of selected value chains. The primary entry point is to ensure access to virus-free (clean) cassava planting material of farmer preferred and elite varieties. Through existing multi-stakeholder innovation platforms, farmers and other actors are being engaged in each of the four pilot study districts, where cassava plays a vital role of food security and bio-resource. The focus districts include Kole and Apac (Northern Uganda), and Serere and Bukedea (Eastern Uganda); and some research for development activities at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute at Kabanyolo (MUARIK, Wakiso district). Since its inception in October 2014, the project has identified some key challenges facing cassava production, processing and marketing in the study areas. Some challenges have incited investigative research topics for students while others are key areas of incubating business ideas with university graduates. Through community knowledge workers (CKW), the project has started engaging the communities in solving their challenges while sometimes providing direct support in terms of basic materials. The project is evaluating planting material, bioethanol, high quality flour, and composite porridge flour as key products for value chains for improvement. To this effect, the project has identified and virus-cleaned at least one farmer preferred cassava variety in each community. Virus free stock materials are now assembled for farmer preferred varieties including Bao, Bukalasa (B11), and Mercury. Mother gardens have been established consisting of clean and elite varieties (NASE 03, NASE 14, NASE 19 and NAM 130) in Apac/Kole, Serere and Bukedea districts. The project is also building human resource capacity in research (1 PhD, 3 MSc, 3 BSc) as well as supporting incubation of business ideas (3) along the cassava value chains. The project team, graduate students and business incubatees (3 BSc) work with farmers to generate and diffuse knowledge for improved management of cassava pests and diseases, and processing and marketing of cassava products. Following the project annual review meeting of December 2015, project team felt that there were many clear research intervention areas identified after the reconnaissance studies including student topics. Many expected outcomes of the project will directly impact on the rural communities especially those involved in cassava production and associated value chains.
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Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, and Other Corporate Outputs
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