While cassava is among the most important crops in the isle of Zanzibar, Tanzania, where it is ranked second to rice, the residents consume it in very limited and not so exciting ways. It is boiled or fried with oil and eaten as a snack /breakfast or stewed in coconut milk for lunch or dinner. This in turn limits the demand and market for the crop.
Recently, the project in collaboration with one of its partner in the isle, Zanzibar Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI), held training for farmers, processors and traders on preparing additional food recipes using cassava. These included making cakes, bans, spicy porridge and chin chin – a snack made of fried stringy cassava (sort of like fried cassava spaghetti). These were made from high quality cassava flour (HQCF) – on its own or mixed with wheat flour. They also made chicken cassava pilau in which peeled cassava that’s cut into little pieces substituted rice in this popular dish.
The SARD-SC project seeks to increase food security and improve the income and living standards of small-holder farmers in 20 African countries, including Tanzania, by increasing the production of four important staple crops – maize, wheat, cassava and rice. It is funded by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).
Nematodes are microscopic worm-like pests found in the soils. They attack the roots and prevent the efficient uptake of nutrients by plant. They drastically reduce yield and in severe cases, cause the whole plants to fall over. Nematodes are spread from one farm to another through the use of infected planting material. In this video by Planet Forward, IITA’s Mary Maganga shows how to identify roots affected by nematodes.
Vegetables are high value and nutritious crops. However they are attacked by a wide range of pests and diseases. IITA is working with small-holder farmers to find sustainable ways to control these pests and diseases to increase vegetable production, and improve the livelihoods of the smallholder growers. This is through a grant from the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This video by Planet Forward is focusing on some of this work in the island of Zanzibar.