Monday, 27 July 2015

Success Story: Cassava Planting Material Distribution and testimonials from farmers

1. Initial situation: The variety named Sawasawa the most popular and the most common in the Ruzizi plain appreciated by farmers, had lost its performances (resistance to diseases, pests and higher efficiency) and became very sensitive to brown streak of cassava without leaving the slightest chance to farmers to harvest usable roots.
The situation is critical and rapid intervention has been indispensable in order to overcome this crisis which would lead to a food disaster.

Testimony of Ms. Mado from Bwegera:
“For over ten years now, cassava farmers from the Ruzizi plain mainly used the variety Sawasawa and no one could complain against the yield and resistance to diseases and pests that offered this variety. However, in 2012 this variety lost its performance and became very sensitive to the brown streak of cassava that made its roots unsuitable. Abandoned to their fate, farmers had no more choices and were forced to resort to the local varieties and those from everywhere which unfortunately were still more susceptible to diseases and pests than Sawasawa”
A.cassava field attacked by cassava brown streak

  unusable cassava because of the streak cassava roots

2. Action taken: for the sake of bringing a palliative solution to this scourge, a series of training of farmers on “management of pests and diseases and the rapid multiplication of healthy cassava cuttings” was organized before the distribution of healthy cuttings of the improved variety (Nabana) was done in December 2014 in the Ruzizi plain (Kamanyola, Katogota, Luvungi, Bwegera, Kiringye, Luberizi, Sange, Runingu and Kiliba). More than 850 farmers benefited from this new planting material, among them are those who participated in one of the trainings on management of cassava cultivation organized by IITA through the SARD-SC project. Each beneficiary received 125ML that can cover an area of 625m2 each.
  Distribution of cuttings in Katogota

Training on the management of the cassava cultivation 

3. Current situation (outcome or result): Six months later, after visiting the fields of cuttings of the beneficiary farmers, we were impressed not only by the state of the fields but also and especially by the good testimonies of farmers among which Ms. Vumilia of Luvungi said “We thank IITA through its project SARD-SC for assisting us with this new planting material. We were at the point of abandoning the cultivation of cassava due to lack of variety that can resist to the famous brown streak disease”. Ms. Zuwena of Runingu who sees the real Business in the sale of cuttings also said “With this new material that we call Nabana which means the mother of children, we hope again to resume life normally. The fact that I am among the primary beneficiaries of these cuttings here at home, is a great salvation for me and for my family, because cuttings of this variety are very well-sought after by NGOs. It is now or never that I must take this opportunity to implement all the knowledge gained on quick healthy cuttings propagation and make a real source of income to meet the needs of my family".

 New Cassava field using the distributed cuttings

4. Perspective for the future of the beneficiaries: the departure fields set up by farmers from the received cuttings were regarded as fields of cassava production and not as fields for the propagation of cuttings. Later on, they realized that they could have enough material for planting to cover their needs from their small fields as witnessed by Mzee Adji , the head of the Muslim community in Luberizi. He said “as the needs are huge, I would do the coppicing (phased cut of cuttings) instead of permanently harvest the field to have roots, this will allow me to have more material to cultivate more space in less time”.
If IITA could do this first step with other farmers in the middle, which had not benefited from this planting during the first distribution, because at 6MAP there are already some people who envy my field and come to steal the cuttings, I regret this, he added in conclusion.

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