FOOD SECURITY

Taita Taveta establishes cassava bulking nursery to boost production

Farmers to receive seedlings from the four-acre nursery.

In Summary

• Agriculture executive Davis Mwangoma said the project  seeks to ensure self-reliance and help more farmers plant the drought resistance crop.

• Farmers are currently sourcing cassava propagation material from the neighbouring Kilifi county.

Agriculture executive Davis Mwangoma inspects cassava at the bulking nursery at the County Agricultural Showground in Voi
PRODUCTION: Agriculture executive Davis Mwangoma inspects cassava at the bulking nursery at the County Agricultural Showground in Voi
Image: SOLOMON MUINGI

The Taita Taveta government has established a cassava bulking nursery to produce more seedlings for farmers.

The four-acre nursery at the County Agricultural Showground in Voi is set to enhance production and multiplication of the crop.

Agriculture executive Davis Mwangoma said the project seeks to ensure self-reliance and help more farmers plant the drought resistance crop.

Farmers are currently sourcing cassava propagation material from neighbouring Kilifi county.

“Soon farmers will get cassava cuttings locally. This activity of seed bulking is a start to enable sustained quality seed provision to farmers in the county,” Mwangoma said.

He added that youths have been involved in the creation of the nursery under the Kazi Mtaani initiative.

Mwangoma asked the youth to practice farming to enhance food and nutrition security.

“The cassava plant is the goose set to lay the golden egg for food security and income generation for both crop and livestock farmers in Taita Taveta county,” he said.

Agriculture chief officer Boniface Mwakio said they will plant the Tajirika and Shibe varieties, which are tolerant to the Cassava Mosaic Virus CMV, palatable, high yielding, fast maturing and drought tolerant.

For optimum production and palatability, he advised farmers to harvest cassava between eight months and one year. He said late harvesting will lead to the crop being hollow and woody, ultimately compromising quality.

Mwakio said farmers will be sensitised on value addition during harvesting to enhance agribusiness.

“Tubers can be processed to flour and chips. Tubers and leaves can be converted into livestock feed,” Mwakio said.