Cassava is wealth: New harmonized standards for processing cassava flour in East and Central Africa

| January 13, 2019

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This week’s Farmer stories from Senegal and Kenya focus on processing raw foods to increase their value, extend their shelf life, and potentially reduce post-harvest losses. Our Script of the week focuses on processing standards for cassava in East and Central Africa that were introduced several years ago, and can act as a helpful guide to processors in these areas and beyond.

To ensure that food is safe, to help farmers and processors, and to improve value chains, governments help create and enforce standards for growing and processing foods such as cassava. Standards are detailed guidelines for producing safe, high quality produce. They cover all aspects of production, processing, labelling, and transportation. The National Bureau of Standards in each country collaborates with other stakeholders to create and enforce these standards.

When producers and processors follow standards, product quality improves, producers and processors can expect increased income, and consumers are assured of safe, high quality products. In addition, trade and marketing across national borders is possible, as is the case with the East and Central African harmonized standards for cassava flour.

This script is a four-episode drama that shows how small-scale cassava growers can grow and prepare raw cassava for processing in facilities that follow cassava processing standards. The script talks about standards for harvesting, for timing of processing, for cleanliness and hygiene, for labelling, and for production facilities.

You could use this drama as inspiration to produce a program on standards for cassava or other crops in your area. Or you might choose to present the drama as part of your regular farmer program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. You could air one episode per week for four weeks on your regular farmer program.

Choose a unique signature tune for the beginning and end of each episode so your audience will instantly recognize that an episode of the drama is about to begin. Create a promo for the drama and broadcast the promo frequently—during your regular farmer program and at other times when farmers are likely to be listening.

Follow episodes of the drama by interviewing a cassava processor, a farmer who grows cassava for the processing market, or an expert on the cassava value chain. Invite listeners to call or text in with questions and comments. Topics for discussion might include:

What are the best opportunities for growers to sell for the processing market?
• Under what conditions should a farmer process his or her own cassava, and when should the farmer go to a processor?
• If a listener wants to start a small-scale processing business, what steps should he or she take to research the market and determine whether there is an opportunity for profit?