Wambua, J.M. 1*, 1Kariuki, C.W., 1Kamau, J.W., 1Njarui, D.G.M., 2Mwangi, D.M., 1Gichangi, E.M, 1Nguluu, S.N. and 2Keya, G
1KARI-Katumani, P.O. Box 340-90100, Machakos
2KARI-Headquarters, P.O. Box 57811-00200, Nairobi
AbstractThere were several lessons learnt from the findings. Kongowea market is located in one region of cassava production. The distance from other regions is to this market is long and there is possibility of the quality of the fresh cassava to deteriorate. Fresh cassava is bulky, leading to high cost of transportation and this limits fresh cassava from dry lands of eastern Kenya entering into this market. There is need to establish other fresh cassava markets in these areas. Other markets of cassava products were wholesalers of dried cassava chips. Kibera, Gikomba and Ukulima were the wholesalers of cassava dried chips. Those markets were accessing the commodities from all cassava growing areas, but the distances and costs of the dried cassava chips had negative effects on the quantity purchased for trading. The dry lands of eastern Kenya could take this opportunity in supplying the dried cassava chips. Other potential markets of dried cassava chips were animal feed manufacturing firms. However, these firms were not utilizing cassava dried chips, despite the knowledge advancement acquired through research and the lack of raw material for manufacturing animal feed. This led to the upgrading of the strategy to commercialize cassava production in dry lands of eastern Kenya. The strategy was upgraded from animal industry as the market to the human food and starch industries. Notwithstanding, there was lack of knowledge in the intercropping systems to increase land productivity through increase of cassava production. It was found that, cassava intercrop with cowpea is possible, where land is limited and enhances drought risk management. Farmers can intercrop cowpea with cassava during the first season of cassava growth, to maximize productivity of the land. Comparatively, the productivity of dried cassava was higher than beans and cowpeas and it was possible to intercrop them if the objective was to maximize cassava production. Pigeon peas lowered the dry yield of cassava, indicating the incorrect intercrop in the dry lands of eastern Kenya. Cassava production activities were done manually and that prompted delays in some of them, for instance planting and harvesting, which called research in mechanization. Rapid multiplication technique was a solution in providing appropriate cassava planting materials. The technique enabled farmers access improved cassava planting materials in three weeks period. One stem of cassava plant could provide many plantlets (ministems) which could be put in nurseries to generate cassava seedlings in a short time towards rainfall onset. But, the seedlings generated through rapid multiplication technique cannot be transported to far distances and must be planted in less than 6 hours to avoid drying. During the research, many farmers specialized in producing cassava planting materials, which was a way of income diversification from the same crop. New cassava growers accessed the cassava planting materials from the specialized ones. That enhanced the efficiency in delivering and distributing improved cassava planting materials. Ultimately, there could be no success in any programme effort dealing with either cassava production, processing or marketing without integration of the systems to address households’ consumption, markets and food security.