Commercialisation of Traditional Crops: Are Cassava Production and Utilisation Promotion Efforts Bearing Fruit in Kenya?

Milcah W. Mulu-Mutuku, Dolphine A. Odero-Wanga, Adijah M. Ali-Olubandwa, Joyce Maling'a, Amos Nyakeyo


Achieving food security has been an elusive goal for many economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among the strategies being pursued to achieve this goal is agribusiness development through strengthening smallholder farmers’ entrepreneurial capacity and promotion of traditional crops production and utilisation. Cassava has been identified as a high value traditional crop that has enormous industrial value. In Kenya, it has been promoted by the government and other interested organisations. However, despite the efforts, cassava has not evolved from subsistence to a commercial crop that can be relied on in the fight against food insecurity. This paper examines the level of adoption of cassava commercialisation technologies by smallholder farmers in Kenya. It is based on a study conducted in Ngata Division of Nakuru District Kenya where 99 smallholder household heads who are members of cassava common interest groups were interviewed and stakeholder discussions held. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and stakeholder discussions analysed thematically. Though cassava was grown by 57% of the households, very few (6.1%) engaged in entrepreneurial activities involving cassava, selling only the raw tubers. Cassava tended to be grown by older farmers as compared to younger farmers. Smallholder farmers encountered challenges in cassava production, cassava utilisation and cassava commercialisation. For cassava to contribute towards food security, a market-oriented approach that focuses on empowering farmers for entrepreneurial action may need to be considered.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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