Spring 2021 Impact Report – BEST Cassava


Building an Economically Sustainable Seed System for Cassava in Tanzania

In Tanzania, millions of resilient farmers battle poverty, climate change, and crop diseases to earn a living for their families.

Through the Building an Economically Sustainable Seed System for Cassava in Tanzania (BEST Cassava) project, farmers were empowered to overcome these threats to their incomes and livelihoods by providing them with access to high-quality, disease-resistant, and affordable cassava seeds.

This seed system made seed businesses more profitable and strengthened the food supply for thousands of Tanzanians.

This project:

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Brought together government and private businesses to develop cassava seeds and improve quality standards
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Created a system of disease resistant, affordable cassava seeds for farmers and seed businesses
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Increased the use of improved seeds among Tanzanian farmers

How a hard-working farmer harnessed the power of technology to improve her life

Grace Myula is a hardworking farmer and entrepreneur from the Kasera village, in the Tanga Region of Tanzania.

Despite putting all her energy into providing for her family and herself, she found that she just could not get ahead. Among the challenges that she faced were crop diseases, including Cassava Mosaic and Cassava Brown Streak Disease, which greatly reduced her Cassava production and resulted in lower yields.

Yet, out of a sense of curiosity and her ambition, Grace took a chance and signed up to be a Cassava Seed Entrepreneur (CSE).

During these trainings, Myula was provided with agronomy and business training and how to align her Cassava seed business with her customers’ needs. The results were tremendous: Grace applied her new knowledge and skills which resulted in her expanding her farm from three to five acres and increased her farms’ yields from 3 tons per acre to 8 tons per acre every planting season.

“From practicing good cassava agronomy…I have witnessed the difference in yield,” Grace Myula reflected. Most importantly, she is providing for her family and bought two iron sheet roofed houses and a solar panel for her home. Grace is also sending her son to a technical school and is passing on her agronomic knowledge to her husband and three farm laborers. Grace is working to be a “Cassava Champion” and is spreading her knowledge to her fellow villagers so that they can also benefit from increased yields and eventually, greater profits.

“There is a great opportunity within the cassava crop [and she has] witnessed the potential of this crop to change a farmer’s life,” Grace Myula said.

Your Impact

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Through your support of the BEST Cassava project, you equipped farmers with access to high-quality, disease-resistant, and affordable cassava seeds. Your invaluable support enabled this project to be implemented in 11 regions across three zones (Lake, Eastern and Southern Zone). Over the course of this project, 606 Cassava Seed Entrepreneur businesses and 45,997 farmers were positively affected.

4 YEARS: 2017-2021

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation