How Gosberth became an award-winning Cassava seed entrepreneur

Above: Gosberth examining his crops

When Gosberth, a 44-year-old father of four children from Tanzania, looks back at his journey as a Cassava Seed Entrepreneur (CSE), it reminds him of what it took to get there: hard work, commitment, and a lot of networking. Gosberth first learned about cassava production from a friend, who worked as a Cassava Seed Entrepreneur with the BEST Cassava project.

My friend, [Burton], advised me to start farming in the coastal zone since he knew of my interest in farming…. I followed his advice, bought 35 acres of land, started cassava farming, and attended group training organized by the BEST cassava project. In 2017, I requested MEDA to join the BEST Cassava project in cassava seed production, as I had seen the business opportunity in cassava seed production and was inspired by the good progress made by Nsape. They accepted.”

The journey was difficult at first. His first cassava seed crops were infected with Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and were not approved by the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI). As a result, Gosberth could not sell his crops. But through hard work, determination, and support from the BEST Cassava team, Gosberth started a new farm and received better seeds.

“In 2019, I earned approximately USD $5,600 (TZS 13 million) as my first income from cassava seed. From there, I decided to invest in the cassava seed system as a business.”

To find new markets for his cassava seeds, Gosberth informed his fellow farmers of the benefits of producing improved cassava varieties. He later worked with his friend, Nsape, to lobby for cassava at municipal and district councils. As a result of their effective lobbying, Gosberth and Nsape sold about 230 acres (93 hectares) worth of cassava seeds.

Above: (From left to right) A MEDA staff member with Gosberth discussing his crops

Gosberth increased his farm size from 35 acres (14 hectares) to 250 acres (101 hectares), boosting his income and improving his family’s livelihood. With more land, Gosberth planted other crops like cashew nut, maize, and sunflower. He built a house, bought a car to take his children to school, and started a poultry business. Gosberth also invested in other businesses and created employment for his community.

As a result of his achievements as a CSE, Gosberth was recognized as the best farmer in his district council for good management and planting of cassava.

“When I was named the best farmer, I was surprised and happy that my work was recognized. I got the opportunity to shake hands with the current president Hon. President, Samia Suluhu [Hassan], who was then the vice-president.”

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  • MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)

    MEDA is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. We work in agri-food market systems, focusing primarily on women and youth in rural communities in the Global South. Our success is measured by income, improved processes, increased knowledge, and the creation of decent work.

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