Planting a brighter future, one seed at a time – Selemani’s story

Above: Selemani posing with his motorcycle (Photo credit: H.Rashid, IITA)

Selemani lives in Lindi region, Tanzania. For most of his life, he has been a farmer and grows cassava, sesame, and cashew nuts. At first, he only grew cassava for his food. His perspective later changed when he learned of the many opportunities to grow cassava as a cash crop.

Originally, he produced cassava chips that he sold to his fellow villagers, which brought him more income. However, due to a lack of startup capital, he couldn’t purchase the necessary machinery to process and dry his cassava product. His production processes were time-consuming as he manually peeled and chopped his cassava and dried it in the sun, which was especially tough during the rainy season.

In 2016, Selemani took a risk and signed up with MEDA’s BEST cassava project to become a cassava seed entrepreneur (CSE). With training from the BEST Cassava project, he made good progress toward becoming a successful seed entrepreneur. He also became a role model for his fellow farmers in the village.

“I am so grateful for the BEST Cassava project because they taught me the importance of having a finance plan in every step of the process. Also, I learned about good agricultural practices which resulted in increased production,” Selemani said.

Through his marketing activities, Selamani has become well-known in several regions, such as Lindi and Tanga. He says the project also made him eligible to receive support from the local government, such as a cassava processing machine from the District council.

With the extra income he earned from his cassava business, he was able to purchase 16 acres of land and a motorcycle. He has also started building a brick house for his family. In recent years, his fellow villagers have started to appreciate and benefit from his CSE work as he grew higher-quality cassava seeds.

Above: Selemani in front of the brick house he is building for his family. (Photo credit: H.Rashid, IITA)

Selamani has big plans: in addition to building his business as a successful CSE, he aspires to become a major supplier of cassava flour.

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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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