As an industrious farmer from Tanzania, Grace works hard to provide for her family. Yet, she found that despite her efforts and using conventional farming methods, crop diseases like Cassava Mosaic and Cassava Brown Streak Disease greatly affected her cassava production which resulted in lower yields.
One day in 2017, she signed up to become a Certified Seed Entrepreneur and her farming prospects improved. She learned about improved cassava seed varieties that were higher yielding, disease resistant and drought tolerant through MEDA’s BEST Cassava project. Through this project, she gained business training and learned to align her crops with customer needs. She noticed a big difference: going from planting three acres before she became a CSE to growing eight acres as a CSE with improved cassava seeds.
“From practicing good cassava agronomy…I have witnessed the difference in yield,” Grace said.
Her involvement in BEST also benefitted her community. With the profits that she made from increased crop yields, she built two iron sheet roofed houses for her family, purchased a solar panel to power her house, renovated her mother’s house in the village, and sent her child to a technical school. Grace has also passed on her cassava agronomy and seed business knowledge to her husband and three labourers who assist with her cassava seed multiplication. She invests in them by sharing her agronomic knowledge which they can then use in the future.
Grace also wants to become a “Cassava seed champion” and teach her fellow villagers through trainings about the benefits of using improved cassava seeds. Since Cassava became a commercialized crop in Tanzania, it has become more in demand and has great potential.
““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 reflected.
Like Grace’s story highlighted, investing in better quality seeds and techniques can not only benefit farmers but whole communities, improving their prosperity and food security.
This year’s UNFSS summit will address the future of our world’s food systems and how the livelihoods of women like Grace and other people are impacted by food insecurity. Stay connected with us to find out what outcomes will be produced from this summit and the future of food systems.