My community is extremely grateful for the purchase of the mill to grind cassava to make food staples. The income of our community has increased greatly. I am not through though. My goal is to keep working to help my community to be as prosperous as possible. It is in that vein that I relay the information below.
Dr. Joseph Kamau (a cassava expert from the Ministry of Agriculture) told the PATHWAYS scholars a story at the PATHWAYS annual meeting in 2008. It was a story of a Nigerian who came to Kenya and lacked cassava gari- Nigeria’s staple food. The Nigerian man decided to hire a small plot of land and started growing cassavas. Later, he purchased a bigger plot of land and grow more cassava. Thereafter, he started a small processing plant to add value to the cassavas that he was producing. Recently, he put up even another factory. He mainly exports cassava products to foreign markets. It is amazing that he is the only person doing that in the greater Eastern Africa region. In Dr. Kamau's words, " he is minting money."
I have always desired to expose our community to such an experience so that at least they know what the cassavas that they are growing can be processed into. When I was on a long university vacation in January, I decided to go to the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters to seek assistance. After 5 visits, I was introduced to one – Dr. Martha Sila. She is the National head of the Root – crops Division. I absolutely narrated to her the story of our project, the support of PATHWAYS, of you, the Global Giving community and our objectives. She was impressed. She agreed to sponsor us to visit the Nigerian’s factories, as I had requested. I was pushing for 100 community members to participate, but she limited the number to 60 because they wanted to see only one bus used.
The 60 participants were selected as a perfect representative of the community: women, men, youth, middle-aged and the aged. They visited last month. They went to the 2 factories. One is at Kasikeu, in the interior of Sultan Hamud and the other is at the lower end of the Makueni County. This is a 8 – hour one way journey from our area. All the expenses of the exposure tour were catered for.
The community members were very excited and motivated. They were more than elated for experiencing what they could only imagine before. Please see the photos of the trip.
Thank you for your continued support- you are changing lives for the better!
Murang'a County, Kenya
I am very excited to announce to you that we were able to purchase and install the mill to grind the cassava. The community is so happy! The building housing the mill was also renovated and electricity availed with the owner's assistance. The machine installation was completed on Friday, 17th February. The milling operation started immediately.
One of the great advantages of the mill is that the machines cannot only mill cassavas but also grains including corn. Another advantage is the reduced cost. We decided that the mill would be a social enterprise for the benefit of the community. Therefore the price charged for the milling service has been heavily subsidized. For 3kg of chopped cassavas or grains, we are charging Ksh. 10 (less than $0.10). The other millers charge Ksh. 30 for the 3kg of cassavas or grains. This is a great relief to a community wallowing in abject poverty. Plus, we are very sure that the income accruing is enough to sustain the mill and support other activities in the project.
Finally, another advantage is the reduced price for milling. Before the mill you helped us purchase was put in place, the community members would have to purchase the milling service 7 kilometres away at Sabasaba town. Now, the mill is so close! Women are particularly excited and relieved of the agony and time spent in walking the long distance. They can now attend to more chores. Beyond any shred of doubt, the mill has proved to be a great achievement in the fight for food security. We can’t thank you enough!
Please see attached the following photos.
Photo a : The building housing the mill. Remember, this is the building that appears on our GlobalGiving page. But this time, the front is painted blue.
Photo b : The 2 machines. On the right is the crusher that crushes chopped cassavas and grains. On the left, is the roller machine that finally grinds the crushed cassavas and grains into flour.
Photos c & d : The trained operator packing the flour into customers' bags.
On behalf of our community, I sincerely thank you for supporting us in acquiring a mill. Surely, this is a milestone towards achieving food security. You have surely changed many lives for the better while helping alleviate hunger!
I just wanted to update you that many groups have been visiting us for training on cassava cultivation. We are very happy that we are able to spread the word and help others grow this drought resistant crop that can prevent famine. I wish to present a photo of our group's officials that was taken during such a training session last week.
In the photo are the group's office bearers, from left:
Michael Murigi - Patron
Jane Wainaina - Chairperson
Lydiah Ndegwa - Secretary
Julius Kamande - Vice-Chairperson
Alice Njoki - Vice Secretary
Racheal Wanjiku - Treasurer
Also captured in the photo, are cassava made food products. That is cassava porridge in the container, cassava doughnuts, chips, crisps, chapattis and ugali in the flasks. In the background, is a cassava crop growing in a garden.
Thank you very much for your continued support,
Murang'a County, KenyaDear Donors,Our community has been very successful with their project growing cassava. Recently, the community group participated in the Murang'a County’s World Food Day celebrations (October 2011). This time the women decided to sell the cassava food products (doughnuts, porridge, chips, crisps, chapattis e.t.c) rather than give to the public free. Amazingly, all of the products were sold within 30 minutes of arrival. The women made a good sum of money. Present during the event, were officials from the Provincial Administration. They were very impressed with our project. They even promised support in terms of logistics, that we may need to reach more areas.With the purchase of a mill, we will be able to make flour on a large scale and make more cassava products. Eventually, this can turn into a business that will be sustainable and help the entire community. Our project is very much seen as a role model for the whole country during this time of famine in East Africa.You are helping my community help themselves and show the way forward.Thank you- we are grateful for your support.Michael
I want to thank you for support our cassava for food security project. It is going much better than anyone could have predicted. One example is Mrs.Ekila Wanjiku, a woman in my village, who keeps 3 cows for milk production. Earnings from the sale of the milk forms a crucial part of her family's income. Until March this year, she was feeding her cows on cornmercial-made feeds. She was buying these at Ksh.2,000.00 or $23 per week. The daily milk output by then was about 10 litres.
As part of our cassava project for food security, Ekila's family was given cassava cuttings to plant in May 2010. By December 2010, their crop was mature. They used the crop for their food supply. In addition, they decided to try feed the cassava to their cows. They ground the roots into flour and fed it to their cows and their cows liked it! Amazingly, the daily milk output from the cows has increased by 50% to 15 litres per day. The family has an additional income of Ksh 125.00 or $1.50 daily from the milk and Ksh 3,750.00 or $44 monthly. It is important to note that Ekila is feeding the cows on completely organic feeds from her own plot, saving Ksh. 2,000.00 or $23 per week she was spending earlier.
Ekila happily states, " I am now sure of maintaining my children in school." According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., cassava roots have the highest concentration of starch among all food crops. The leaves are abundantly rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Brazil, the world's biggest milk producer, relies on cassava for livestock feeds. We would like to see this replicated in villages all over Kenya!
Many thanks again! You are changing lives for the better!
Until next time,
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