Cassava growing for food security in Kenya

Nov 16, 2012

Project Report for November 2012

Community members participating in World Food Day
Community members participating in World Food Day

Maragua Division, Kenya


Dear Friends,

My community continues to benefit from the purchase of the mill to grind cassava to make food staples.  The enthusiasm for the project in my community continues to grow.  I am happy to report on the latest news.

Our community participated in the World Food Day Celebrations by holding a public forum on cassava on 16th, October 2012 at Kigumo Divisional headquarters. During the event, hundreds were taught on the benefits of the highly nutritious and drought resistant Cassava as a food, fodder and cash crop. The community members also utilized the opportunity to sell various cassava products including doughnuts, porridge, chips, and crisps. In the photos, are people buying and enjoying cassava dishes.

I am glad to inform you that our milling operation is modeled on the concept of a social business put forth by Muhammad Yunus. We charge only Ksh. 10 per 5 Kgs  instead of Ksh. 30 that the rest of the millers ask. This is to encourage consumption of cassava, as the villagers can now mill their dried cassava chips much more cheaply. This obviously encourages cassava cultivation. The little income accruing almost entirely goes into the running of the business through payment of its recurrent costs.

However, I am of the opinion that social enterprises experience some key challenges. They have to compete in the commercial market dominated by conventional businesses. This is in addition to facing the same operational challenges and risks as all other businesses. To overcome this challenge, the social enterprise should be of a relatively large size so that it can break even and manage to settle its recurrent expenditure. In Economics, this is referred to as "Economies of Scale." Social enterprises also lag behind in embracing technology. This is due to their low level of profits as opposed to what conventional businesses make. The competitors would easily manage to run more efficiently as they can utilize their comparatively large profit streams towards technological advancement and cost reduction. This kind of competition may lead to failure of social enterprises, if they are not large and mature enough.

If I get an opportunity to study for a Masters in Development Economics, I will focus on the role of social enterprises and Non- Governmental Organisations in poverty alleviation and economic development. I believe very little effort has been channeled towards realizing their potential as engines of economic development.

Thank you for your belief in our social business.  You are changing lives for the better.



Inside of cassava mill
Inside of cassava mill
Cassava plants in cultivation
Cassava plants in cultivation



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Project Leader

Angie Gust

PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress
Lilburn, GA Kenya

Where is this project located?

Map of Cassava growing for food security in Kenya