SARD-SC project stimulates rural economy through establishment of cassava community processing centers in DR Congo
The cassava community processing centers (CCPCs) are currently stimulating the economy and creating employment for the rural population of Kavumu village, in the Kabare territory of South-Kivu Province of the DR Congo. Until the introduction of the CCPC in early 2015, there was a high level of unemployment in Kavumu community.
The CCPC is a collective agroprocessing enterprise made of farmers’ groups for the processing of fresh cassava roots, high quality cassava flour, fermented flour, garri, and starch. These activities within the center bring the community together; boost the market for cassava roots, flour, and other products; and facilitate access to healthy cassava planting materials through the multiplication farms of CCPC members and the local farmers around the factory.
Through the SARD-SC project, members of the CCPC were trained on good agronomic practices in cassava cropping systems, business plan development, and market linkages. At the end of the training, participants realized the many opportunities and profitable businesses in the cassava sector, and have now started practicing the techniques learned. They have also started training other small associations and farmers groups within their community.
In addition to the training, the project gave the organization healthy cassava planting materials for a 2-ha plot from which they harvested 67 tons of raw roots for US$5955.5 at 80 Fc/kg. Kavumu CCPC now employs five regular staff receiving monthly salaries as well as casual workers (around 20 persons each day).
Initially, a market outlet for the cassava products was a big problem until the CCPC was linked to the IITA Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs (IKYA). As the CCPC started flooding the market with cassava products, members of the Kavumu community were encouraged to get more involved in the cassava sector and many have benefitted greatly from it.
A very good example is a young woman named Mapendo Kabiona Benedicte, who is one of the Kavumu CCPC staff. She is the fifth child from a family of seven children (three girls and four boys) whose parents are farmers. Through the support of her parents, she had earlier obtained a diploma in 2014 but she couldn’t gain admission into university to pursue a degree due to lack of funds. She looked for a job, including as a primary school teacher, but could not get one.
However, following her successful participation in the SARD-SC project training, Benedicte was offered a job at Kavumu CCPC with a monthly salary of US$60. In addition, she has been able to convince her parents to produce more cassava to supply CCPC. With increased resources, she has enrolled to study a course in the university.