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Cassava farmers in Busia count losses as plant lies idle

By Nathan Ochunge | Dec 8th 2021 | 2 min read
By Nathan Ochunge | December 8th 2021

Cassava. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Farmers in Teso South constituency, Busia County, are counting losses after their cassava started rotting in the farms due to a lack of market.

They claim they risk losing millions of shillings if urgent interventions are not taken.

“Our cassava crops are ready for harvesting but we do not have a direct link to the market. We have tried selling it locally but the prices are low,” said Alfred Ouma, a cassava farmer.

“The county government told us to grow cassava on large scale. The county even constructed a factory at Simba Chai but it is not functioning.”

Mr Ouma accused county government officials of insincerity after they failed to open the multi-million cassava factory that was to buy and process the crop.

The East African Agricultural Productivity Project constructed the mill at Sh10 million.

Its construction was completed in 2017. Five years later, the plant is lying idle. Mr Alfred Adika said his crop on a three-acre farm was rotting away and urged the county to help market the product to recover expenses incurred.

“We stopped planting maize and beans after embracing cassava as our only source of livelihood. Now the county that told us to plant the cash crop has abandoned us at the hour of need,” claimed Adika.

Busia County Executive for Agriculture Moses Osia asked farmers to be patient as they address the matter. Dr Osia said the miller is expected to start operations this month.

“It is the State that began the project and we gave them land. The factory was completed in 2017 and we received machines for installation,” said Osia.

He said the equipment bought wasn’t the right one. We were forced to get new ones, which will be arriving in the county this month.

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