KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE Indaba Agricultural Policy and Research Institute (IAPRI) says there is need to create a demand-driven cassava sub-sector by improving productivity and promoting market linkages among farmers.
IAPRI said lack of an effective demand for cassava and its products is affecting productivity.
According to IAPRI’s presentation on an Overview of cassava production in Zambia availed to the Daily Mail, cassava is among the most important crops grown in Zambia after maize, but currently lacks market information.
IAPRI notes that despite Government coming up with various interventions to commercialise cassava and bring more farmers on board to grow the crop, productivity levels still remain low.
“There is need to establish linkages among farmers and processors to create a readily available market, which is currently a challenge.
“We need to improve the supply chain efficiency by strengthening farmer organisations such as the Zambia National Cassava Association’s storage and infrastructure facilities,” IAPRI notes.
The institute also said there is need to increase awareness on the use of improved cassava varieties to increase yields.
IAPRI said cassava, being a drought-resistant crop, has the potential to contribute to household food security among farmers through increased income generation.
Currently, cassava production stands at over one million metric tonnes per annum, and about 92 percent is consumed and only seven percent is for commercialisation.