Mkombozi Group is one of the community processing groups in Sengerema District of Mwanza region whose major activities are cassava farming and processing. The group established in 2010 has a total number of 55 members out of which 29 are men and 26 women. The Mkombozi Group comprises of three groups: Mtanzamo, Youth and Research group.
Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, Tanzania (CAVA II) , identified the Mkombozi group in mid 2014 and the Project started working with the group the same year. CAVA II, Tanzania supported the group with training on cassava production, processing, packaging and product marketing. The farmers were trained on good agronomic practices which would help them to improve their yield. The farmers were also encouraged to cultivate disease free planting material in order ensure that their cassava farms are not affected by brown steak disease, which is widespread in Tanzania.
Having adopted new varieties and improved agronomic practices which would increases yield by at least 25 percent, the Mkombozi group in the 2014 farming season, cultivated a total of 348 acres of cassava. Improved cassava varieties that are resistant to pest and disease were cultivated on 123 acres of land, while local varieties were cultivated on 225 acres of land.
In the same year, the group started producing High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF). They purchased about 50.7 tons of fresh cassava roots (FCR) which was processed into 16.9 tons of High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF). The HQCF produced was supplied to wholesale and retail shops in Sengerema, Mwanza and Geita. The group also supplied HQCF to a number of restaurants in these locations.
Before working with the CAVA II project, the group had a few markets within Sengerema District, however with the help of Business Development Experts from CAVA II, Tanzania, new markets were identified and farmers were linked to them. Today, market situation is looking up for the Mkombozi group. The group now has more markets to supply their fresh cassava roots (FCR) and HQCF.
The Deputy Director, Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, Dr Adebosola Oladeinde visited the Mkombozi group in Tanzania recently to evaluate the impact the project has made on the group. Dr Oladeinde, who was impressed with the results, lauded the farmers for adopting good farming practices and the new cassava varieties which were introduced to them. She noted that the clean planting materials has helped the farmers to control cassava brown steak disease (CBSD), which before now has been ravaging their farms. She also pointed out that the group has created an example for other cassava processing groups in Tanzania. She reaffirmed commitment of the CAVA II Project to continue supporting the group.
In his address to Dr Adebosola Oladeinde, the treasurer of Mkombozi group, Mr Amos Mshina highlighted the achievements the group has made since they started working with the CAVA II Project. He said, “most of our customers are from retail markets in Sengerema, Mwanza and Geita, we wish to extend our thanks to CAVA II Tanzania team for linking the group with new markets.” He added that with the facilitation of CAVA II, the group has acquired a 50 ton jack presser. The high capacity pressing machine is a great achievement to the group, as they can now process a higher volume of cassava with the machine.