A SYSTEMS APPROACH TO MECHANIZATION TO COMMERCIALIZE CASSAVA VALUE CHAIN IN KENYA
Journal of Engineering in Agriculture and the Environment
Cassava is produced in Kenya mainly as subsistence and is the second most important food crop after maize in the Country's Western and Coastal regions. Its production and use as human food, animal feed and industrial starch is low due to poor agronomic practices postharvest handling and processing, bulkiness and low application of mechanised operations to scale production to commercial levels. An average yield of 15.3 MT/ha on 0.2 to 1 ha household units was realised against a potential of 90
... /ha in 2014 producing 935,089 MT of cassava valued at $ 168 million. Kenya is a low mechanized country with a mechanical power usage indicated at 30%, hand power at 50%, and animal draught power at 20%. Mechanisation models that apply a systems approach by taking into account the value chain cycle is muted as feasible a pathway for ascertaining the technical and economic sustainability of the cassava enterprise in the country. Commercialization of the cassava value chain requires household production at scales beyond 4 ha. Such scales require mechanised production and primary processing for technical feasibility. A system that will provide mechanised tillage, planting, weeding, harvesting and processing through organised delivery and technical back up support is projected as the best entry to address this limitation. This would unleash the commercial viability of the cassava value chain and grow the livelihood system of producers and processors beyond subsistence thresholds.