Fo­cus on small farm­ers

ChinAfrica - - China Report -

In its 2017 re­port re­leased on Septem­ber 5, the Al­liance for a Green Rev­o­lu­tion in Africa, an or­ga­ni­za­tion deal­ing with agri­cul­tural prod­ucts in Africa, high­lighted the cru­cial role of small farm­ers, who cre­ate jobs and sup­port sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth.

With that in mind, Zhang has given dozens of train­ing work­shops to more than 200 small lo­cal farm­ers through­out his mis­sion. Dur­ing these work­shops, he was able to demon­strate how to op­er­ate ma­chines for the ex­trac­tion of starch and pro­duc­tion of ver­mi­celli. But be­yond these tech­ni­cal skills, Zhang wants to high­light the eco­nomic value of cas­sava pro­cess­ing by demon­strat­ing its cost­ef­fec­tive­ness, in or­der to en­cour­age small farm­ers to en­ter the field.

Ac­cord­ing to tra­di­tional prac­tices of Mozam­bi­can farm­ers, once har­vested, cas­sava is dried in the sun in or­der to be pre­served. But de­spite this, the plant rots quickly. “If we trans­form cas­sava into starch us­ing ma­chines, its shelf life can be ex­tended dras­ti­cally. This method has noth­ing but ad­van­tages,” said Anabela Zacarias, head of agro-food ser­vices at IIAM.

But for Zhang, the most re­ward­ing as­pect of his mis­sion is to see small farm­ers like Petro Tomo adopt new skills and meth­ods to im­prove their pro­duc­tion. He said he would gladly sup­port Tomo in his fu­ture projects, pro­vid­ing him with all the tech­ni­cal and ma­te­rial help he might need.

Com­ments to lix­i­aoyu@chi­nafrica.cn

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