Notes to broadcasters
To ensure that food is safe, to help farmers and processors, and to improve value chains, governments help create and enforce standards for growing and processing foods such as potatoes and cassava.
Standards are detailed guidelines for producing safe, high quality produce. They cover all aspects of production, processing, labeling, and transportation. The National Bureau of Standards in each country collaborates with other stakeholders to create and enforce these standards.
When producers and processors follow standards, product quality improves, producers and processors can expect increased income, and consumers are assured of safe, high quality products. Also, trade and marketing across national borders is possible, as is the case with the East and Central African harmonized standards for potatoes and cassava. While this drama deals with standards in East and Central Africa, there could be very similar standards in your country. Do some research to find out.
This eight-scene drama shows how potato and cassava growers and processors can grow and prepare these crops. The script talks about standards for harvesting, storing, processing, and packing cassava and potatoes.
You could use this drama as inspiration to produce a similar program on standards for cassava or other crops in your area. Or you might choose to present this drama as part of your regular farmer program, using voice actors to represent the speakers.
You could follow the drama by interviewing a cassava or potato processor, a farmer who grows cassava or potatoes for the processing market, or an expert on the potato or cassava value chain. Invite listeners to call or text in with questions and comments. Topics for discussion might include:
• What are the best opportunities for growers to sell for the processing market?
• Under what conditions should a farmer process his or her own cassava or potatoes, and when should the farmer go to a processor?
• If a listener wants to start a small-scale processing business, what steps should be taken to research the market and determine whether there is an opportunity for profit?
Estimated running time: 20 minutes, with intro and outro music.
Note: This is the second in a series of four items on cassava and potato standards in East and Central Africa. The first, Cassava is wealth: New harmonized standards for processing cassava flour in East and Central Africa, was published in September, 2014 in Resource Pack #99. The third and fourth in the series will be published in future Resource Packs.
Millions of farmers in Eastern Africa grow cassava and potato, mostly for home consumption or to sell fresh in the market. By processing and adding value, farmers can make even more money. Both crops are rich sources of raw materials for industries, such as the starch used in pharmaceuticals and textile-making. But to process potatoes and cassava, farmers must grow crops that meet the processing standards.
The roots of both crops do not store well, especially cassava. They need special care during storage and processing, and effective drying to increase their shelf life.
As part of efforts to help farmers grow cassava and potatoes in the region, the East African community has developed harmonized standards for farmers to follow in order to tap into more lucrative markets such as cross-border markets and processing industries.
In today’s drama, we learn about these standards for harvesting, storing, processing, and packing cassava and potatoes from a man who has been running a processing centre for over 15 years … Welcome to Mr. Bana’s Mill.
Location: Exterior. Bana’s mill. Day
Goodness me. Do you want to finish us? Do you remember when the officers from the Bureau of Standards were here and they trained us and told us all we needed to do to ensure our flour was up to the East Africa Standards? They certified our flour so now I can sell up to Tanzania and Uganda as long as our flour has the mark of quality. So we need to maintain this quality, including the cleanliness of the premises.
Bana, Martha, Tony
Bana, Martha, Zebra
The project was funded by USAID through the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa, or ASARECA.
The project partners are the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture or IITA, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, the Rwanda Bureau of Standards, the Tanzania Bureau of Standards and the University of Nairobi.
For more information on harmonized standards for roots and tubers, please contact the Bureau of Standards in your country.
Contributed by: Tony Mushoborozi, content creator, Scrypta Pro Ltd., Uganda
Reviewed by: Catherine Njuguna, Regional Corporate Communications Officer for Eastern Africa, IITA (International Institute for Tropical Agriculture), Tanzania