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 fourth 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 second was published in Resource Pack #103 in March 2016, and the third was published in Pack 104 in September 2016.
(PAUSE, THEN STRONGER VOICE) Ok, let Mbarute do what he wants with his cassava field. I will tell him that he made a mistake after he fails. I, Semana, will harvest my own cassava! It’s been three years now; three years and a few months, yes! They’re ripe for sure! They’re ripe for a rich peasant! (VERY STRONG VOICE) I am rich in this community, and that’s why I must harvest my ripe cassava!
After we finish, let us sort out all the cassava, the big, the small and those that are injured. Those that are injured, we will take them home to my mother and she can process them into flour.
(ANNOUNCING SO EVERYONE CAN HEAR) Only this young man sorted his cassava. The rest of you, spread the tubers on the ground and sort them out. All the cassava injured during harvest must be sorted out from the others. And all those that are diseased. So take a seat and spread your cassava here to sort it! Bruised or broken cassava is not accepted here!
Now, we need to pack all the cassava in these good sacks. Look at the writing on the outside of the sack. They give the location where they were grown and the country of origin. These can go even across the border.
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: Jean-Paul Ntezimana, Radio Salus, Rwanda.
Reviewed by: Catherine Njuguna, Regional Corporate Communications Officer for Eastern Africa, IITA (International Institute for Tropical Agriculture), Tanzania
This script was written with the support of the Tanzanian office of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture.