Notes to broadcasters
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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 cassava. Standards are detailed guidelines for producing safe, high quality produce. They cover all aspects of production, processing, labelling 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. In addition, trade and marketing across national borders is possible, as is the case with the East and Central African harmonized standards for cassava flour.
This script is a four-episode drama which shows how small-scale cassava growers can grow and prepare raw cassava for processing in facilities that follow cassava processing standards. The script talks about standards for harvesting, for timing of processing, for cleanliness and hygiene, for labelling, and for production facilities.
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 air one episode per week for four weeks on your regular farmer program.
Choose a unique signature tune for the beginning and end of each episode so your audience will instantly recognize that an episode of the drama is about to begin. Create a promo for the drama and broadcast the promo frequently – during your regular farmer program and at other times when farmers are likely to be listening.
Follow episodes of the drama by interviewing a cassava processor, a farmer who grows cassava for the processing market, or an expert on the 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, 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?
BIRDS AND ANIMAL SOUNDS, MID-MORNING
WELCOME TO OUR DRAMA ON HARMONIZED STANDARDS FOR CASSAVA FLOUR IN EAST AND CENTRAL AFRICA. TODAY, WE MEET KUMDIDIMO AND MESOZI. KUMDIDIMO HAS BEEN GROWING CASSAVA AND SELLING IT RAW – WHICH IS WHY HE DOESN’T MAKE MUCH MONEY! AFTER LISTENING TO THE RADIO, KUMDIDIMO IS DETERMINED TO PROCESS HIS CASSAVA TO MAKE MORE INCOME. BUT DOES HE KNOW HOW TO TREAT HIS CASSAVA SO IT IS SUITABLE FOR PROCESSING? CAN HIS FRIEND MESOZI HELP HIM? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!
KUMDIDIMO WALKING THROUGH HIS FARM AND TOUCHING CASSAVA LEAVES, HUMMING A TRADITIONAL SONG
(APPROACHING) Kumdidimo … What’s wrong? You are singing your traditional song (LAUGHS)!
(LAUGHS. LOVING VOICE) How did you know that I was at my cassava farm? That is why I love you, Mesozi …
(GENTLY TEASING) It’s a puzzle … Figure it out for yourself…. (PAUSE) By the way, where is your wife, Achi?
(CHUCKLING) Please, Mesozi … Why are you asking about her? Ask me about cassava, and I will answer all your questions.
(LAUGHS) Ok, forget about that! (PAUSE) Kumdidimo, look at this cassava, the way it has cracked the land around the roots… Is that the Mkiroba variety?
(TENDERLY) Yes, that is Mkiroba, and when you see that, it’s ready to be harvested.
(HESITATING) Kumdidimo, Mkiroba is the variety which is being promoted because it yields well and matures within a short period of time.
For me, it is the best variety to eat, and it yields many roots.
So one Mkiroba plant has many roots?
Let me show you … (SOUND OF UPROOTING PLANTS AS HE TALKS).
(INTERRUPTING) Wait, Kumdidimo … don’t uproot that way.
(STOPS) Why? I just want to show you the roots – how many and how big they are.
(LAUGHS) That’s not the proper way to harvest. It seems you don’t really listen to the radio! Take your hoe and dig around the plant to loosen the soil.
What?! Stop joking, Mesozi!
(MESOZI TAKES THE HOE, SOUND OF DIGGING) Give me the hoe and watch! First of all, you need to dig around the plant to loosen the soil. Then you remove the soil covering the roots. That will help you uproot them easily, so your roots won’t break or bruise. You have to avoid bruising the roots during harvesting. If they get bruised or broken, they start rotting very quickly. Cassava should be processed the same day it’s harvested!!
(SHY AND NERVOUS) Oh, thank you so much, Mesozi. I didn’t know that … (PAUSE) I have something I want to ask you …
(STILL SHY AND NERVOUS) I want to start processing cassava to high quality cassava flour. I heard on the radio there is a very good market for cassava flour now. They are even using it in factories to make bread and biscuits. And the middlemen are buying raw cassava at a very low price. And you see how bad my maize is doing? So … how do I process my cassava?
(EXCITED) Great! I also heard these things. I was even told by bwana Shamba that there is a factory in the next village for making cassava flour. And farmers can take their cassava and process it into flour. We can go look at it tomorrow.
Oh, you are a godsend. Yes, please let us go tomorrow. I want to learn more.
Okay, good. See you tomorrow. (SOUND OF HER FOOTSTEPS LEAVING THE FIELD)
KUMDIDIMO AND MESOZI WILL VISIT THE FACTORY IN THE NEXT VILLAGE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PROCESSING CASSAVA FLOUR. WHAT DO THEY LEARN? DO THEY GET A MARKET FOR THEIR CASSAVA? STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE.
LOCATION: KUMDIDIMO’S HOME. MORNING
BACKGROUND NOISES – COCK CROWING, SOUND OF FARM ANIMALS
SOUND OF CASSAVA CHIPS AS KUMDIDIMO SPREADS THEM ON THE MAT, SINGING QUIETLY
(COMING ON-MIC, CALLING) Achi … Achi … Are you here?
(STOPS SINGING) Welcome, Mesozi. (TALKS WHILE LAUGHING) Look at you – why are you calling for Achi?
(LAUGHS, TEASING VOICE) I’m looking for my friend, your wife Achi, not you.
But what is the difference between me and Achi? From now on, if you find me here, you have got Achi, and if you find Achi, you have got me.
She went to visit her parents in their village. Whatever you need, I can help you.
(JOKING) That’s good. So I can take my time, and I’m free to say whatever I want to say!! And do whatever I want!
Kumdidimo, what are you doing, my dear?
These are cassava chips that have been drying on the roof of the house. I want to take them as samples to the factory for making flour.
No, Kumdidimo, I do not think these cassava chips will make good cassava flour. Look at the colour. They are nearly brown.
(A LITTLE IRRITATED) But this is how we make our cassava flour. Achi will come and pound this cassava into flour. And you know these black ones are especially very tasty.
Let me show you how cassava for high quality cassava flour should be prepared. Are these fresh cassava?
No, I uprooted them yesterday. But I uprooted those over there this morning. I will process them tomorrow.
(GENTLY) Oh, poor Kumdidimo, you have tried … bring a knife (SOUND OF CASSAVA BEING CHPPED). These roots are turning brown because they were uprooted yesterday and were not properly kept. You have not cut them up into little pieces. This will take many days to dry. Bring the fresh ones (SOUND OF WALKING).
Ok, and we have some clean water in the bucket here. First we wash our hands thoroughly. Then we peel the cassava well, and wash the roots thoroughly. Then we cut them into small pieces to allow them to dry quickly. (SOUND OF POURING WATER OVER THE CHIPS)
Smaller than this, I see.
(SOUND OF RINSING ROOTS, THEN REMOVING THEM FROM THE WATER) Yes. There are simple machines that we could use to chop the cassava. Now, we spread a mat on the ground and spread out the chips to dry. That way, we avoid soil and impurities like dead insects and animal droppings. Now we must wait until they are dried thoroughly.
Mesozi, are you saying that cassava must be processed the same day it’s uprooted?
Yes! Exactly, Kumdidimo. You must uproot and process the roots the same day. If you want high quality cassava flour.
(HESITATING) It sounds like too much work, Mesozi.
Kumdidimo, anything worthwhile demands hard work! You want a good profit from cassava and you don’t want to work hard?
(LAUGHS) Yes, I will have to process my cassava carefully.
FADE OUT AS THEY LAUGH, THEN FADE IN AFTER TWO SECONDS SILENCE.
They might be ready; it’s been six hours they’ve been drying …
(INTERRUPTS) Don’t touch them … Your hands must be clean when working with cassava!
(LAUGHS. SOUND OF WATER AS HANDS ARE BEING WASHED) Hygiene is the first priority, I see! (PAUSE) They are dry now, Mesozi!
Good. Now we must store them in a clean dry container. They can still get contaminated if you store them in a dirty container
REMOVING CASSAVA ROOTS FROM THE SUN AND PLACING THEM IN A BUCKET AND CLOSING IT WITH A LID
OK, let us take them to the processing centre. But one more thing, please … I want us to go together. Just you and me!
THEY LAUGH AS THEY LEAVE.
KUMDIDIMO HAS LEARNT HOW TO PREPARE CASSAVA FOR PROCESSING AND IS GOING TO THE PROCESSING CENTRE WITH MESOZI. WHAT CHALLENGES WILL THEY MEET AT THE CENTRE? AND WHY ARE THEY DOING EVERYTHING TOGETHER? WHAT IS GOING ON BETWEEN THEM? MAYBE THEY ARE IN LOVE! BUT WHAT ABOUT KUMDIDIMO’S WIFE? DON’T MISS THE NEXT EPISODE!
BACKGROUND NOISES – COCK CROWING, NOISE OF
MACHINES, PEOPLE TALKING. KUMDIDIMO CHEWS ROASTED CASSAVA WRAPPED IN AN OLD NEWSPAPER.
(EATING) Mesozi, what a place this is! So clean. Look at the
way that grass is trimmed … so beautiful.
(EMBARRASSED) Eat the cassava slowly, Kumdidimo.
(PAUSE) Yes, this is the way processing compounds are supposed to be.
(WONDERING) These buildings look very good … a nice roof
and windows …
All the processing buildings are designed to be easy to clean. Look at the doors and windows … See how they fit tightly so that no rodents or insects or dust can get into the processing area.
Mesozi, do I need a big compound and buildings like this if I
want to process my cassava?
You don’t need to have your own buildings right now. But I
want you to see the importance of hygiene, from personal hygiene right up to the cleanliness of the whole compound.
I understand, Mesozi, but what if I want to process my own
Right now, you have dried chips and you are coming to make
flour at the mill. But if you have lots of raw cassava, you can bring it here and they will make chips, and then make the chips into flour.
(EXCITED) They will do all that for me?
Exactly, but you will have to negotiate for a little payment.
(EXCITED) Ah! That’s ok. I really want to process all my
cassava and I’m ready to pay if it is not too much.
You have to pay them to process it so that you can get high
quality cassava flour. It is better they process for you rather than you trying to do it yourself. You might find yourself making bad quality flour and you will lose the market for your flour.
(JOKING) I would like to own a centre like this one. (PAUSE, TEASING) But what will happen if we see your wife here? (THEY LAUGH AS THEY APPROACH THE BUILDING)
KUMDIDIMO AND MESOZI ARE AT THE PROCESSING
CENTRE. KUMDIDIMO IS VERY IMPRESSED BY THE CLEANLINESS AND HYGIENE OF THE CENTRE AND VERY EAGER TO START PROCESSING TOMORROW … DON’T MISS THE NEXT AND LAST EPISODE!
DURATION 7-8 MINUTES
RURAL SETTING AND SOUNDS, SOUND OF MILL IN BACKGROUND
IN OUR LAST EPISODE, KUMDIDIMO WAS VERY EAGER TO LEARN HOW TO PROCESS A LARGE QUANTITY OF CASSAVA.TODAY HE AND MESOZI ARE STILL AT THE PROCESSING CENTRE. STAY TUNED!
(COMING ON-MIC, WHISPERING) Mesozi, all these people – the workers, they are all in uniform. Their heads are covered and they have gloves.
I told you that hygiene is the key to everything in flour processing. We need to find a worker so that we can get more information – wait!
SOUND OF SOMEONE APPROACHING AND REMOVING GLOVES
Welcome, please feel at home. My name is Hekima. Can I help you?
(SHYLY) Yes. We are from the next village. We have brought a few cassava chips for you to see. If they are good, we are bringing them to sell.
Yes, but we would like to know some things. If someone has a large quantity of cassava, how would you help them … ?
(INTERRUPTS) Yes, especially me. I have a big farm with cassava, and I heard on the radio that I will make more money only if I process my cassava rather than selling raw cassava roots.
Very good … I’m happy to hear from you guys. May I see the chips, please? (SOUND OF OPENING THE LID OF THE BUCKET) Wow! You have dried them … You did this at home?
Oh, these are very dry. You cut them up manually. That must have been so tiring.
Yes. It was a lot of work.
Okay. I will take you around the processing centre and you will see some machines we have that can help.
This is what we call the receiving area. We receive all the fresh cassava roots here from our farm and from neighboring farmers. We wash them to remove the mud, and then we peel and wash them thoroughly.
As you can see, we are very strict with the cassava we receive. It must be fresh and whole with no diseases or cuts.
Yes. Just as I was telling Kumdidimo.
We keep the area clean. We throw away the peels and drain out the water.
This is the processing area. From here onwards, we must wear uniforms and gloves and cover our heads.
Oh, this is fun (GIGGLING)
SOUND OF KUMDIDIMO AND MESOZI PUTTING ON GLOVES, UNIFORMS AND HEAD COVERINGS
This machine here is a grater. It grates the cassava into a fine mush. And this is a pressing machine to extract water from the mush.
Oh, the cassava looks like baby food now. This place is very clean. The excess water is being drained away.
Yes. We keep it clean and we wash the machines before and after every use.
This is how we dry the grated cassava − on raised platforms away from the ground. We keep away the dust and contamination from animals.
So you spread the cassava on black polythene bags?
Yes. They retain heat so the cassava dries fast. It takes only four hours. These ones are dry already. (PAUSE) Now we will go to the milling area. As you can see, this is a dry area, and separate from the wet area. Here, we observe maximum hygiene. People with communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid and cholera, and workers with open sores, infected wounds or serious illnesses like vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are not allowed here.
What do you do about packaging?
We pack in appropriate food packaging material. We weigh correctly and you can see all the information on our label: our company name, the content, the weight, the expiry date and the country. With these labels, we can export flour to other countries in East and Central Africa because the cassava meets the requirements of the East and Central Africa standards for cassava flour. You see this mark?
This is the certification mark of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards. Bureaus in other countries do the same for their processors.
What is that room ahead of us?
That is our storage area. As you can see, it is dry, clean, and we keep rodents out.
Is it true you are selling flour to a biscuit factory?
Yes. Now … look outside – do you see that water tap? There must be water for washing hands and lots of cleaning equipment. And of course toilets should be available. The toilet must face away from the processing centre; my workers wash their hands before entering the building.
This is all very impressive.
Thank you. Now where are your cassava chips? (PAUSE) These are good. You were lucky the sun was so hot today. Ideally, it’s better if you get a chipping machine or grater. Then the chips will be small enough and dry very fast.
What if I have my own cassava? Can I come to process it here?
Yes, we will charge you some money for processing services. To use our machines. (JOKES) Kumdidimo, I think your wife is convinced and ready for processing. You will have to make an agreement with her!
44. KUMDIDIMO & MESOZI:
(THEY BURST INTO LAUGHTER) … We are not a couple, just friends!
(LAUGHING) You might be able to fool some people, but I am a good judge of people. I can tell that you are man and wife just by looking at you. Look at the love in your eyes …
(AFTER A PAUSE, QUIETLY) Ok, you are right. But you must promise not to tell … our marriage is still secret.
KUMDIDIMO AND MESOZI HAVE BEEN CHALLENGED AND INSPIRED BY VISITING THE PROCESSING FACTORY. KUMDIDIMO WOULD LIKE TO BRING HIS CASSAVA TO BE PROCESSED HERE.WE THINK THAT KUMDIDIMO’S WIFE WILL AGREE! THEY WILL PROCESS THEIR CASSAVA AND MAKE A BETTER INCOME. I HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED THIS DRAMA.
END OF DRAMA
This program has been produced by the Enhancing adoption of Harmonized Standards for Roots and Tubers in East and Central Africa project whose goal is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through commercialization and increased regional trade of roots and tubers in East and Central Africa.
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: Esther Mwangabula, Media and Broadcasting Liaisons Office, Farm Radio International, Arusha, Tanzania.
Reviewed by: Dr. Abass Adebayo, value addition specialist, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and Dr. Gabriel Ndunguru, consultant to IITA.
Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)
This script was written with the support of the Tanzanian office of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture