Winning over sceptics with cassava


News

When one farmer took up a new challenge with SNV’s support, he not only earned more income but helped change minds across his community.

“I didn’t know cassava is a good source of income,” said Pasquale Imoda, from Dorik Boma. The father of 12 is a smallholder farmer and also rears livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) with the support of his two wives. Under the IFAD-funded South Sudan Livelihoods Development Programme (SSLDP), SNV introduced cassava to the communities of Arihilo Payam in Eastern Equatoria State’s Lopa/Lafon county. At first, some perceived the idea negatively. When the cassava cuttings were first distributed in 2013, some of the interest group members decided not to plant them and were more interested in the empty sacks. “I was very upset when I saw people throwing away the cuttings,” said Imoda. “I decided to pick them up and plant them in my field; the others were looking at it like a waste of time.” Although SNV initially supported Imoda to plant only one feddan (about 0.42 hectares) of cassava, he was able to plant two and a half feddans with extra cuttings from what the other farmers were throwing away. His cassava is now mature and community members are actually coming to buy his cassava or exchange it for groundnuts. When asked what he has done with the money earned from cassava sales, he said, “I was able to send money to my kids who are studying in Kakuma camp in Kenya, and also was able to buy more goats.” Imoda is the first farmer supported by SSLDP in Arihilo Payam who has harvested and sold cassava. “I am happy to see that the community has now realized that I was not wasting time, but that this is a good source of income,” he concluded.