In Rwanda, while cassava can be planted from seed, it is common practice for farmers to replant cuttings from mature plants. These cassava cuttings are sometimes infected by disease that is difficult to diagnose with the naked eye and substantially reduce cassava yields and, subsequently, farmers’ profits.
In partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), researchers are conducting a pilot to establish a quality certification system, focusing on cassava-producing cooperatives in Rwanda to promote investment in high-quality inputs.
Prior to the season, participating cooperatives will receive training on farming practices and high-quality cassava seeds to distribute for planting. During harvest, these cooperatives will receive certification that their cassava harvest is free from disease upon completion of multiple on-site inspections. Villages near participating cooperatives will receive information about why it is advantageous to buy certified cassava and where to find it. Researchers will measure the impact of a quality certification market on cassava planting, crop disease, the sourcing decisions of local farmers, as well as the profits and yields of cooperatives.
This pilot is ongoing and findings are forthcoming.
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