Prior to Value Chain Development Programme intervention in Ebonyi State, sourcing improved, decease resistant, high yielding and early maturing cassava stems was a huge challenge in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the state in general. In an effort to address the challenge of improved cassava stem in the State and the need to engage the youths in business enterprises, 10 youths were trained in National Root Crop Research Institute Umudike, Abia State on cassava stem multiplication.
Cynthia Edeze before now was a cassava farmer, producing just for the family consumption and sometimes for sales to support her family. She was one of the farmers profiled and sensitized under Green Tech FMCS Izzi Local Government of Ebonyi State in 2016. She never thought of embarking on a large-scale farming or in cassava stem production till she met with the VCDP in Ebonyi State.
Cynthia, 29, was one of the youth farmers selected from the five LGAs of Ebonyi state and trained in NRCRI Umudike Umuihia Abia State in cassava stem production in May, 2017. After the training, she was supported with pro-vitamin A fortified cassava stem (TMS 98/1368) and fertilizer for production of cassava stem in one hectare of land. She went further to add one hectare on her own making it two hectares. Consequently, VCDP collaborated with the National Seed Council of Nigeria who came to her farm and certified it.
The first ratooning of the farm was done on June, 2018 in which 1500 bundles of cassava stems was sold at one thousand three hundred naira (N1300) only, through the buyback arrangement of VCDP. She realised the sum of one million nine hundred and fifty thousand naira (1,950,000) with a profit of one million three hundred and twenty-four thousand naira (1,324,000) after deducting the cost of production.
“I have acquired another land this year from the profit I made from my business, so I am now having three hectares that I am doing the stem multiplication. I have also employed two permanent workers that I pay monthly apart from other casual workers. VCDP has opened my eyes, I never knew I could make a fortune from selling cassava stems, I thank God for the training and all the support I have received from VCDP especially for introducing me to agro business.” Said Cynthia.