Cassava Farmers of the aggregation centre had issues related to long distance covered when transporting fresh cassava roots to the aggregation centre thus spending more money on transport as compared to the initial gross margin of Ksh 250 per trip. Farmers spend more than Ksh 1, 300 per trip. This is because, farmers were forced to take the centre from Sosoni where the cassava farmer groups are situated and moved the centre to Gongoni Trading Centre as the community had no piped water at Sosoni. It was a condition that an aggregation centre should be placed at a place where there is piped water that is not contaminated. The farmers’ wanted to treat water that they use daily with chlorine before using it for washing peeled cassava to eliminate contamination but the lead partner staff based in Kilifi County insisted that an aggregation centre will operate where piped water is available.
The other issue is that the centre committee members are forced to process fresh cassava roots from farmers who volunteered to harvest their fresh cassava roots without payment until Tru Trade buys the dried cassava as the committee do not have initial working capital to buy fresh cassava roots from farmers’ despite being connected to Imarika Sacco in the month of July 2020 by Self Help Africa. So far the linkage between the committee members and Imarika Sacco have not be successful.
The committee members were informed to keep proper records on the fresh cassava roots they receive from farmers and the dried cassava to ensure every farmer is paid per the kgs produced as dried cassava. The same information will be used to ascertain the amount of fresh cassava sold by farmers in each cassava farmer group.
Farmers requested to be processing fresh cassava roots from Sosoni area to reduce or eliminate the transport costs then transfer the processed cassava to the aggregation centre for storage as a short term measure, but the farmers wanted to transfer the aggregation centre back to Sosoni area where the cassava farmer groups are situated. In this regards, the farmers complained of the house rent for Gongoni trading centre as being expensive. The situation has forced the committee to have two months’ rental arrears for the house they rented at Gongoni.