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The Cassava Story...Kwale's Steps to Prosperity

Leveraging Cassava as a tool for food security and economic empowerment in Kwale

Photo of David Okello
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Celestial Solutions

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Kwale is one of the Coastal Counties in Kenya ,covering a total area of 8,270 Km2.It has four Sub counties

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I have lived in Kwale since 2006.Kwale is one of the most beautiful place in Kenya Barring its fame as a Tourist destination due to its pristien beaches (Diani beach) Kwale has wonderful climate and ecological zones that support different agricultural activities.

Having worked with different small holders in the course of my work in the last 14 years , i have come to realize the latent power that Kwale  holds especially in regards to agricultural inputs .

Unfortunately due to various factors , Kwale suffers from food insecurity,malnutrition  and unemployment  which in part i believe can be handled to a certain extent by a more focused,value chain approach utilisation of one its main resources-arable land.

I would like Kwale to be a pilot case and the results thereof be cascaded allover the coastal counties and upcountry .

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Kwale County is a county in the former Coast Province of Kenya. Its capital is Kwale, although Ukunda is the largest town.

Kwale county has an estimated population of 649,931

Kwale is mainly an inland county, but it has coastline south of Mombasa. Diani Beach is part of the Msambweni division. Shimba Hills National Reserve and Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary are other attractions in the county.

Main ethnic communities in the county include the Digo and Duruma clans of the larger Mijikenda tribe and also a significant presence of the Kamba tribe.

The Digos are the majority in Msambweni, Lunga Lunga and Matuga while the Durumas are the dominant in Kinango. Most Kambas are found in Kinango and Lunga Lunga.

Main Food consumed are Sima(made from Maize flour),Kales,Cassave, Sea foods and different herbs.

Its a haven of culinary delight as the inhabitants love using different flavours and spices 

The county has four constituencies:

Msambweni Constituency

Matuga Constituency

Kinango Constituency

Lunga Lunga Constituency

Kwale  boasts of one of the best beaches in Kenya -Diani 

Urbanization has had an effect of people no longer cultivating much of the traditional vegetables  and most people currently are also affected by a lack of opportunities for employment.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Challenges 2020

-Urbanization-Breakdown of the tight family structures,

-Destruction of Indigenous forests to get charcoal or land for farming

-People no longer cultivate much of the indigenous foods

-Lack of a governmental policy and structures to support the growth of indigenous foods 

-Over reliance on Maize as the man starch and Kenya has had cases of alfatoxin on maize 

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Cassava Solution

Cassava has traditionally been planted in  Kwale for domestic consumption.

Our Visiosn sees the large scale introduction of cassava planting across the county as a way to bring food security and economic empowerment ,


Each Small holder has about 5 acres of land.Celestial Solution envisions recruiting farmers across the county to plant cassava.If each farm dedicates an acre to casave farming of which a quarter of that is for home consumption while the 3/4 will be sold for industrial  purposes.The sold cassava will be dried and ground to form cassava starch for use in food industries.If 2,000 outgrowers can be brought in every year and maintained there will be food and income generation .Cassava also takes at least 8 months to harvest ,in between the farmers will intercrop the cassava with green grams to get additional nutritional benefits as they await to  harvest  the cassava

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Better housing,healthier families,no rural urban migration as economic opportinities will be in the villages.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The plan will be to do a feasibility study or baseline survey across the Kwale county and see the different cassava varieties being planted and get feedback on small holders on how the same has been of benefit to them and challenges thereof 

The Results of the study will be used not only to design the approach for the cassava value chain but it will also help the County government have current data on the cassava value chain.Which will help in current and future  policy making.

Once the status quo of the cassava sector is understood,Celestial solutions will begin community awareness on the cassava project and get to recruit the pioneer smallholders in the four subcounties. The Company also will invest in a demo farm to show the farmers the best practices in cassava farming.

The company plans to build a milling factory which will receive cassava from the farmers to be milled into cassava powder .

Each smallholder will be trained and assisted to plant 1 acre of the cassava.Of which 1/4 of the harvest is his for domestic consumption and 3/4 is for sale to the factory.

Since Cassava takes 8 months ,the farmers will be taught to intercrop the cassava with green grams in order to get fix nitrogen in the soil,encourage the farmers to weed the cassava

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website


Join the conversation:

Photo of Archiebold Manasseh

Nice project! Very resourceful

Photo of David Okello

Thanks for the feedback.Yes i believe the hardy cassava can do wonders in our local economy is we leverage it well

Photo of Archiebold Manasseh

Yeah! especially with these unpredictable weather