Anselimo O. Makokha
Kenya has been experiencing recurrent food shortages, which are partly due to over reliance on maize, wheat and rice as the main staple and industrial food crops. Though both the colonial and post-colonial government policies promoted the production of these and other recently introduced crops, they cannot grow well in most of the country, 80% of whose land mass lies in the marginal and semi-arid land zone On the other hand there is great potential of alleviating the food deficiency and increasing income among the rural poor in these marginal regions by expanding the production and utilization of cassava This crop, which is at present mainly produced, processed and utilized on a limited subsistence scale, can give better yields in these regions. It was an important traditional food in western, eastern and the coast regions of Kenya crop. Other than past government policies, lack of commercially processed and marketed cassava products have restricted cassava production and utilization. Recent national and regional research work indicates that appropriate machinery and equipment for processing cassava into flour and pellets can be fabricated. But more work still needs to be done in linking variety development to specific cassava products, and in product development, including market studies.