Manda, a participant in the Mercy Ships’ Food for Life program in Madagascar, has successfully created a cassava starch farm in his community.

At the end of the Food for Life training in 2015, Manda began sharing what he learned with people in his church. Other villages also heard about the Mercy Ships agricultural program and invited Manda to speak on farming and agriculture. So far, Manda has trained about 300 people on what he learned in the Food for Life program.

Some of the things he learned included improving the preparation of compost, breeding chickens, and food transformation. His church has benefited greatly from his training since they now have access to his knowledge.

Returning home, Manda initially wanted to set up a chicken farm. But, after doing a needs analysis, he realized that the farmers in the area produce a lot of cassava since the region is fertile for this product. However, the supply is much higher than the demand and the excess cassava is often wasted.

So, Manda decided to take the cassava and create an entirely new product—cassava starch—to add value to the product and avoid the waste of produce that came with excess cassava. The success of his project was furthered when a feasibility study showed that there is a big market to supply cassava flour in Madagascar.

Today, this small business is the first local supplier of cassava starch. Its product is very popular with customers since it is much fresher than the imported flour arriving by boat from South Africa.

Manda’s cassava starch factory is also the first and only factory in this region, and employs 15 people.

Despite the limitations of the environment (insufficient water source, and regular power outages), this young man is doing an impressive job that has an impact on many families and the region as a whole.

This example of entrepreneurship and transformed lives was only possible through the training provided by the Mercy Ships’ Food for Life program. There are lives continuing to be impacted through the services Mercy Ships provides long after the ships leaves.

Keep up the good work, Manda!