Cassava Growth Markets

Improving the livelihoods of smallholder cassava farmers through better access to growth markets

The action necessary for this project is divided into 'work packages' which are the building blocks of the project structure. They give a breakdown of the different areas and define the steps necessary for their completion. Each work package aims to achieve one or more of the project objectives. The 'CassavaGMarkets' project is divided into 8 work packages as follows.

WP1 - Assessing the impact of climate change on cassava flour value chains

WP1 - Assessing the impact of climate change on cassava flour value chains

Work package 1: Assessing the impact of climate change on cassava flour value chains
Work package objective: To assess the impact of climate change on cassava flour value chains

Climate change will impact on countries growing and processing cassava. Although the CGIAR centre have done some excellent modelling work to look at the impact of climate change on cassava production (showing that, for example 63.3 million hectares of new land would become suitable for cassava globally), there is still a research gap on the impacts of climate change on post-harvest and marketing systems.

This project brings together some world leading post-harvest cassava scientists to examine existing predictions of the impacts of climatic factors and cassava production. With their knowledge of post-harvest technologies they will examine the impact on post-harvest systems. This understanding will then inform the technical research activities (WP 2,3,4 and 5) as well as the systems research activities (WP 6 and 7).

Participants: NRI, CTCRI, FUNAAB, FRI, AFRII, NARI, UNIMA and TFNC

WP2 - Understanding the impact of cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) in producing HQCF

WP2 - Understanding the impact of cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) in producing HQCF

Workpackage 2: Understanding the impact of cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) in producing HQCF

Work package objectives:
1. To study the extent of damage and yield losses caused by CBSD on susceptible and tolerant varieties
2. To identify more virus-resistant/tolerant cassava varieties /landraces
3. To better understand the effects of improved agronomic practices to minimize CBSD damage.

Cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) (caused by an Ipomovirus of the family Potyviridae) has been a major cause of crop loss in lowland areas of eastern and southern Africa for at least the last 70 years, impeding sustainable improvement to the livelihoods of people depending on smallholder agriculture. CBSD causes dry necrotic rotting of tubers which makes them unfit for producing HQCF thus severely limiting the potential of cassava to reach growth markets.

In the past few years CBSD has become substantially more virulent and begun spreading across the continent. It is one of the major concerns for the development of cassava value chains in East and Southern Africa. However, it has now invaded Uganda, moved around the shores of Lake Victoria and into the DR Congo, Malawi and Mozambique, from where it seems poised to move across sub-Saharan Africa. Controlling the virus is a serious challenge to farmers and scientists alike because of the lack of natural resistance.

As part of this project we will endeavour to identify more virus-resistant/tolerant cassava varieties, and we will better understand the mechanisms of disease resistance using state-of-the-art molecular technologies. We will research the effect of using tolerant varieties and improved agronomical practices to minimize/eliminate CBSD damage thus contribute to the development of cassava flour value chains and wider food security in Africa. This research complements work carried out by other research programmes working on CBSD, such as the Gates funded Great Lakes Cassava Initiative (GLCI) and other initiatives supported by the Gates foundation.

Participants: NRI, NARI

WP3 - Developing specific technologies to improve the efficiency of household/village and SME level processing

WP3 - Developing specific technologies to improve the efficiency of household/village and SME level processing

Work package 3: Developing specific technologies to improve the efficiency of household/village and SME level processing

Work package objectives:
1. Develop, optimise and validate eco-friendly cassava processing technologies for use at village level in East and Southern Africa
2. Optimise, in collaboration with private sector companies, current bin and flash driers in Ghana and Nigeria to reduce the carbon footprint and improve cost-effectiveness while still maintaining quality.
3. Support the adoption of current west African best bet technologies in East and southern Africa
4. Develop, adapt and validate innovative, more eco-friendly processing options for use by small-medium scale enterprises.

The C:AVA project has highlighted cassava drying and maintaining consistent quality as major constraints to the development of cassava value chains. Dependent of the particular situation, drying could either take place at the village level or at the intermediary processing level.

Household and village level processing currently depends on sun-drying, but this is susceptible to the weather and production contamination. Solar drying is a possible alternative, but it needs optimisation to work at a sufficient scale to make it financially viable. Artificial drying is currently carried out in Ghana and Nigeria using bin and flash dryers, and small and medium scale operators using these technologies are important in terms of linking small-holder farmers to identified end-use markets. Recent assessment of these technologies shows great scope for improved efficiency. In addition there is a need to develop economically viable, novel drying technologies that are capable of producing a high quality of product.

Technologies will be developed or adapted with existing private sector partners of the C:AVA project. Specific concerns will include the adoption of energy efficient and eco-friendly drying technologies. The project will specifically draw on experiences from India as sources of innovation. Work in India (through Associate CTCRI) will also contribute to the development of cassava drying systems in these regions.

Participants: FUNAAB, FRI, TFNC, NRI, CTCRI (Associate), AFRII, UNIMA, NARI and Manufacturers and users of processing equipment (Associates 4, 5 and 6)

WP4 - Ensuring the safety and quality of processed cassava products in market orientated production

WP4 - Ensuring the safety and quality of processed cassava products in market orientated production

Work Package 4: Ensuring the safety and quality of processed cassava products in market orientated production

Work package objectives:
1. Establish the implications of variations to flour processing on the cyanogens potential of the end product
2. Establish methods for measuring the quality characteristics of HQCF and related products under field conditions
3. Evaluate approaches to ensuring the quality of HQCF and related products at different stages in the value chain to ensure that end users have confidence in the product and farmer/processors are able to maximise their profits.
4. To disseminate findings to enable value chain actors to adopt improved quality management practices.

End users and consumers of HQCF need a product that is safe and has reliable high quality. Cassava contains cyanogenic glucosides that can breakdown to form cyanogenic compounds (including HCN) that are toxic. Effective processing is known to produce safe products and there is a great deal of knowledge that already exists about the mechanisms of cyanogenic breakdown during processing.

The main remaining challenge with HQCF processing is to optimise processing to ensure that safe products are always produced. This is specifically a concern where high cyanogen bitter varieties are used for processing. These bitter varieties tend to have higher yields and so are preferred by farmers. Another important challenge is to develop and validate these in the cassava value chain both for methods for quality assessment that can be used under field conditions and approaches to quality management to ensure that consistently safe products are produced.

Participants: UNIMA, NRI, TFNC, FRI, SABMiller (Associate)

WP5 - Expanding the range of uses of cassava flour to meet identified market demands

WP5 - Expanding the range of uses of cassava flour to meet identified market demands

Work Package 5: Expanding the range of uses of cassava flour to meet identified market demands

Work package objectives:
1. Understand the functional properties of HQCF in comparison with potential substitutes to understand potential new markets.
2. Evaluate the use of HQCF and related products in a number of different end-uses including where it can be substituted for imported starches, in novel applications such as bioplastics, beverages and food products including snack foods, infant foods and composite products.
3. Assess the potential market sizes and requirements for a range of new uses of HQCF, in the context of the established markets.
4. Test innovations with relevant industries.

Cassava flour such as HQCF is a versatile raw material and previous research has demonstrated its use as a replacement for wheat flours in bread, confectionary products, some improved versions of traditional food products, and as an extender in the glues for the plywood and paperboard industries. These applications are the current basis for the C:AVA project.

The challenge is to understand the extent to which HQCF can be used for other food and commercial applications and so expand the market for the product – this could have wide application in India and Africa. Potential new applications could include: as a replacement for starch in some applications, for the manufacture of beverages, expanded use in food processing and also within certain industrial processes. The project will specifically draw on experiences in India as sources of innovation and on basic knowledge of the functional properties of HQCF and cassava starch.

Participants: FRI (leader), TFNC, AFRII, FUNAAB, UNIMA, NRI, CTCRI (Associate).

WP6 - Maximising the gender and livelihood impacts of cassava value chain development

WP6 - Maximising the gender and livelihood impacts of cassava value chain development

Work Package 6: Maximising the gender and livelihood impacts of cassava value chain development

Work package objective: This research attempts to contribute to filling the gap in knowledge on the impacts of staple crop value chain development on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. To understand the nature and dynamics of these impacts the research has 5 specific project objectives.

Developing the value chain for HQCF is designed to benefit smallholder farmers. Learning from the experiences of C:AVA and working with large numbers of smallholder farmers, this work package will provide deep insights into possible shifts in power relations and access to resources as market led innovations enter the value chain.

Current knowledge indicates that as value chains become more developed the influence of man becomes greater and thus new opportunities may be lost, particularly through the inability to maximise intellectual input and networks. This work examines how best to intervene/design activities to ensure that imbalances in social relationships are not inadvertently introduced into already equitable systems.

Participants: NRI, AFRII, FUNAAB and UNIMA

WP7 - Establishing best practices and disseminating project outcomes

WP7 - Establishing best practices and disseminating project outcomes

Work Package 7: Establishing best practices and disseminating project outcomes

Work package objectives:
1. Developing and consolidating an international "Community of Practice" in linking small farmers to growth markets in association with ISTRC
2. Increasing the capacity in participating countries to adopt best practice guidelines in the development of value chains for tropical root and tuber crops
3. Define and promote best practice for value chain development to better capitalise and disseminate.

Best practices in value chain development that benefit small-holder farmers/processors and supporting development of small and medium scale enterprises, will be documented, shared and revised within a Community of Practice and other means. The Community of Practice was developed under the ACP Science and Technology Project on Root and Tuber Crops. The best practices will be drawn on global experiences in cassava value chain development, specifically from the C:AVA project and the Indian cassava sector.

This will in a practical way extend the Community of Practice to include India (and Thailand and Vietnam through GRATITUDE). Best practice manuals will guide the future development of cassava value chains globally.

Participants: NRI, FUNAAB, FRI, AFRII, UNIMA, TFNC, NARI, CTCRI (Associate), ISTRC (Associate).

WP8 - Project coordination, monitoring and evaluation

WP8 - Project coordination, monitoring and evaluation

Work Package 8: Project coordination, monitoring and evaluation

Work package objectives:
1. To ensure that the project activities are properly and efficiently coordinated
2. Eliminate unnecessary duplication of efforts and ensure value for money in the delivery of project outputs.
3. Inform project decision making process and facilitate reporting on project activities to EC

This work package provides the coordination and monitoring and evaluation for the Action.

Participants: NRI (leader), FUNAAB, FRI, AFRII, TFNC, UNIMA, NARI, CTCRI (Associate).