Cassava Growth Markets

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

Cassava (Manihot esculenta) – A woody shrub native to South America, cassava is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible, starchy root. The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm, homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind about 1mm thick, rough and brown on the outside. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish. The roots are rich in starch and contain significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C [Wikipedia].

Cassava brown streak disease Cassava brown streak virus disease (CBSD) is a damaging disease of cassava plants, and is especially troublesome in East Africa. It was first identified in 1936 in Tanzania, and has spread to other coastal areas of East Africa, from Kenya to Mozambique. Recently, it was found that two distinct viruses are responsible for the disease: cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) and Ugandan cassava brown streak virus (UCBSV). Both have (+)ss RNA genomes, belong to the genus Ipomovirus in the family Potyviridae, and produce generally similar symptoms in infected plants. Root rot renders the cassava root inedible, resulting in severe loss of economic value; therefore, current research focuses on achieving cultivars that do not develop the necrotic rot. This disease is considered to be one of the biggest threats to food security in coastal East Africa and around the eastern lakes.

Climate change

  • The IPCC defines climate change as "a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use".
  • Note that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods".

Gender Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women

High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) – Flour made from the root of cassava, within a day of harvesting avoiding any fermentation. It is very fine grained and white in colour. The NRI project C:AVA (see C:AVA in Glossary) promotes the use of HQCF to develop value chains.

Post-Harvest Losses – There is potential for loss throughout the root crop harvesting and marketing chains. Post-harvest losses occur between harvest and the moment of human consumption. They include on-farm losses, such as when the roots are peeled and dried as well as losses along the chain during transportation, storage and processing. [Wikipedia]

Small-Medium-Enterprise (SME) – companies and businesses whose headcount or turnover falls below certain limits. In most economies, smaller enterprises are much greater in number than large companies and SMEs are often said to be responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors [Wikipedia].

Value Chain – The value chain is a concept from business management and was first described by Michael Porter in 1985. A value chain is a chain of activities for a specific product in all stages of its development, to the markets. It has been employed in the development sector as a means of identifying poverty reduction strategies by upgrading along the value chain [Wikipedia].