Short Communications: Transforming rural livelihoods through cassava value addition, a case study of Cassava Adding Value for Africa Project (C:AVA)
With the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Cassava Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA) project is transforming the lives of cassava small holder farmers in the five countries of Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. The C:AVA project has encouraged good agronomic practices and provided farmers with higher yielding and disease tolerant cassava varieties. These have resulted in higher yields (ranging from about 16 percent in Ghana to over 100 percent in Uganda), which have contributed to an increase in the incomes of the small holder farmers and community processors through their participation in profitable and sustainable value-added cassava chains. Rather than rely solely on income from processing fresh roots into traditional products, community groups and large industries have shifted focus to adding value to the roots through processing into new chains being promoted by the Project. These new value chains include high quality cassava flour and grits for bakery, confectionery and brewery industries as well as chips and grits as feed mix into the livestock industry including poultry. Other chains being promoted include starch and ethanol. Mobilisation into new value chains ranged from just over 2 percent in Tanzania to a 100 percent in Malawi in the first year of project operations. By the third year, mobilisation into the new chains has significantly increased to about 70 percent and above in all countries; 69 percent in Nigeria and 100 percent in Uganda. Collectively, the five countries have mobilised close to a million tons of fresh cassava roots that have been processed into both traditional and new value chains. Over 70 percent of these volumes have gone into the new chains. These value chains have generated an income of over USD 57 million into these rural communities assisting to raise the living standards of the resource poor households and providing employment opportunities in the participating countries.
Keywords: smallholder farmer, transformation, value chains, cassava value addition