Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Stakeholders Collaborate on Cassava Value Chain Development

 Delegates who attended the CassavaGmarkets 3rd Annual Project Review 
CassavaGmarket, a project led by the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich, working closely with six international partners, including the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project (CAVA II); wrapped up their third annual review meeting recently in Blantyre, Malawi, with a renewed commitment to share knowledge and technologies for the development of cassava value chains in target countries.
The annual review meeting which was hosted by the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project, Malawi, provided an opportunity for players from different countries to share results of research work conducted in the past year, and also assess the overall implementation plan.

The meeting attracted a number of participants including the Project Leader of CassavaGmarkets, Prof Keith Tomlins; Ms. Maria Chiara Femiano, a representative from the European Union; the Project Director of CAVA II Project, Prof Kolawole Adebayo; and other experts from United Kingdom, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, India and Malawi.  
In his opening remarks, the Principal of Chancellor College (University of Malawi), Associate Professor Richard Tambulasi, highlighted the relevance of sharing progress reports. He added that such collaborations contribute to the development of cassava value chain.
He noted, “The objectives of the CassavaGmarket project is in line with the University of Malawi’s mission of advancing knowledge, and to promote wisdom and understanding by engaging in teaching, research, consultancy, and public and community engagement and by making provision for dissemination, promotion and preservation of learning responsive to the needs of Malawi and global trends.” The principal however added that ‘‘Research is of paramount importance for successful commercialisation of any crop.’’
The review meeting provided an opportunity to share results, knowledge and technologies to allow the development of value chain linking smallholder farmers to growing markets for high quality cassava flour (HQCF) and related products in the context of climate change and variability.
Seven work packages (WP) of the project were reviewed. The work packages include:  assessing the impact of climate change on cassava flour value chain; understanding the impact of cassava brown streak disease in producing HQCF and related products; developing specific technologies to improve the efficiency of household level processing; ensuring the safety and quality of processed cassava products in market orientated production; expanding the range of uses of HQCF and related products to meet identified market demands; maximising gender and livelihood impacts of value chain development; and establishing documentation and dissemination of best practices in cassava value chain development.
The overall results of these work packages focus on improvements to HQCF and related product value chains enabling smallholder farmers to benefit from improved market for their produce.
The Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA II) Project, validates the research outputs in the value chains. The Project works with different partners to explore and develop new market opportunities for fresh cassava roots by building and linking smallholder farmers to large markets in starch, ethanol, plywood, paperboard, milling and the livestock feed sector.

To round off the meeting, delegates were taken for a field trip to appreciate developments undertaken in Malawi as a result of complementary work between CassavaGmarkets and CAVA projects. The visit included flash dryer processing location at Njuli, and two end use markets utilising HQCF at NAMPAK and  Carlsberg Brewery.

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