Tuesday, 20 October 2015

New Lifeline for Cassava Farmers in Opeji Communities

…as CAVA II Livestock Team Wades in
A cassava processor at Opeji ward. 

Cassava is a staple food in Africa; the root crop not only serve as food to many households, it is also a source of livelihood to smallholder farmers.  
In Opeji, one of the communities in Odeda local government areas of Ogun State, cassava is a major source of income for the rural dwellers. Every household in the community has a cassava farm; they produce, process and sell cassava. The women traditionally process cassava into different food products such as gari, lafun and fufu; and industrial products such as cassava grits and chips for livestock and aquaculture.
The community has the capacity to process about 12 tons of cassava grits per month. However, market-based development, remains a pipe-dream for the smallholder farmers in the community; despite the fact that they produce well processed products at very competitive prices. It was against this backdrop that the livestock team from the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project (CAVA II), embarked on a one day trip to the village to identify the market opportunities existing in the village, with a view to link the farmers to new markets for their produce.
CAVA II livestock team at Opeji ward.
In recognition of the need to develop a long-term business relationship between the cassava grower in the communities and cassava aggregators, the Livestock Specialist for the CAVA II Project, Dr Kazeem Bello, led the Managing Director of Triple Crown Nigeria Atlantic Ltd, Mr Salaam Olaide to three communities in Opeji: Igbo Olori, Abule Affa and Oniyanrin.
Triple Crown Atlantic Nigeria Ltd, is one of the major cassava grit suppliers in the South-West region of Nigeria. The company which has been in business for over 35 years, buys cassava grits and chips from farmers in the northern parts of Nigeria and supplies to feed millers in the western part of the country.
Due to increased awareness on the use of cassava in livestock feed, the demand for the produce increased. In a bid to meet up with the growing demand for the produce, Triple Crown Atlantic Nigeria Ltd, started searching for cassava farmers who can steadily supply well processed grits and chips. With the support of CAVA II Project, the company, was able to identify Opeji community, where cassava is produced in abundance. The company, hopes to uptake about 20 tons of cassava grits per week from Opeji communities, if available.
If done responsibly and sustainably, the market linkage initiated by CAVA II Project, can empower the smallholder farmers in Opeji communities and provide them and their families with more secure livelihoods and increase their incomes.

CAVA II Project, led by the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, seeks to increase the incomes of at least 200,000 value chain actors, especially smallholder farmers and processors in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi, by at least USD177 million, over the life of the project. This will be achieved through stimulating sales of more than two million tons of cassava into HQCF and other cassava product value chains.

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