CAVA II works across the value-added cassava chain, specifically focusing on a number of bottlenecks that have slowed growth and progress from previous projects: This project works directly with farmers to improve profitability of cassava sales, both through the pull of market demand and through increasing farmer yields with improved stems (working with commercial cassava seeds system grants supported by the Foundation).
CAVA II adapted a combination of drying technologies that best fit the smallholder and end-use models. In East Africa, where artificial drying is new, there is a push to multiply effects of sun drying while introducing artificial drying technologies; whereas in West Africa artificial drying is been promoted by improving efficiency and decreasing cost of production.
CAVA II also expands the uptake of HQCF and other cassava products to new cassava growing and consumption areas in each country. The project also work with 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 (including aquaculture) feed sector. These will also include consumer awareness and promotion for cassava based products.
This project is targeted at smallholder farmers first and foremost, it also create new employment opportunities and improve balance of payments by reducing imports (e.g. of wheat). Finally, this project is designed specifically to benefit women, youth and the socially disadvantaged groups.
The project, led by an African national institution (FUNAAB), is implemented by a team that has gained significant joint experience and expertise in HQCF value chain development since 2008. Country teams take increased responsibility for nationally differentiated strategies with tailored team compositions for effective strategy implementation and appropriateness to the stage of value chain development in each country Capacity.
Cassava is strategically important as a food source and famine reserve, combining high calorific efficiency with versatile low cost/input, reliable and flexible production, but is now seen as a means of improving incomes of the rural poor; especially smallholder farmers (SHFs). CAVA II builds on the first phase of the project, which successfully developed value chains for HQCF in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi and provided carefully considered, apolitical advice to governments, aid agencies and agribusinesses. Despite an unexpectedly slow start, CAVA has met its original target of benefitting 90,000 SHFs and with six months to project completion, CAVA is projected to earn smallholders over $33.3 million over the life of the project.
CAVA has achieved this by providing objective research, making strategic technological improvements; linking suppliers with markets; and encouraging efficient, sustainable investments from processors, end users and governments. Another significant result is the emergence of fabricators of more efficient processing equipment such as presses, graters and dryers. There are also a growing number of rural-based bakeries partially substituting wheat flour with HQCF.
CAVA II also expands to alternative value chains while being more precise about educating smallholder farmers and finding the right technologies. As CAVA II removes bottlenecks in the value-added cassava value chain, we believe that this will lead to even more growth beyond the period of the project.
CAVA II is also a trainer-of-the-trainers project. In Nigeria we have IITA as a partner and other two middle-level partners which are Federal College of Agriculture, Akure and the Oyo State College of Agriculture in Igboora. IITA comes in and train the two organizations with the ADPs in the surrounding areas; the ADPs then go out and train their farmers.