Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project started implementation with financial support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2009. The project is coordinated from the Chemistry Department at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. A number of significant achievements have been made since its inception including development of high quality cassava flour (HQCF) industry which was not existent before the project started.
Several processing plants for HQCF have been established involving community processing groups, individual SMEs and large scale processors targeting various market segments (industrial and rural) have started reaping benefits from the project. Lessons from the HQCF value chains have led to scaling out CAVA interventions to other cassava value chains such as starch, livestock feed and other industries.
The major beneficiaries of CAVA II interventions have been smallholder farmers who have increased incomes through sale of fresh roots to processing plants, processors, end users as well as all players who have participated in the value chains. The contribution of C:AVA work has attracted a number of partners from the public, private sectors, bilateral partners, non-governmental organizations and farmers community alike. The major benefits of C:AVA work to the country include increasing incomes of farmers and all players in the value chain through participation in profitable value cassava chains, contribute balance of payment through import substitution and creating employment opportunities at cassava enterprises.
CAVA work has been recognized by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism which is a key Ministry responsible for trade policies, promotion of private sector, industrial and SME development and cooperatives in Malawi.
The Ministry is mandated to implement and coordinate the National Export strategy whose main purpose is to serve as a critical component of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II. Its objective is to provide a road map on how Malawi’s productive base can be built in a manner that allows its level of exports to match the upward pressures on its imports which are necessary to allow for Malawi’s development objectives to be attained.
It aims to do this through the development of the private sector in a manner that is balanced with the economic empowerment of the rural and urban poor, youths and women.
CAVA Malawi was invited to present the project to high ranking officials of the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism at the Headquarters in Lilongwe on Wednesday 5th October 2016. The courtesy call was provided an opportunity for CAVA Malawi team to present, opportunities in the Cassava Value Chains in Malawi, progress made and identify areas where the two institutions could work together. The CAVA II team was received by the Principal Secretary (PS) Mr Cliff Chiunda. The CAVA Malawi manager Mr Vito Sandifolo, highlighted opportunities which the cassava value chains provide in various end use markets including millers, confectionery bakery, plywood, paperboard, fish feed and animal feed, brewery, sausages, textiles industries including ethanol and glucose production.
Figure 2: CAVA Malawi Manage (Mr Vito Sandifolo )r presenting the project to the officials at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
The PS was very keen on CAVA’s intervention especially on the market led approach for the cassava value chain. He indicated that government was determined to support businesses SMEs and cooperatives, especially in new value chains like cassava. He indicated that the Ministry had a dedicated Cooperative Department that was striving to organize small holder farmers into cooperatives, to become profitable and sustainable business enterprises. He commended CAVA for the work on cassava to bring out its economic potential and informed the CAVA team of special programs in the ministry which could contribute to cassava enterprises in Malawi.
Initiatives such as the; business Linkage Program, Millennium Challenge Fund, MIERA Program, and the Cassava Program in the Ministry of Agriculture could link up with CAVA work. The PS invited CAVA to become a member in the technical working groups of the ministry, participate, launch of the Malawi National Industrial policy, and send representatives to the 2016 National Investor Forum. .He encouraged CAVA project to be domesticated in the Ministry. CAVA project was recognized during the national investor forum organized by the ministry and a number of potential investors expressed interest to participate in the cassava investor forum.
CAVA Malawi also took the opportunity to inform the PS on its plans to conduct a Cassava Investor Forum to take place in Mzuzu in November 2016. The investor forum is aimed at attracting private sector partners to invest in cassava value chains such as appropriate processing technologies, production of fresh roots and end use industries. The Ministry committed to work with CAVA to make the investor forum a success fast track commercialization of the cassava industry.