Cassava is the most widely cultivated crop in Ghana, with 90% of all rural households involved in its production. Its emergence as a cash crop is, however, quite recent and due mainly to growing urban demand for processed cassava products as well as its potential industrial use.
Through the C:AVA project 36 processors, 9 of which are medium-scale, have been mobilised in Ghana, so the potential processing capacity is in excess of 5,000t. 7,814 farmers and farmer-processors' capacity has been considerably strengthened by C:AVA in areas including:
1. Enhanced organisational skills,
2. Business management,
3. Agronomic skills,
4. Access to improved planting materials,
5. Access to market information and
6. Linkages to specific actors higher up the value chain.
20,000t of the higher yielding cassava varieties were available for harvest by September 2011 (yield 20t/hectare compared with national average of 12t/hectare), which increased the competitiveness of cassava. By 2010, 650t of HQCF was marketed. Firm orders amounted to 1,765t but the processors could not meet this, mostly due to insufficient working capital.
New technology introduced
Introduction of flash-drying technology from Nigeria, as a more cost effective means of drying, has reduced processing costs in Ghana significantly. The option of installing a flash dryer is now part of several business plans prepared for current C:AVA processors.
The current loan portfolio guarantee (LPG) will be extended to stimulate an increase in HQCF production from bin dryers. Current service provider contracts for project objective 1 (supporting farmers and village level processors) are being modified to focus on creating opportunities for farmers and farmer processors to benefit from the market provided by the newly introduced flash dryers, as well as meeting the demand from bin dryer enterprises.
The market size for HQCF is estimated at 12,450t per year based on current information i.e. plywood industry, 8,000t/annum; biscuit industry 1,000 t/annum; bakeries and schools 1,850 t/annum; other food markets (e.g. instant fufu) 1,600 t/annum.
Work at the market end of the value chain is necessary to maintain growth in identified markets and support adoption of HQCF by end use industries. To assure sustainable supply of fresh cassava roots at competitive prices the Country Team initiated six Business Focus Groups (BFGs) bringing together farmers and processors to foster long-term business relations and for discussion of supply and pricing issues. The Country Team intends to promote increased interaction by the Business Focus Groups (BFGs) as fresh roots from the new plantings become available for the market.
CAVA vision for Ghana
The vision of success in Ghana is that by April 2013, more than 18,122 farmers, processors and employees of 11 cassava processing enterprises will benefit directly by about $118/annum per beneficiary. The main risk to this approach is that working capital is not easily available to processing enterprises, and this is being addressed by the project.