Uganda's annual production of about 5.5 million tonnes of cassava from about 500,000 hectares of land is the sixth largest in Africa. The districts of Lira, Apac, and Gulu to the north, Arua and Nebbi to the north-west, and Soroti, Kumi, Tororo, Pallisa, Iganga and Kamuli in the eastern regions are the leading producers.
The crop, grown by over 75% of all farm households in the country, is the second most important staple food after banana and is responsible for food security in most parts of the country.
Production of low quality cassava chips/flour is common. Prior to C:AVA there were few cassava processing machines (e.g. graters) available. Sun drying of grated and pressed cassava mash was a new procedure for cassava processing in the country. C:AVA identified a market opportunity for HQCF as a low-cost wheat flour replacement for biscuit manufacturers and use by a paperboard manufacturer to replace imported corn starch and there is an opportunity to sell HQCF directly to rural bakeries. Uganda has an estimated potential demand for HQCF of about 50t/annum.
C:AVA identified three major processing associations with a membership of 3,100 persons, each of which agreed to grow operations to at least three processing sites. The emerging processing clusters (9) have been supported by C:AVA-trained service providers to obtain the necessary machines and set up a management protocol for the production of HQCF. In response to market opportunities, these 9 processing clusters had increased available drying capacity from 360m2 to 3,600m2 by September 2010.
Given the relatively low total current demand for HQCF in Uganda, C:AVA intends to sustain operations at a slightly higher drying capacity (4,800 m2) to enable the three processing associations to achieve the growth to which they are committed. By helping to establish a viable sustainable value chain for the biscuit manufacturers, this approach can increase the number of beneficiaries with a relatively small investment. In addition to the following:
a. The country office carried out technical backstopping of 9 service providers to train processors in line with East Africa Standard (EAS) 39 code of practice for hygiene in the food and drink manufacturing industry.
b. Three processing sites Kadama, Abuket and Kachede were developed to meet EAS 39 code of practice for hygiene in the food and drink manufacturing industry. This involved building processing sheds with concrete floors that are easily cleaned. An additional 450 m2 area of termite-resistant sun drying sheds was built to complement the 1,830 m2 susceptible to termites. The drying area is planned to double in 2013.
c. 805.3t of HQCF was produced and sold by C:AVA beneficiaries to two agri-food industries and a new buyer, a paperboard manufacturer. This translates to a cash inflow of about UGX1.275 billion (approx. USD566,667). Four of the beneficiaries have constructed new houses for their families from the proceeds of HQCF sale.
d. Discussions with several organisations, namely Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MFPED), MAAIF, World Vision and the Oyam District Local Government, were held on how to scale out the HQCF value chain and link up the upcoming HQCF processors to markets.
C:AVA Vision of Success in Uganda
By April 2013, more than 2,000 farmers, processors and employees of the 3 Cassava Processing Associations will benefit directly by about $75/annum from selling 347t HQCF.