Benefits of the Cassava:Adding Value to Africa (C:AVA) project are noticeable across all stages of the High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) value-chain; farmer groups in the Serere district of Eastern Uganda who grow and produce high quality cassava grits and HQCF are now receiving a stable income, and markets in Kampala are accessing better quality flour for their products.
The C:AVA project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was established to strengthen capacity and build trust along the HQCF value chain in order to improve the livelihoods of small-holder households, with specific focus on women and disadvantaged groups. The project facilitates networking and training along the chain to strengthen the ability of each link to function well and efficiently.
A value chain is a chain of activities from supplier to markets, and success can be measured with value-adding at each stage. In Serere the farmers who grow cassava are processing and selling their grits/HQCF through their own organisation EAPPA (Eastern Agro-Producers and Processors Association). EAPPA (formerly SOSPPA), whose origins lie in farmer field schools, is made of farmer/processor groups totaling over 400 people. EAPPA members are selling grits and HQCF to a range of different markets. For example every week they sell 5 tonnes of grits and transport them using public transport to a food processing company Family Diet in Kampala who mill it into HQCF and use the flour to make food products for Kampala markets. ‘Mobile money’ can provide a fast and efficient way of making payments.
Mr Ejonu Stephen from the Abuket cluster of EAPPA in the Serere district has built his own home with the income he has gained from HQCF and C:AVA.
From its inception, the C:AVA project has trained both agricultural service providers and farmers in cassava agronomy, how to make HQCF and how to market their products. Other important aspects have been improved access to appropriate and robust processing equipment, and organizational strengthening (training in record keeping and making transparent transactions within the value chain).
C:AVA has focused on strengthening the capacity of three farmer associations in Uganda EAPPA, PATA (Pallisa Agribusiness Training Association) and P'KWII (Popular Knowledge Women's initiative) which have a total membership of over 1,700 farmers.
There are several different value chains that have been established in Uganda and facilitated by C:AVA, since HQCF can be used in several different ways. For example HQCF is being made into biscuits, bread and other bakery products, blended flours (finger millet) and adhesive for paperboard.
Photo: Michael Kirya