Seventh Strategic Meeting of GCP21

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Organizing Committee
Points of interest
List of Participants


Dr. Claude M. Fauquet
Director GCP21
CIAT, Apdo. Aereo 6713
Cali, Colombia
Cell: +1-314-477-3973
Dr. Alred Dixon
Director CWCMP
IITA, Oyo Rd, Ibadan,
Tel: +234-808-547-3738 Ext. 2956


IITA Dr. Ken Dashiell
Dr. Alfred Dixon
Dr. Peter Kulakow
Dr. Peter Kolawole
GCP21 Dr. Claude M. Fauquet

BACKGROUND:  The purpose of this workshop, is not a scientific exchange of information, but rather identify together, the key elements for a successful modernization of cassava production in Africa with the aim to multiply by three the production.

Of special interest is the development of the TAAT program (Technologies for the African Agricultural Transformation) by the AfDB to begin in 2017. Mechanization and high productivity are key for reaching a level of production which will allow feeding a booming African population and an harmonious development of cassava processing chains for food and for the industry in Africa.

Mechanization of cassava production will succeed in boosting cassava production in Africa if two sets of elements are met. The first category is an ensemble of technologies related to cassava production such as the use of improved varieties, the adoption of best agronomic practices, and an efficient weed control. The second set of indispensable elements is the organization of farmers in cooperatives to ensure a good management of the production, an easy access to affordable loans, and securing markets for the excess production of cassava roots to keep the price of cassava roots at an acceptable but competitive level.

This workshop is following a Mechanization workshop organized by AATF which reviewed all the technical and equipment constraints (Abeokuta, October 25-26). The aim of this second workshop is to review all the key elements listed above and to discuss how to integrate them in a very efficient system to ensure success of the Modernization of Cassava Production in Africa.

(1) Identify key elements for successful modernization of cassava production in Africa
(2) Sensitize policy makers, developers, bankers and scientists to the need for an integrated system cassava production in Africa, through a pro-active communication plan

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss all the key elements that may allow a modernization and great enhancement of the cassava production in Africa. There is no single magic bullet to do this transformation. In other parts of the world, such transformation took decades, but in Africa with the exploding population to be fed by 2050 to avoid major unrests, it is imperative that we plan the development of all these key elements to work simultaneously to effectively aim at success. Therefore, we will review the different steps during this workshop.

The crop production “package”

Improved Varieties
The genetic make-up of the varieties grown by farmers is a key factor and we have to recognize and acknowledge, despite some progress made, that much more could be achieved in the coming years. This will go through a recognition of the need to consider consumer and processor constraints. In the last 50 years we have focused a lot on disease resistance and yield, and not much on the processing qualities. Cassava being the first food crop on the continent, nourishing a large fraction of the population, we can no longer ignore the biochemical and physical qualities required to produce good and acceptable food. New breeding tools should allow the breeders to be able to consider at once a large number of traits and markers, while maintaining disease resistance and high yield.

Seed systems

A performing cassava production will need the regular provision of high quality seeds and also new varieties produced by breeders. An efficient and sustainable seed system has to be developed to provide these quality seeds to farmers on a regular basis. To be sustainable, the provided varieties have to be appreciated by farmers and processors and they have to be high producers (above 30 t/Ha), and they also have to be affordable for farmers.

Best agronomic practices

Despite decades of research, definition of best agronomic practices for cassava have to be optimized according to the type of agriculture, the soil, and the environmental conditions. A mechanized production will allow to define and use these best practices. Fertilizer with appropriate NPK concentrations will have to be developed and sold in the local market.

Weed control

It has been established for a long period of time, that weeds “eat” 50% 0f the harvest if they are not removed in the first 50days after planting. However manual weeding done on all crops at the same period of the year, does not favor to remove weeds from cassava fields. Other chemical and physical methods have to be developed rapidly to do so effectively. There is actually a shortage of manpower in the country side, and women are not physically capable to cope manually with weed control with larger lots, other solutions have to be developed.

Although the advantages of mechanization seem more and more obvious, very little of the cassava acreage is actually grown with machines (<10%). Costs and time estimates seem to support the conclusion that it would be the advantage of the producers to mechanize, but many elements to permit this mechanization are missing: dealers, importers, service providers, maintenance, development of a whole entrepreneurial business has to be developed. Access to cheap loans to buy equipment by service providers or cooperatives of farmers has to be set in place at affordable rates, nationwide at the continental level.

Management through cooperatives
A very important element is to set-up and develop effective cooperatives of farmers. This would ease access to affordable loans and would allow to share risks. In many countries, cooperatives and associations of farmers have been done and proven to be key components for the modernization of agriculture. Africa will be no exception. What will be needed to develop efficient farmer cooperatives is what has to be determined and organized.

Access to credit
This single element is probably the most important one in the whole system. In Europe and North America, the development of credit in parallel to the agricultural development was a determinant factor to increase productivity, Africa will be no exception! How will this be achieved at a volume that will be compatible with a continental development of its agriculture? This will have to be voiced very strongly to hit people responsible for needed changes.

Securing markets
Mechanization using the cassava production package has the capacity to triple the cassava production, proven by multiple examples in the last decade, however periodically when farmers manage to increase their production, the existing market cannot absorb this excess of production of cassava roots and regularly prices are crashing, and farmers stop their effort. There must be a co-development of the root processing and of the productivity increase for having a successful cassava transformation. This will presuppose coordination at a very high level in each country. This will require coordination of loans from the AfDB to the farming system to allow concurrent structural development and industrial expansion! How will this be done even if such loans were available? Industrial development does not take place in part because of the lacking of enough raw material (among other factors) to run factories at full capacity all year round. This factor is a key element for the development of a prosperous industry using cassava. Processing and transportation costs are other persistent factors that will need to be addressed and finally market access of the products will also be a very important issue!

Africa badly needs cassava produced at 30 t/Ha to feed its growing population in the coming decades. We do have varieties, technologies and machines that will allow farmers to produce these 30 t/ha. But it is time now to think about the integration of all the necessary elements in the cassava production system and in the supply chain in Africa. The purpose of this workshop is to review all these elements to sensitize policy makers, bankers and entrepreneurs to act in a coordinated manner.

Thursday 27 October:

10:00 am: Arrival of the participants
12:00 pm: Lunch
1:00 pm: Welcoming of the participants - Dashiell, Kenton DDG IITA
1:15 pm: Increasing cassava productivity is key for Africa and the world - Claude Fauquet, GCP21 - Presentation in PPT HERE
1:30 pm: Cassava Transformation Plan for Africa in the TAAT Program - Abass Adebayo (IITA) - Presentation in PPT HERE
1:45 pm: Point of view of industry - Louw Burger (Flour Mills of Nigeria) - Presentation in DOC HERE
2:00 pm: Discussion - Godwin Atser (IITA)
Cassava Production Elements
2:15 pm: Achievements of the CAMAP project - Presentation in PPT HERE
2:30 pm: Conclusions of the Mechanization Workshop in Abeokuta, Ogun State - Presentation in PPT HERE
2:45 pm: Discussion
3:00 pm: Coffee and Photograph
3:30 pm: Production and Development Prospective - Presentation in PPT HERE
3:45 pm: Weed Control - Presentation in PPT HERE
4:00 pm: Discussion
5:30 pm: Wrap up for the day
7:00 pm: Cocktails at I-house Terrace

Friday 28 October:
Cassava Production Elements (continued)
8:30 am: Recall of the previous day - Claude Fauquet (GCP21)
8:45 am: High Yield Cassava Varieties for Targeted Products and Prospects - Peter Kulakow (IITA) - Presentation in PPT HERE
9:00 am: Strong Seed System to Provide High Quality Performing Varieties - Hemant Nitturkar (RTB) - Presentation in PPT HERE
9:15 am: Best Agronomic Practices for High Cassava Yield - Jalloh Abdulai (IITA) - Presentatin in PPT HERE
9:30 am: Discussion
Cassava Supply Chain Elements
9:45 am: Importance and role of effective Farmer Cooperatives - Abu Umaru (AATF) - Presentation in PPT HERE
10:00 am: Cassava Value Chain Transformation - Marc Nelson (Context) - Presentation in PPT HERE
10:15 am: Discussion
10:30 am: Coffee
11:00 am: Loans and financing prospects for farmers - Kurawa Farouk (MARKETS II) - Presentation in PPT HERE
11:15 am: Commentators & Q&A - Bankers
11:30 am: General Discussion
12:15 pm: Wrap up - Claude Fauquet (GCP21)
12:30 pm: Lunch

PARTICIPANTS - List of Participants in PDF HERE


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