Variability in traditional processing of gari: a major food security product from cassava
Cassava is a major crop for food security in Nigeria and its principal processed form is gari. Gari processing practices were observed in the south-west (Oyo State) and south-east (Benue State) of Nigeria using two complementary approaches: 1) semi-quantitative surveys with processors (n = 123); and 2) actual detailed measurements at processing units (n = 7). Size of processing operations and types of practices differed significantly between the two states. There were also intra-state differences, influenced by ethnicity and customs. Variability of processing practices should be considered while seeking to improve processing productivity and introducing nutritious varieties of cassava to feed the fast-growing Nigerian population.
Private voluntary standards in livestock and meat sectors: Implications for developing countries
Over recent decades, international trade in meat products has increased enormously. Developing countries have had a leading role in the recent dynamics of the meat sector and have witnessed the strongest growth in consumption, production, and international trade. International trade in food products is governed by a growing array of public and private food standards. In recent decades, private voluntary standards developed in Western countries have become a key element of governance in meat food chains. The proliferation and influence of these private standards may represent both an opportunity and a threat for livestock producers and, in the coming years, might have increasingly important developmental implications for poorer countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this work is to shed light on the current practice in the application of these standards and to examine the present and future implications for developing countries, especially in Africa.
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott 2014, Bloomsbury, 426 pages, paperback, ISBN 9781408846421, £12.99; ebook £10.99Food System Failure: The Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture Christopher Rosin, Paul Stock, and Hugh Campbell (eds) 2012, Earthscan from Routledge, 256 pages, paperback, ISBN 9781849712293, £23.31
Guest editorial: Smallholder cassava production and the cassava processing sector in Africa
Whichever way you look at it, cassava is important for the future of Africa. Whether from the perspective of tackling hunger in a world of uncertain climate conditions, as a source of food security when other crops fail, as a means to create a cash income through processing and sales, as a driver of local agro-industry, as a way of reducing the cost burden of imports through substitution and/or biofuel production, or, for many hopeful politicians, as a future export crop with comparative advantage. The FAO says that the world produced 277 million tonnes of cassava in 2013, of which 158 million tonnes came from Africa (57 per cent) and 54 million tonnes from one country, Nigeria (19.5 per cent). None of this African production is traded; all is consumed domestically. How much is lost post harvest: we only have a vague idea. What we do know is that yields are very low by international standards. On a recent mission to Nigeria I listened to a group of experts agree a target yield of 12 tonnes a hectare; a low level of ambition when the starting point is somewhere between 6 and 12 tonnes per hectare and the most efficient are reaching 20 to 30 tonnes per hectare.
Gender analysis of households’ decision-making to reduce post-harvest losses of cassava in Ghana, Nigeria, and Vietnam
This study analysed gender dimensions of decision-making at the household level in cassava enterprise in Ghana, Nigeria, and Vietnam in the context of risks and benefits to food security to ensure value addition to reduce post-harvest losses from cassava. Rapid participatory rural appraisal was used to select a total of 501 households in the countries chosen for this study. Focus and group discussions (F and GD) and semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect primary data. Data were analysed descriptively. Twenty cassava-based activities linked to gender activities in cassava processing households in the selected countries were identified. In all three countries, final decisions to allocate and use resources were taken by men – although women are commonly responsible for post-harvest management. Ownership of production and processing assets is positively skewed to men across the sample with women having rights of use only. Household decision-making objectives for generating peels and attitudes towards cassava peels vary by country and by lineage/descent, largely influenced by culture, level of education, religion, formal employment opportunities, and income levels. Household cassava peels utilization has low value and is therefore not a focus of male interest in Ghana and Nigeria but if value is added, this dynamic may change. This was different in Vietnam where peels are processed generationally for additional household income. This study proposes the design of empowerment/development strategies such as group dynamics and skill acquisition to increase women’s bargaining and decision-making capacities and reduce male/elite capture of interventions.
Editorial: Special Edition on Innovations in Cassava Processing
In 2015 we considered small-scale cassava processing in this journal with interesting results. Since then, cassava production in sub-Saharan Africa has continued to grow by volume, and new uses and value chains are slowly emerging. But many of the founding conditions that hold the sector back remain in place. A tiny fraction of farmers have access to improved cassava planting material and varieties, or farming methods that increase productivity, despite significant investment by major donors. Rural infrastructure remains the key constraint to any leap forward in efficiency in the sector. Policy remains at odds with reality, with new calls for fixed cassava quotas in domestic foods, but very little coordinated action to support these demands.