Practical lessons on scaling up smallholder-inclusive and sustainable cassava value chains in Africa
Developing more inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chains at scale is a development priority. The ‘Cassava: Adding Value for Africa’ project has supported the development of value chains for high quality cassava flour (HQCF) in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, and Malawi to improve the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder households, including women. The project focused on three key interventions: 1) ensuring a consistent supply of raw materials; 2) developing viable intermediaries as secondary processors or bulking agents; and 3) driving market demand. Scaling-up experiences are presented, guided by an analysis of drivers (ideas/models, vision and leadership, incentives and accountability), the enabling context (institutions, infrastructure, technology, financial, policy and regulations, partnerships and leverage, social context, environment), and the monitoring, evaluation, and learning process. Lessons for scaling up of similar value chain interventions are presented. These highlight the tension between rapid development of value chains and achieving equity and sustainability goals; the need for holistic approaches to capacity strengthening of diverse value chain actors; the role of strengthening equitable business relationships and networks as a vital element of scaling processes; and how informed engagement with government policy and regulatory issues is key, but often challenging given conflicting pressures on policymakers. The scaling process should be market-led, but the level and type of public sector and civil society investment needs careful consideration by donors, governments, and others, in particular less visible investments in fostering relationships and trust. Addressing uncertainties around smallholder-inclusive value chain development requires adaptive management and facilitation of the scaling process.
Dramatic efficiency gains through improved heat exchangers: the case of cassava flash drying in Nigeria
Flash dryers form a significant component of the cassava processing industry in Nigeria, with approximately 150 units installed; however, many are no longer operational because of the poor margins, in part due to the relatively high cost of oil and low efficiency levels. Fuel typically comprises 30 per cent of the total production cost. This paper outlines the results of performance testing at processors, and the resultant data for specific energy consumption is given, ranging from a worst of 14.2 MJ/kg to an improved 2.9 MJ/kg. Cashew nut shells (CNS) and palm kernel shells (PKS) are a common waste product in Nigeria, and therefore an ideal alternative fuel. Local fuels were analysed for the net calorific value (NCV), since there is a significant variation in this for PKS due to method of processing. NCV (dry basis) of PKS ranged from 10.7 to 17.6 MJ/kg, and for CNS 19.9–23.9 MJ/kg. A retrofit heat exchanger was developed and results from trials and subsequent installations at SMEs over a 15-month period are reviewed. An economic and carbon emission assessment of the heat exchanger is given, with fuel cost reductions of 90 per cent.