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.
Exploring the complex relationships between food loss and waste, climate change, and the environment to support informed sustainable food system transformation decisions with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa
Food loss and waste (FLW) reduction is key to transforming food systems to deliver food security, while responding to climate change and reducing other environmental impacts. Food production and postharvest systems differ with location, reflecting the diversity of agroecological and socio-economic environments and the drivers influencing them. The interactions between drivers and environments, practices and products influence food systems and their greenhouse gas emissions and other related environmental impacts. These factors also influence the level of food loss during or after harvest, or food waste at retail or consumer level. This think-piece examines the relationships between climatic change, the environment, and FLW within a broader food systems framework. We use the case study of maize in Malawi to explore these relationships. This analysis unpacks the issues and suggests an approach for supporting decision-makers in making a more informed assessment of how to reduce FLW, taking into account the complexity of food systems, their multiple drivers of change, diverse stakeholder interests/influence, and the need to operate with very incomplete knowledge.