IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, has received a grant of a $2 million grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to the IDH Cassava Initiative, to go towards industrializing the cassava value chain in Nigeria.
The purpose of the grant is to support six to eight industrial cassava processors to integrate smallholder cassava farmers into their supply chain.
The farmers will be a secure source of supply and in turn, they benefit from a consistent and reliable market, access to training and connection to inputs and financing.
Cassava — a woody shrub cultivated for its edible, starchy, tuberous root — is a major staple in Nigeria, the world’s largest producer of the crop.
Drought tolerant and carbohydrate-rich, cassava is a lifeline to the country’s 30 million smallholder farmers. But the root’s exceptionally short shelf-life means that more than 40% of this yield is lost before it is processed.
It is IDH’s goal to reduce that loss to 20% by 2020 — and help turn a wasted crop into economic gain for the local farmers.
The aim of the IDH Cassava Initiative, developed in collaboration with Grow Africa, is to demonstrate that integrating smallholders into the supply chain of cassava processors can be sustainable and is one possible pathway to overcoming the systemic challenge of inconsistent supply of roots to the factories in the right quantity, quality and time.
The support comes under The Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise initiative, which seeks to promote sustainable ecosystems and reduce food losses by at least 50% in representative value chains and so improve millions of rural lives — with the Nigerian cassava industry as one of the key focus areas for optimizing on loss reduction.
Additionally, the support will afford technical assistance eight cassava processors in Nigeria in order to integrate 50,000 smallholder farmers into their supply chains and build robust outgrower schemes that will help overcome processors’ supply challenges.
IDH will implement the YieldWise model to elevate post-harvest food loss as an urgent, overlooked, yet addressable problem, by bringing together four components that include linking smallholder farmers to the market demand of both large anchor buyers and local alternative markets, aggregating farmers to train them in post-harvest management, promote their adoption of technologies, and aggregate their crops to meet buyer quantity and quality requirements, using innovative finance mechanisms to promote agricultural investments and facilitate distribution and acquisition of technologies, particularly among smallholder farmers and promoting the adoption of appropriate loss-reducing technologies to improve crop handling, storage, and processing.
IDH has initiated a scheduled and agreed supply scheme between cassava farmers and processors, supported by robust service delivery models that will cover training on best agronomical practices, the supply of inputs and mechanization services. Additionally, IDH hopes that this initiative will help the farmers to substantially grow their yield and income, and contribute to food security in their communities.
“We are committed to building Nigeria’s cassava value chain as part of the larger agriculture sector. And so, we are excited to have this opportunity to work with Nigerian processors that have invested greatly in the value chain, by supporting them to source even more from smallholder farmers. Our hope is that this will be a sustainable way of building sourcing platforms that benefit all players in the value chain,” said Kagwiria Koome, Program Associate at The Rockefeller Foundation.
Ultimately, the overarching aim is to demonstrate the full commercial potential of inclusive cassava production and processing and subsequently shape policy to maximize positive economic impact for millions of Nigerian smallholders.