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Improving food and nutrition security through the cassava value chain

Regional consultation for the implementation of the CTA business plan for 2016–2019 in Central Africa

August 8, 2016
  • Central Africa

With a view to helping improve food and nutrition security in Central Africa, the CTA has redefined the scope of its action around the development and promotion of the roots and tubers sectors, and more specifically the cassava value chain in the region. 

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The business plan that the CTA proposes to develop for the Central Africa region is generally centred around knowledge management and capitalisation of innovative experiments, capacity development for those involved as well as the promotion of multi-actor dialogue, together with political advocacy in favour of developing the cassava sub-sectors.

With a view to kick-starting the implementation of this plan, the CTA has undertaken a series of initiatives, including holding a workshop and bilateral consultations on 1 to 3 June in Yaoundé-Mfou, Cameroon. The purpose of the workshop was twofold: to present and discuss the outlines of the CTA business plan for the region in a participatory way with the different stakeholders in the development of the region's root and tuber sectors; and to discuss collaboration methods with a number of the actors involved. To achieve this dual objective, the workshop was divided into two stages; one 2-day plenary session followed by bilateral consultations between the CTA and representatives of the different stakeholders identified. The workshop brought together representatives of various categories of actors/institutions in agricultural and rural development (public bodies, research institutes, the cassava platforms of the EU/PRASAC project, the private sector, small farmer organisations and development agencies).

The exchanges made it possible to review the results of research as well as cassava projects in Central Africa. The presentations and discussions confirmed the importance of cassava as the region's primary food crop production and the basic food source for local populations. As well as its nutritional value, through its value chain cassava generates income for all the stakeholders involved, especially women, and helps improve the living conditions of families, thus reducing rural poverty. The potential for the production, processing and marketing of cassava by-products is very high, though still underexploited in the countries in the region due to the institutional, organisational, technical and socio-economical constraints that hamper the development of this sector. In addition, the discussions underlined the fact that the question of the regional aspect has been a relatively secondary issue up to now, along with those aspects related to coordination between operators and multi-stakeholder dialogue. Regarding support for interprofessional cassava organisations, this is almost totally absent from ongoing projects, apart from the EU/PRASAC regional cassava project supporting the introduction of innovation platforms at national and regional level.

Following these exchanges on the strategic position of cassava in the Central African region, discussions continued on the subject of the presentation of the CTA's regional project, followed by an inventory of the ongoing project programmes and interventions in the cassava value chains in Central Africa. With respect to these two points, the interventions have shown the importance of the existing innovation platforms, seen as a potentially useful entry point for the CTA business plan.

In conclusion, the workshop not only made it possible to validate the broad outline of the CTA business plan, it also helped to give a clear idea of the collaboration to be implemented for the period 2016– 2019. A number of recommendations were made, and the main operators to implement them were identified. One of the main recommendations in the short term was to initiate an institutional and organisational audit of the national and regional cassava platforms so as to identify their strengths and as part the framework of the CTA business plan for Central Africa.

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  • For further details, contact Vincent Fautrel, Senior Programme Coordinator, Value Chains fautrel@cta.int  or Krishan Bheenick, Senior Programme Coordinator, Knowledge Management bheenick@cta.int