VC Chairs Cassava "No Waste" Round Table
The Institute of Applied Science and Technology in collaboration with the Food Research Institute (CSIR) and 'Strengthening Capacity for Food Science and Technology Teaching, Learning and Research to Add Value to Indigenous Foods for Food Security in Africa and the Caribbean' (FSTinAC) on Friday, 15th May 2015 organized a round table featuring policy and regulatory bodies, researchers, cassava producers and processors, equipment fabricators and financial institutions. Chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, the round table critically analysed the value of the cassava plant and the potential for it to contribute significantly to creation of rural wealth. Specifically, the gathering sought to find ways to create rural industries based on a 'cassava no waste' philosophy which is backed by extensive years of research and run on practical income generating business models with start up support from local investors and entrepreneurs.
Ghana produces over 15 million metric tons of cassava annually. Production is predominantly in the rural areas of 8 out of the nation's 10 regions. As a highly perishable crop, it is important to process it close to where it is produced hence the need to set up industries in areas within the high cassava producing regions.
Present at the round table were over fifty representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Cassava Processing Industries (Caltech, St. Bassa, Green Acres Farms, Dennis Anointed Farms and Women in Need), Export Trade, Agricultural & Industrial Development Fund, Ghana Investments Promotion Centre, the Gratis Foundation of Ghana, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Private Enterprises Federation, Association of Ghana Industries, National Board for Small Scale Industries, venture capitalists, representatives from six major banks, Food Research Institute and the University community were present.
The round table discussions took the form of presentations that addressed various elements of the value chain; these were interspersed with discussions on pertinent issues and an exhibition of some products made out of Cassava. The presentations focussed on:
- 1. Business and Governance Models - Dr. Kwame Adom and Dr. Mahmoud A. Mahmoud
- 2. Cassava Processing as a Business, Yesterday, Today and the Future - Mr. Gregory Komlaga, FRI - CSIR
- 3. Cassava Processing Machines and Equipment Designed and Developed by Gratis Foundation - Mr. Gabriel Boateng-Appiah, Gratis Foundation
- 4. Facilitating Access to Improved Cassava Genetic Material: The WAAPP Model, Dr. Alphonse Belane, MOFA
- 5. Cassava: Value Addition and Safety Issues - Prof. F. Saalia, UG.
- 6. Food Product Packaging - Prof. Esther Sakyi-Dawson, UG
- 7. Detoxification of Cassava Peels and Enrichment and Processing into Animal Feed - Prof. Naa Adamafio
Major issues raised during the discussions include:
- • Business and Governance models for cassava production and processing
- • Growing of the right cassava variety to maximise the desired output and yield
- • Ways of supporting cassava farmers and processors to better utilize cassava to increase profit
- • Equipment needs for harvesting and processing
- • Adding value to processed cassava products
- • Product packaging and safety
- • Quality and safety issues
- • The two seasons of the country and its effect on cassava prices and the various varieties
- • Use of peels for mushroom cultivation and animal feed
- • Roles of financial institutions, researchers and policy makers in the cassava business
The meeting ended with brief comments from the CEO of EDAIF, Dr. Barfour Osei, who emphasized the fact that EDAIF is prepared to invest in cassava production to positively impact the lives and incomes of its farmers and other players along the value chain.
Based on the discussions at the roundtable, the Institute and its internal and external partners are preparing draft business and governance models that will guide the establishment of the proposed rural cassava processing industries.