Implementing a Global Cassava Developement Strategy
Can the root crop, cassava, a traditional subsistence food crop in tropical and subtropical zones, become the raw material base for an array of processed products and industrial development that will effectively increase the demand for cassava and thereby contribute to agricultural transformation and economic growth in developing countries? If so, how?
A raison d'être for developing a cassava value-added scheme is the belief that it will contribute to the economic development of producing and processing communities and to the well-being of numerous disadvantaged individuals in the world.
To achieve this vision, the Global Cassava Development Strategy (GCDS) was formulated and endorsed in 2000 with the participation of a large number of stakeholders (including CIAT, CIRAD, IITA and NRI) and with support from FAO and IFAD, to promote sustainable cassava sector in developing countries, with implications for food security, rural and industrial development, as well as income generation and poverty reduction. FAO, in its condition as an intergovernmental organization, has a key facilitation role to play in mainstreaming the implementation of the Strategy.
GCDS advocates the use of a demand and market-driven and food chain approach with emphasis on:
Management and exchange of information and knowledge for the development of value-added products, and for assessing the merit of cassava as a potential bioenergy crop without jeopardizing food security, and as a crop that may adapt to changing climate conditions;
Interfacing with responsible technologies, including biotechnologies, and relevant international conventions and treaties such as biodiversity, environment, desertification and sustainable development as well as the GPA for PGRFA;
Identification of interfaces between the sectorial and national strategies of cassava-producing countries in order for the Strategy to receive adequate attention from policy-makers.
Key interventions are to be geared in the following areas:
Resilience and food security for farming households - Provision of improved varieties and healthy planting material and other productivity-enhancing technologies through participatory community-based appraoch.
Income generation and equity - Linking smallholder farmers to high value markets where the majority of the value is retained in the rural sector. This require collective action, stakeholders’ participation and development of enterprise skill and use of best practices.
Import substitution, foreign exchange earning - Increased production efficiency through sale of low cost high volume materials to major user with lower percentage of total value retained in the rural sector. This is private sector predominant.
In this context, the Strategy will help developing countries identify what needs to be put in place to ensure that farmers and local entrepreneurs as well as policy-makers can take advantage of opportunities offered by the crop, and thus promote its production, processing, utilization, marketing and trade.
Click here for the GCDS web site