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- CEGA -

Alvaro Balcázar B.

Hernán A. Mansilla A.

Santafé de Bogotá DC


Colombia is the third largest producer of cassava in Latin America, after Brazil and Paraguay, and its production is basically destined for local consumption. For approximately the last two decades, the Government of Colombia in association with other international institutions has been stimulating the improvement and transformation of fresh cassava through different agricultural-industrial projects in different areas of the country, with the objective of raising both the level of income for farmers and rural development.

The following case study describes the various projects that have been and continue to be implemented for the improvement of cassava in Colombia since 1980, with special attention being paid to the evolution of these projects in light of the development models used to formulate them, as well as an analysis of the achievements and limitations that the small cassava producer faces today. The case study is based on research carried out in the whole of Colombia, and is presented in four basic sections. The first section analyses the current situation of cassava production with reference to areas, quantities and efficiency. In the second section, cassava development projects of the past two decades are described. This is complemented in the third section with the analysis of the achievements and limitations in cassava development. Finally, in the fourth section the perspectives for the future development of the crop are discussed.


A. General outline

In Colombia, cassava is cultivated under various climates and soils; in low altitude zones near sea level it is grown from the arid and semi-arid regions of the Guajira to the humid plains of the pacific coast, in the Andean plains in altitudes of up to 1 800 metres above sea level (masl)[12]. Cassava normally grows in almost all the different types of soils of the country, including the poor and super acid soils of the Amazon, Oriental Plains and Chocó, as well as in the fertile soils of the Cauca Valley and Quindío. The observed differences in yield per hectare are due to these soil fertility differences, but in spite of this, cassava cultivation, and its tolerance to various types of soils, makes it one of the most attractive crops for marginal soils, in which other kinds of crop cannot grow adequately.

Many great attributes are found in cassava; it is a species that can survive extreme climate conditions where other species fail to mature. With its particular mechanisms of foliar area reduction, reduction of transpiration and vital processes, cassava enters a dormant period in which it can resist long drought periods of up to six months. This allows cultivation to take place in zones in which the level of water in the soil and precipitation are uncertain. Nonetheless, cultivation is worthless in areas where precipitation levels are below 750 mm/year, and basically disappears in areas with levels below 500 mm/year. In areas of high pluviosity with frequent rainfall of 200 mm/month, the cassava plant suffers, especially in areas with soil drainage deficiencies, making it necessary to cultivate in elevated furrows. In heavy soils, flooding or rainfall levels in which cassava plantations develop best, never exceed the 3 000 mm/year, as long as sufficient drainage takes place[13].

Cassava is commonly harvested along with corn, beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and "ñame" (Dioscorea sp.). When associated with corn, cassava is usually planted in more separate furrows than in normal planting to allow the establishment of the corn plants. The beans are planted in the same normal furrow after the first weed removal if using the "mateado" system, which consists of several plants per place. The predominant association scheme used in Colombia is cassava with corn, which is practised with high frequency in the northwestern areas of the country[14].

B. Production, area and efficiency

In analysing data for the past 26 years, three periods have been identified as the phases in which areas and national production of cassava increased. In the case of increase in area cultivated, the phases correspond to the years 1970-75, 1975-88 and 1988-96 (Chart 1, Graphics 1 and 2), which demonstrate the growth tendency of the first phase, reaching as high as 256 700 hectares in 1975. This later changed into a constant decreasing tendency over the following 13 years. After the second phase, the decreasing tendency is reversed, showing constant growth again, although never reaching the levels obtained in 1975 (207 310 hectares in 1990). The annual growth rates for each phase are 1, -3.4 and 2.2 percent, respectively.

The production of cassava has followed the same cyclic tendencies of the cultivated area, but with different phase dimensions (1970-81, 1981-87, 1987-96). In the first period, constant growth was observed with a rate of 1.04 percent, reaching its maximum production in 1981 with 2 150 100 tonnes of cassava. The following phase is one of a decreasing rate (-6.83 percent) for the whole seven years, to finally enter a recuperation phase with a steady increase rate of 3.77 percent, to reach a maximum of 1 939 019 tonnes in 1990. Productivity is another variable that behaves in the same cyclic tendency as the past variables discussed, showing similar rates as production (Chart 1), and a slight increase in productivity at the end of the analysis period (9 258 kg/ha) compared to the initial value of 1970.

Observing from Chart 1, the rates of growth of both production and cultivated area never exceeded one percent, with negative rates in some cases, while productivity reached an average increased rate of 1.03 percent. Additionally, the figures from Chart 1 show a stagnant tendency for the cultivated area as well as for cassava production, after a period of noticeable decrease. With regards to this period, the spectacular decrease of both production and cultivated area could be the result of new and more commercial crops being harvested that resulted in attention being taken away from cassava growing, complemented by other social and natural factors, whose evaluation exceeds the scope of this study.

Chart 1: Colombia: Cassava areas, production, and productivity growth rates by periods (1970-1996)


% Annual Rate

% Absol. Rate







250 200




189 629




180 062









2 015 545




1 515 156




1 653 809









8 667




9 005




9 258




Source: Attached Annex Table 1

Even though soils in Colombia, in general, are suitable for the cultivation of cassava, the crop is mostly present in the Atlantic Coast and the Oriental Range zones, as seen in Chart 2.

Chart 2: Colombia: Average participation of area (%), production (%) and productivity (kg/ha) by regions (1987-1995)


Area Cultivated






8 863




12 729

Oriental Range



7 913

Oriental Plains



10 422




9 359




9 201

Source: Attached Annex Tables 5 and 6

The Atlantic Coast region, also known as the Caribbean region, located in the northern part of the country represented 48 percent of the total cassava cultivated area for the country for the period 1987-95, and 47 percent of the total national production. The Oriental Range follows in importance, representing 27 percent of the surface and 23 percent of the national production. As a whole, these two regions represent almost two-thirds of the surface and national production of cassava, and give a yield per hectare of 8 tonnes/ha, slightly below the national rate. The annual average growth rate for these areas shows a stagnant tendency in area cultivated, similar to that of the Oriental Plains, but opposite to the behaviour of the other two regions, where there is a positive increase in the Central, and the negative rates of the Pacific, as seen in Chart 3.

When considering production, positive rates are obtained in all but one region, the Pacific, having comparatively high rates in the Central (2.68 percent) and Oriental Plains (2.85 percent) regions as opposed to the others.

Productivity, like production, has positive rates except for the Pacific region, obtaining better rates in the Atlantic (2.23 percent) and Oriental Plains (3.63 percent) regions, compared with the other two regions (Chart 3).

Chart 3: Colombia: Area, production and productivity growth rates by region (1987-1995)


Area Cultivated




% annual rate




% absol. rate





% annual rate




% absol. rate




Oriental Range

% annual rate




% absol. rate




Oriental Plains

% annual rate




% absol. rate





% annual rate




% absol. rate





% annual rate




% absol. rate




Source: Attached Annex Table 5

The absolute growth rates for the three variables discussed, on a regional level, show a steady improvement for the period 1987-95, with the exception of the Pacific region.

Furthermore, the improvement in all three variables seen in the Oriental Plains could be the result, to a certain degree, of the application of a stimulation programme sponsored by the International Tropical Agricultural Center (CIAT) and the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) in the Carimigua Center during the past decades.

In the departmental analysis, as seen in Chart 4, the main cassava producers are located in the Atlantic and Oriental Range regions. In the first case, there are the Bolívar, Córdoba and Sucre departments, while in the Oriental Range, there is Santander. These four departments account for 37 percent of the national area and production used for cassava cultivation, and as it turns out, these departments were the ones that received the most attention from the regional development programmes.

The four departments show a constant productivity growth of over 30 percent throughout the analysis period, Sucre being the department with the lowest value (9.10 percent, Chart 4).

In regard to the cultivated area and production rates, Córdoba is the department with the highest values compared to Bolívar, Sucre and Santander; it is worth noting the improvement in Caquetá, and the absolute reduction in Norte de Santander.

Chart 4: Colombia: Departmental area, production and productivity growth rates of cassava (1987-1995)





% Annual

% Absolute

% Annual

% Absolute

% Annual

% Absolute











































Norte Santander



































Source: Attached Annex Table 7

In conclusion, there are two regions in the country that stand out as the most dynamic in the production of cassava, Atlantic and Oriental Range, the most outstanding departments, being Córdoba and Sucre in the first, and Santander, in the second. These departments are the highest producers of cassava in Colombia and are the most important due to the cassava development programmes executed in their territories. Together with the Oriental Plains, and as a complement of the above-mentioned programmes, they are beneficiaries of the projects involved in making cassava production more marketable and beneficial to the country.

C. Uses of cassava

Cassava has two main uses: fresh and processed. In the first case, the roots are destined for both human consumption and animal feed. Since 1990, cassava roots have been packed in polyethylene bags, for human use, that allows the roots to preserve their freshness up to a week, and in this way, overcome the perishable nature of fresh cassava. The highest demand for fresh cassava comes from urban zones, mainly Barranquilla and Bucaramanga (Chart 5), accordingly to a national survey on consumer preferences carried out by CIAT[15] in the past decade.

Price analysis of fresh cassava for five important cities in Colombia (Annex Tables 10 and 11) shows a cyclic behaviour with smaller fluctuations in Barranquilla and Bucaramanga, as opposed to the bigger and wider behaviour in Bogotá, Cali and Medellin. The smaller fluctuations show a stable tendency in prices due, may be, to the relative proximity of Barranquilla and Bucaramanga to the production regions, and therefore, having a relatively smaller commercial margin, as opposed to the cases of Bogotá, Cali and Medellin, which are further away from the production regions, making for a higher commercial margin due to the high perishability of fresh cassava.

Chart 5: Colombia: Annual cassava consumption per capita (kg/year), main cities


Low income level

High income level
















In general, two things become clear, one, cassava is an inferior product, and therefore its demand is sensitive to variations in the levels of income, and two, the variations in the real price levels have affected the farmers, who have become more conscious of this fact and reduced amounts produced in almost two years of harvests. In a more precise way, the highest real price in 1988, induced an increase in production in 1989; yet cassava production was still increasing by 1990, the year in which real prices dropped even more. The lag in the decision-making mentioned, appears after 1987 and after the drop in prices in 1990 the tendencies were reversed. Finally, the tendencies observed in the real prices could show that both the producers and consumers are price conscious and accept them.

In the second use of cassava, as mentioned, the roots are processed industrially to obtain dried cassava, bitter and sweet starch, and cassava flour, basically. Dried cassava is used mainly as raw material for the concentrated food industry for animals, especially poultry and pigs, and is considered as a raw substitute of sorghum, since dry cassava can be used as a calorie supplement. The production of dry cassava (Chart 6) has been increasing since the 1980s, revealing, to some degree, the demand for this product from the balanced food industry for animals, as seen in the following chart[16].

Chart 6: Colombia: Dry cassava production (1981-1994)


Dry (tonnes)












3 006



2 980



3 853



20 270



35 000


The prominent market for dried cassava is Medellín, which has had a relatively high participation in the acquisition of the product, as seen in the next chart 7[17].

In relation to the production of starches, bitter starch is used as raw material for bakeries (to produce "pandebono", "pan de yuca", "buñuelos", "empanadas and arepas"), and in the production of chips (cheetos, etc.).

Starches are primarily produced in Cauca, where there is an estimated production of 10 000 tonnes of bitter starch. The production of starch, as a result of a study conducted in 1995, is carried out basically in approximately 146 "rallanderias" by small producers[18]. They are located in 12 towns in Cauca with a production capacity of 70 tonnes/year by "rallanderia" providing employment to 830 people (12 percent women, 57 percent hired workers, 43 percent family workers), processing around 53 500 tonnes/year of fresh cassava of the "Algodona" and "Blanquita" variety, sales are performed through retailers, only 38 "rallanderos" are members of some kind of association for production or commercialization, and almost one-fifth of them has received some kind of administrative training. In respect to technology applied, the starch production process consists of peeling fresh cassava roots, which have been previously washed adequately, and then put through the grating process. Starch is then separated from the fibre through a filtration process, to be later obtained from the liquid, through sedimentation or centrifugal processes[19]. According to a study of 1995, both the cleaning and the filtering are accomplished by mechanical means, through different machine designs, having only a small amount of "rallanderias" carrying out the process manually (16 percent cleaning, 7 percent filtering); most do their own refiltering and use tanks for sedimentation.

Chart 7: Colombia: Relative importance of the leading markets for dry cassava (1984-1987)




































The most notorious technological changes in the past eight years were found by this study in the replacement of the tanks for sedimentation canals, paved floors for drying processes, and the use of mechanical washers. The by-products obtained in the technological process ("afrecho" and "mancha") are used for the feeding of pigs and other farm animals. Finally, only 20 "rallanderias" received technical assistance, 69 "rallanderos" applied for loans to produce cassava starch, and the majority had no treatments for residual water.

Sweet starch is used primarily in some adhesive industries, in fabrication of cardboard boxes and other papers, in the food industry, and in the production of pharmaceuticals. This product is fabricated by private industries located in the Atlantic Coast (Inyucal, Colombiana de Almidones, Inacal, Delayuca). They are the largest consumers of fresh cassava for processing and fabrication of sweet starch. Similarly, there is a medium scale plant in the Atlantic department producing 3 000 tonnes of industrial or sweet starch approximately per year as well as a factory in Bucaramanga producing approximately 3 tonnes of starch a day.

With respect to cassava flour, it can be used as a substitute of wheat flour in different industrial processes, from bakeries to processed meat, ice cream cookies, seasonings, and in the paper, cardboard, adhesives and wood industry. The joint efforts of CIAT, DRI (Fund for the Integrated Rural Development) and the IDRC (International Development Research Center, Canada) have encouraged the building of an experimental cassava flour production plant in Chinu, in the department of Córdoba, with a local association of cassava producers in charge. This plant began operations in 1984, and after ten years of test and experiment, it never reached its commercial stage, because of the lack of the constant supply of fresh, good quality cassava roots and the lack of management tools and experience from the local association in charge; the opening of the economy to foreign products that allowed the importation of cheap wheat flour and changes in priorities in the public sector.

Taking into account the multiple uses for fresh cassava, CIAT estimated the potential of the uses mentioned above, and projected a demand of over 2.6 million tonnes of fresh cassava for the different alternatives, as described in the following chart 8[20].

Chart 8: Colombia: Cassava production and potential demand (1992)

Cassava uses

Actual use

Potential use





Fresh cassava for human Consumption

1 295 000

1 295 000

1 295 000

1 295 000

Fresh cassava for animal Feed

338 500

338 500

338 500

338 500

Dried cassava

30 000

75 000

305 000

762 500

Bitter cassava starch

8 000

40 000

8 000

40 000

Sweet cassava starch

6 500

32 500

20 000

100 000

Cassava flour



22 443

89 772

Waste products

55 000

55 000

55 000

55 000

Total use

1 836 000

2 680 772

* Equivalent fresh cassava. ** The figures in parenthesis represent the percentage of the total production

From the chart, it can be seen that the largest proportion of the potential uses corresponds to consumption (61 percent human and animal), the rest being for industrial processes. In this last group, there is an estimated 28 percent demand of fresh cassava to produce over 305 000 tonnes of dry cassava. These types of projections and analysis were also carried out by CEGA (Livestock and Agricultural Study Center) in order to find potential demands of dry cassava for the production of balanced rations[21]. These projections were based on the following two assumptions, first, the employment of dry cassava as a partial raw material substitute for sorghum in the production process of balanced animal foods, and second, projected figures on production of concentrates and probable technical utilization coefficients of fresh cassava in the different balanced diets for animals, based on a survey carried out by CIAT in 21 concentrate producing companies (13.54 percent for poultry farming, 15.36 percent bovines and 21.13 percent pigs[22]. The results of these projections are summarized in the following chart 9.

Chart 9: Colombia: Projections on the potential demand for dried cassava for the production of balanced concentrates (thousand tonnes) (1986-1990)


For birds

For pigs

For bovines



























Similarly, CEGA calculated the demand and supply prices for dried cassava, based primarily on microeconomic information, taking into account the following facts, demand price is the highest possible price the concentrated food industry will pay for it, and therefore allows the substitution of sorghum; and supply prices are the minimum selling price that would allow dry cassava to compete in the common market with other agricultural alternatives as well as be profitable for farmers. Considering the methodology used by CEGA to estimate these prices, the following chart 11 contains macro level projected values of these prices for the period 1991-95[23].

Chart 11: Colombia: Demand and supply prices of dry cassava (1991-1995)


Max. demand price

Supply price*

Supply price**


106 829

53 401

47 757


97 689

96 781

86 553


124 338

83 883

75 017


146 545

150 119

134 253


152 603

220 818

197 480

* 23 percent historical profit; ** 10 percent profit

Chart 11 considers a 23 percent profit margin in prices for sale, the notable difference in the prices set by the natural drying industry and the concentrated animal food industry's maximum payable price for raw material during the past two years (1994-95). When the profit margin is reduced to 10 percent, this situation (supply price>demand price) presented itself in 1995, with a small margin difference present for 1994. Furthermore, the difference between both prices does not show great variances and is basically steady throughout the periods, having minimum values in 1992.

This hypothetical scenario presents itself as one in which the cassava drying industry operated by the small local farmer associations and cooperatives is not being competitive enough, considering not only the differences in prices, just shown, but the limitations that afloat with seasonality present in the cassava drying process, as we will see later on. If demand prices of both dry cassava and imported sorghum, the cereal expected to be substituted, are compared, it can be seen that in 1993 and 1994, dry cassava prices were higher than those of sorghum, showing only a slight reversible tendency in 1995 (attached Chart 15) due to the higher international cereal prices that apparently showed an increasing tendency but in reality, at the moment, are decreasing. Note the fact that the dry cassava prices used in the past analysis were calculated from lower quality fresh cassava figures, therefore, the correct calculation with prime quality cassava would be much higher. These tendencies, in an economic protection context stipulated in the Modernization Plan, later to be explained, for the cassava drying industry, question the ability of cassava drying associations and cooperatives, in satisfying the demand of the concentrated animal food industry, and allow the possibility of other strategies being implemented in order to dynamically improve the drying industry on a larger scale.

Moreover, when comparing dry cassava production levels presented earlier in this study (Chart 7), with the projected figures of demand for this product in the animal concentrates food industry, it can be sensed that the current organization and management of the dry cassava industry is incapable of satisfying the existing potential demand, moreover, not even fulfilling 50 percent of actual requirements in the following years; in contradiction to the present apparent incentive for sustained growth of this industry, especially in the Atlantic Coast, where, according to CEGA, there are the lowest prices per tonne of dry cassava offered to the different animal concentrate food plants in the region. This, to a degree, demonstrates the competitive and comparative advantages acquired by the coastal region in the past decade.

Finally, the existing potential demand for dry cassava is a clear fact, therefore, that there is the necessity for reestablishment of the drying industry, but with distinct improvement needed, especially in prices, compared to those of sorghum, for example; improvement which takes the efforts inevitably to technological improvements in order to obtain lower costs of production.

Next, we will see the evolution of cassava programmes nationwide, which have allowed the development of the crop, and results that are somehow reflected in the statistics presented before, having the proposed development models as context.


In this part of the study, the intervention of both international and national public institutions is described, to show the efforts made in the development of production and processing technologies for cassava, along with the marketing incentives to bring cassava closer to common markets, offering better quality fresh cassava, and the couple of subproducts mentioned previously. In this sense, 1990 was considered to be the year in which the experiences in cassava programmes were divided into two phases, each corresponding to different development models.

The first phase, the 1980s decade, was characterized by protectionism, as a fundamental part of the development model that allowed the Government to participate directly in the economy and, as a result, in the social economic development. The social and economic policies of the time, in the case of cassava cultivation, were basically the concourse of several government entities in providing farmers with low interest subsidized loans, with complementary technical assistance, controlling imports and prices of other agricultural goods. The beginning of the 1990s brought about the second phase, where political and social policies were shifted towards market economy, with the Government reducing its participation in the economy, and the total liberation of it. As a result of this, new priorities and objectives were set, where many governmental entities were liquidated and restructured, but support for cassava cultivation was not lost, rather reoriented in the Modernization Plan, which is in its initial stages and will be explained later. Both phases mentioned show the particular attention the Government has paid to cassava, however, due to the different contexts of government support, each phase is relatively different.

A. The 1980s decade

The interest of development institutions in cassava takes us back to the final part of the 1960s, as part of the so called Green Revolution, that implied basically the use of new and more modern technologies in agriculture (improved varieties, fertilizer, etc.) in order to elevate production and productivity levels in the field. Within this philosophy, and for nearly a decade, CIAT and ICA (Colombian Agricultural Institute) developed its varieties and agricultural practices developing programme for cassava in the Atlantic region, and the Oriental Plains, more specifically, in the National Agricultural Investigation Center (CNIA) in Carimagua, Meta. In the Oriental Plains region, where clay soils predominate, tests and practices began in 1971, with the objective of improving agricultural ways and varieties for the crop, resulting in yields of 20-25 tonnes/ha in the bottom land subregion (Piedemonte), where soils are more fertile and of better quality than the ones in the Plains plateau subregion, which yielded 15-20 tonnes/ha[24].

In general, the studies and investigations carried out in Carimagua suggested better cultural habits for the crop, the treatment of the cassava stem cuttings before seeding, the fertilization of soils, especially with phosphorus, in favour of overcoming this deficiency in the composition of soils, the use of herbicides to control weeds, the seeding of different varieties of cassava more resistant to pests, the employment of insecticides if necessary, and finally, the possibility of seeding cassava in any season of the year, as long as there is sufficient water, especially in the soil. Among the recommended cassava varieties are, for human consumption, the "Chiroza gallinaza" and CM523-7, and for industrial use, CM507-37 and SG 104-164[25].

Likewise, and as results of the cassava research programme, new alternative uses for the crop appeared, such as the use in the concentrated animal food industry, textile industry, human food industry, and many others, as well as new information on production and consumption, worldwide, of cassava, and the acknowledgement of the increasing demand for dry cassava in Europe.

The recompilation of these past facts determined, to some degree, the design and application of the Integrated Cassava Programme, in 1981, under the context already explained about the first phase, a protective economy based upon an imports substitution model, long in application, and under the international guidance of CIAT, in Cali, with local cooperation from the Integrated Rural Development Fund (DRI) and other public entities[26]. The programme contained its own appropriate view of the Green Revolution, with the intention of overcoming the present levels of rural poverty with the application of new cultivating techniques that will raise the quality of the crop, and therefore, raise the farmers' corresponding income.

With these guidelines, the Integrated Project was conceived as an agricultural-industrial process, defined by a model that articulated the investigation and development of cassava, based upon four main principles: penetrate markets, develop the product, develop the markets, and diversify plantations and products[27]. The model was clearly market oriented, with small farmers as leading men in an effort to eradicate poverty from rural areas, with the implementation and benefits of developing projects[28], with the Government and its different entities guaranteeing the necessary atmosphere for the project's success. In this way, international help for the poor implied the larger participation of the beneficiaries in the executions of the projects, for their own development, concentrating efforts on people rather than production[29].

With the establishment of this ideological frame, CIAT and DRI induced the participation of small farmers both in the creation of an institutional ad hoc context, and in the adoption of new and better production, processing and commercialization techniques for cultivating cassava. The results of those efforts materialized in two main activities: natural drying of cassava in the Atlantic Coast, and the storage of fresh cassava in the department of Santander. These activities arose in response to the perishability of cassava that farmers had to cope with, especially at the end of the 1970s, when there was over production and too much supply, which in turn, made harvesting in that period too expensive for farmers.

B. Natural drying of cassava

This project began in Betulia, department of Sucre, on the Atlantic Coast, to later expand to the other departments on the coast (Bolívar, Atlántico, Magdalena and Cesar), with special importance in Córdoba. In these departments, the project encouraged associations between farmers to stimulate both production and processing of fresh cassava, and to allow for improvements in the economical margins that farmers were obtaining. Along with the associations, private producers have begun to appear, representing by 1991, 35 percent of the total cassava drying plants, as seen in Chart 11[30].

Chart 11. Colombia: Number of cassava drying plants located in the Atlantic Region (1991)




Pending installation



































* Financed by PNR and CORFAS ** Financed by DRI fund and PNR

The technology needed for the natural drying process basically consisted of having available a drying cement yard, and a cutting machine to obtain fresh cassava chips for later drying the basic tools to manipulate the fresh and dried cassava, and work hours put in by farmers and associates. On average 2.5 tonnes of fresh cassava convert into one tonne of dry cassava, and 18 hours of sunshine are needed to complete the process.

In order to commercialize cassava, the project decided to create a second level association that received the name ANPPY (National Association of Cassava Producers and Processors), the sole mission of which was to commercialize the product and open new channels for commercialization, but as a result of internal differences, new associations were created with similar missions, such as FEDECOSABANA.

The evolution of the project can be summarized in four main stages, each implemented successively, in the 1980s[31]. The first stage (1981) corresponds to the experimental phase of cassava drying, when the experimental plant was built and setup and the first farmer associations were created. The first experimental lot of production, 7 tonnes, was distributed to the different animal concentrates food industries so the benefits of the product could be observed and tested. The second stage (1983) was one of verification and realignment, as the plant began to operate semi commercially and was expanded, in addition to the construction of other plants, and better and more exact information was gathered on the technical end economical feasibility of the drying project. Expansion began in the third stage (1983-1989), in which the drying process was established throughout the Atlantic Coast, with new and expanding dry cassava associations, and the coming forth of private drying plants. Finally, and from 1989 onwards, the fourth stage brought about not only the end of the project as an interinstitution activity, but also the appearance of new drying plants in other departments, principally Santander, Meta, Cauca and Norte de Santander, sponsored by other institutions, such as PNR (National Rehabilitation Plan).

In trying to approximate the economic benefits obtained by families from cassava drying in the 1980s, the largest benefits were obtained from the direct sale of fresh cassava, and by salaries received from the various associations, as seen in the next chart 12[32].

Chart 12: Colombia: Farming families' net income (US$) (1987-1988) campaign


Number of families

Total earnings

Earning per family

Fresh cassava purchase


75 905

113 29

Drying wages


34 030

86 43



22 549

253 24



158 113

225 88



94 868

135 53



63 245

9 035

In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, information on the adoption of new technologies as a result of the Integrated Cassava Project is also available, based upon a stratification carried out by CIAT, in which cassava growers were divided up into high, medium and low technology users, and the results of which can be seen in Chart 13[33]. In regard to varieties of cassava used, the Venezuelan variety was introduced in the country by Venezuelan farmers in 1968; while MP12 was introduced by CIAT and ICA and was available to farmers in 1984. Likewise, the variety "Negrita" from ICA was made available, producing 18 percent higher yields in cultivation along with corn, and 17 percent higher in mono-cultivation with respect to the Venezuelan and the "Costeña" type, also from ICA, with outputs 40 percent superior to those of the Venezuelan variety. Both varieties can yield cassava for fresh and drying use, and can be harvested approximately from the seventh month on. As a complement to Chart 13, an increase of income as a result of cassava cultivation for all three technological levels can be observed, resulting from a 66 percent increase in adoption, by farmers, of at least one technological component, with the highlight of 75 percent increase in level one. A better use for the land, as well as the increase in the seeding area with the consequent reduction in unused and grassland can also be observed as results of the technological adoption.

Chart 13: Colombia: Technology adoption in cassava cultivation according to technology levels in the Atlantic Coast














Cultural habits:

-Machine use




-Seeding density increased




-Seed storage




-Use of stem cuttings




-Use of herbicides




-Use of pesticides




-Use of fertilizers




Yield from association (tonne/ha):

















Increased yield in association




Increased yield in mono-cultivation





-Increase earnings from cassava cultivation




* Technological levels: 1 = high, 2 = medium, 3 = 1ow
All figures are percentages of farmers, except for yields

Finally, by analysing the yields from mono-cultivation and the association between cassava and corn, a slight difference can be seen between technological levels one and three, questioning the worthiness of incurring greater costs from the higher technological level obtaining only a slight marginal yield more than the lowest technological level; subsequently noticing that the expected productivity, for example, what the project would yield was not possible, up to that point, thus questioning, once more, the worthiness of the high investments and efforts put into the project.

C. Storage of fresh cassava

This project appeared initially in Santander, as a way of solving the high perishability of fresh cassava which as seen before, has constant demand in Bucaramanga and Barranquilla. This problem causes fresh roots to have high prices, making it necessary to consume them the same day they were bought, and it makes sales quite risky, because of possible losses. Furthermore, during the last years in urban areas, fresh cassava has been replaced by other goods which are easily stored and last longer, such as rice, potato and corn.

Facing these facts, and knowing that the consumers in important urban areas want a high quality product with low costs and easy storage, a new project[34] was set up. Initially, the CIAT-DRI set in motion a project for trading fresh cassava in Bucaramanga, which is the most important urban market in the valley of the Magdalena. After a series of technological tests for conservation, and studies on consumption of the packaged product while obtaining low costs for processing, it was considered convenient to use polyethylene bags for packaging, and to treat the roots with tiabenzol in order to avoid deterioration. This technology can be used easily; it is compatible and appropriate for small cassava producers.

Together with other institutions like SENA, the CIAT-DRI started forming cooperatives for packaging fresh cassava in bags. This project was started in 1981, and it worked successfully until 1987. Since then, it was not possible to continue this activity, because of institutional problems (the new director of the DRI gave the project less priority) as well as for public reasons (a more active guerrilla movement started to obstruct transportation in the valley of the Magdalena). These two facts isolated the producers from urban areas, and hence, they stopped providing these markets with freshly-packaged cassava. These producers started to dry the products in small volumes.

Recognizing the importance of the Barranquilla market for fresh cassava, and the experience of the zone in matters of organization which was strong because of the former drying project, the CIAT-DRI decided to start a similar project in this zone, with producers that were already organized. The main idea was to combine the dry and the fresh cassava, in order to see both activities as non-competitive and complementary, since it was said that "high quality roots should go to the "fresh cassava" market, while those of inferior quality should go to the drying one"[35]. After a first batch of production reached 52 tonnes, the project got stuck at 10 tonnes a week due to two factors: there was no wholesale market which could distribute the product to small markets, and there was no promotion for the product, showing its advantages over the traditional ways of fresh cassava consumption.

The idea of the storage project was directed also to develop better trading conditions for fresh cassava, as well as increasing the earnings of the producers for such activity, by selling their product without any middleperson to the distributors. This is reflected by the following numbers in Chart 13 for each kilogram[36].

After these two experiences (Bucaramanga and Barranquilla) it was visible that in general, the technology developed by the CIAT was technically and economically viable, and that the product was attractive and favourable for the buyer. If the project of fresh packaging failed, it was due to other factors such as those mentioned before.

Balance: As can be seen, during the 1980s, the cultivation and processing of cassava was boosted, not only to increase the final price of the product, but also to generate jobs in the rural areas, as well as to elevate the earnings of poor producers, and to create better conditions for the product on the market.

These goals were accomplished not only with the help of the CIAT-DRI, but also with the participation of other institutions, which gave the small cassava producers technical assistance, training and education, credits, technological assistance, support for institutional growth and productive organization, especially in certain stages of the production, processing and commercialization of the cassava, respectively.

Chart 14: Colombia: Storage costs and detail prices in Bucaramanga and Barranquilla

Cost factor



Fresh roots



Labour wages



Bags and staples









Sale price



Profit for the cooperative



Increase in price for paid fresh roots above-mentioned current intermediary price



Traditional cassava consumer price



Stored cassava consumer price



Prices given in SCOL (US$1 - SCOL 260)

All these actions were developed in the midst of a protectionist model of economy, which maybe did not have an explicit policy, but that helped indirectly. With further precision, during the 1980s there was no price policy for neither fresh nor dried cassava: practically the market determined (and keeps determining) the price of fresh and dried cassava. In the case of the fresh cassava, the prices are determined by the demand of the different urban markets and by the stability of the offer, and for the most part, they have higher prices than those paid in the cooperatives for the process of drying. This difference in prices causes the production of dried cassava to be affected negatively, since it actually uses a product of less quality, and with larger volumes.

On the other hand, the price of the dried cassava is determined by taking as a reference the minimum price in the range of prices of sorghum which is fixed by the IDEMA (Institute for Agricultural Marketing), which controls imports of agricultural products, one of which is the sorghum that was supposed (and still is) to be replaced by national dried cassava for the production of concentrated food for animals. The price of dried cassava also depends on the price the industry of balanced foods was willing to pay according to the market conditions. Dried cassava also benefited from the protectionist economy, since it was not permitted to import dried cassava freely from other parts of the world. This permitted, in one way or another, its growth until the end of the 1980s. This policy generated relative protection for dried cassava which had to compete with other products such as sorghum and corn. Such products are imported with relatively low prices and have a continuous offer. On the other hand, dried cassava has an almost static offer.

In terms of credit, since the beginning of operations of the Integrated Project of Cassava, credits were given to the small producers that were organized in different cooperatives for production and drying. They came from different sources, in order to finance, not only work capital (for production of the fresh cassava and its trading) given by the Caja Agraria, a financial entity of the Colombian state that has low interests. They also included other investments (infrastructure for drying the product, equipment, trading) with low interest rates given by two private entities: CORFAS (Cooperation Fund for Assistance to Associated Enterprises) and FINANCIACOOP (Financial and Development Cooperative Institute) which canalized funds from WFP (World Food Programme) and IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) respectively[37]. These resources allowed many cooperatives to reach high levels of capitalization. This was the case of the Cooperativa de Productores de Betulia, Department of Sucre, which was able to construct a plant for storage and processing of dried cassava for animal balanced foods, thanks to the credit they received.

An analysis of the real credit (IPC88=100) given by FINAGRO (Fondo para el Financiamiento del Sector Agropecuario) for the years 1980-96 shows that they reached a larger demand in 1990 (Annex Chart 17), a fact that suits the behaviour of the production previously analysed. This first stage shows the government policies that have worked since then, and that have been reflected in the programmes already described. It can be seen that after 1987, a larger proportion of the credit has been destined to the small producer. It was after 1990 that the real transactions of credit decreased especially for small producers, as a result of the new economic model that finished with protectionist measures, in order to free the market and reduce the presence of the state in the economy.

As complementary information on a micro-level, according to the CIAT, a large part of the small producers of cassava has access to credit, as suggested in Chart 15[38]. The main sources of credit that these producers searched for are, for the three technical levels, and in order of importance, the Caja Agraria and DRI fund. On the other hand, information on the technical assistance received by cassava producers, which was mainly received from the ICA, the Caja Agraria, and the producers themselves, as stated by the mentioned study of technological adoption, can be seen in Chart 14.

D. The 1990s decade

The beginning of the decade brought along changes in the economic development model in Colombia; these changes will affect cassava, especially the cassava drying industry. The main component of this new model is the opening of the economy, and as a direct consequence, the liberation of imports, which eventually should dynamically improve the competitiveness of the economy, as it accommodates itself to the competition in a free market, with less involvement from the Government in the economy. In the first years, 1990-94, the model was applied with strength, consequently, the possibility of importing cassava from other countries became more available, and it was in this way, that in 1994 almost 20 000 tonnes of dry cassava pellets were imported from Indonesia, at prices much lower than costs in Colombia (dumping), affecting considerably the national cassava drying industry.

Chart 15: Colombia: Credit and technical assistance services for cassava production in the Atlantic Coast in technological levels (1991)





Receive credit to cultivate cassava




Receive technical assistance to cultivate cassava




* Technological levels: 1 = high, 2 = medium, 3 = 1ow; All figures are percentages of farmers, except for yields

Reactions from dry cassava producers did not take long to arrive, and through their organizations actions from the Government were demanded that would protect disloyal competition, such as that previously mentioned, as they saw their dry cassava stocks rise, and their incomes reducing considerably. The Government's actions, through the Ministry of Agriculture, were basically the convocation of a council from both the cassava producers and the concentrates food industry to come up with solutions for the problems presented.

The crisis and the acknowledgement of the importance of the cassava drying industry for rural development, made possible, to some degree, the elaboration of the plan for the Modernization and Consolidation of the Cassava Industry in the Atlantic Coast, 1995-98. Its main objectives were the consolidation and development of an agricultural model for farmers, revolving around the production of dry cassava and other by-products, based upon the improvement of technology, commercialization, supply channels and other aspects, in order to improve the income received by farmers and produce some rural jobs[39]. Changes in Government (1994-98) brought about new projects and actions intended to complement, and which will be executed simultaneously with the plan.

The plan shows consolidation and development horizons in the cassava drying industries for the next four years, upon two main strategies: the reestablishment and competitiveness of the product, and the diversification and amplification of the present project. Each of the two strategies, likewise, is made up of different programmes summarized in Chart 16[40].

The total cost of the plan added up to around US$4 850 million (prices of 1994), financed primarily by state institutions, 96 percent of which was for the cassava reestablishment programme; the plan also estimated that loans and credits of up to US$48 791 million (prices of 1994) were needed for investments and working capital.

In the first case, 4 percent was destined to finance different investments in mixed drying, hammer mills and drying capacity expansions, while the remaining 96 percent was destined to support as working capital, raw material production (62 percent) that represented 77 952 hectares of cassava-corn cultivation, production and commercialization of dry cassava to be able to offer 262 000 tonnes (11 percent), and regional storage and commercialization of dry cassava (27 percent)[41].

With respect to investments, mills were proposed in order to obtain flour from dry cassava, and in this way, reduce transportation fees due to the dead freights paid for chips; drying capacity expansions do not only refer to the physical expansion of over 2 000 m2 in plants currently below this area, hoping to have at the end of the period over 54 890 m2 of drying floors[42], but also to the construction of new plants with optimal drying space, and to be able to have at the end of the period over 140 000 m2 of new floors for drying fresh cassava[43]. Mixed drying is a system being developed to complement natural drying with forced hot air convection currents, to allow continuous production of dry cassava all year. The experimental phase of this programme will be carried out in the Montes de Maria subregion in the Sucre Department.

Chart 16: Colombia: Programmes and projects of the Modernization Plan for cassava in the Atlantic Coast (1995-1998)




Reestablishment and competitiveness

Market characterization

1. Market research for dry cassava by-products.
2. Market research for fresh cassava by-products.

Research and technology adjustment

1. Fertilization and soil use adjustment.
2. Integral management of weeds in cassava cultivation.
3. Productive models under ecological agriculture criteria.

Modernization of the cassava productive system

1. Production and distribution of basic cassava seeds.
2. Production and multiplication of improved cassava seeds.
3. Production, procedures and trading training.
4. Productive models under CREDED risk in Sucre, Córdoba and Bolívar.
5. Creation and production of mills for flour production.

Cassava supply regulation

1. Handling the seasonal behaviour of the crop.
2. Developing mixed drying systems.
3. Regional storage.

Diversification and amplification

Diversification and promotion of cassava products

1. Usage, adjustments and normalization.
2. Post harvest treatments for fresh cassava.
3. Promotion and establishment of starch factories.

Strengthening of dry cassava

1. Complementation and optimization of the present installed capacity.
2. Expansion of drying capacity.

Layout for the use of soils for cultivation

1. Balance and actual use of soils.
2. Identification of areas for cultivation in Montes de Maria.

It is worth noting the support both the Modernization Plan and the Agrarian Act 101 of 1993 provide for the strategies mentioned, such as the latter, the safeguard rules, which protect against imports and fallen prices, the subsidized loans and credits and availability for the small farmer, the Agricultural Guarantee Fund (FAG), which guarantees up to 60 percent of restructured agricultural loans, the rural capitalization incentive consisting of subsidized credits, between 20 and 30 percent, to maintain competitiveness and reduce risk, and the possibility of risk capital through the Investment Fund for trading and primary transformation companies[44].

In conclusion, the Plan's goals for the next four years are elevating productivity in cassava cultivation by 30 percent, raising by 85 percent operations in drying plants and income by 12 percent, increasing cassava cultivated area from 7 500 to 22 000 hectares, therefore, offering 90 000 tonnes of dry cassava a year, generating 23 000 jobs in production and processing stages in Córdoba, Sucre, Bolívar, Atlántico and Magdalena, producing flour of up to 30 percent of the total dry cassava production, storing 40 percent of the dry cassava production and regulating supply and involving the concentrates industry in the development process.

After two years of implementation, the Modernization Plan had been the subject of meetings and analysis measuring its respective projects and their success, the results of which were summarized in an action realignment programme for 1997[45], justified upon the application of the plan to all regions and not to one in particular, the appearance of new actors in the production process, and the segmentation of producers. The action programme consisted basically of: improvements in cassava cultivation and by-products, modernization and diversification of production and agriculture-industrial programmes; research, characterization and promotion of new markets; social enterprise programmes complemented with an evaluation and follow-up programme. The last two programmes are new to the original proposal and are, additionally, complemented with other new programmes intended to train technicians, involve women in the production process and in the consumption of fresh cassava, production and processing of fresh cassava in Cauca, the creation of a cassava research corporation, and support to the cassava producers' union efforts. Furthermore, interinstitutional efforts have produced the creation of projects pertaining to bitter starch from cassava in Cauca, sponsored by the just created cassava producers' union, an interinstitutional partnership from Cauca and CIAT.

On the other hand, CIAT under its new working model, related especially to resource conservation, poverty and equity, continues to sponsor and support the development of cassava, basically involved in genetics analysis and in developing rural industries. In the first case, support is being given to some projects in the Atlantic Coast, hoping to obtain new cassava varieties that are more resistant to biotic limitations, with higher potentials for drying and adequate quality for other by-products, plus the creation and promotion of cassava multiplication and seed distribution systems[46]. In the second case, CIAT has been participating in joint efforts with different institutions in the second phase of an interinstitutional specifics programme for production, processing, marketing and the organization of small cassava starch industries in Cauca[47], where the intention is to cover 1 500 hectares for cassava farming, together with 50 small starch industries. To obtain these objectives, joint efforts will be made from the Caucan community, the Government and private industries.

In addition to the mentioned programmes, CIAT is working together with NUTRIBAL LTDA, a private company dedicated to food research, and the American Soy Association in an investigation on the nutritional efficiency of concentrates for animals made of dry cassava and soy, in order to substitute cereal use in concentrates. Results so far have shown the possibility of substituting up to 50 percent of corn in bird concentrates, and up to 100 percent of sorghum in pig concentrates, without any loss in weight and or quality, in both cases[48]. Likewise, CIAT is participating in the creation of cassava snacks (fried cassava) together with CIRAD-SAR and the Universidad del Valle.


After the general outline presented, a balance and reflection on the accomplishments and teachings obtained from the projects mentioned are given; additionally, aspects on the limitations encountered by the projects and the current agriculture-industry situation are also mentioned,

A. Accomplishments

The most important of all accomplishments obtained has definitely got to be the technological change, taking into account that at the beginning of the 1970s when cassava farmers only knew of one single use for their product, which was fresh consumption (human and animal), making them liable to the fast perishability of fresh roots, and therefore, to economic loss. This scenery has changed dramatically, and since the Integrated Project, technological changes have been mostly present in two particular areas, production and processing, complementing the commercialization and trading of the crop.

The fact that the farmers worked in poor conditions, with few productive factors on hand, the transferred technology was extremely effective, since farmers did not have the economical possibilities to get to know new and more efficient ones. The best results from the technological changes, can be observed in three regions in particular, Atlantic Coast, Oriental Plains and Santander, the former being the most successful of the three.

In relation to production, increases in both production and productivity levels were accomplished, along with cultural improvements, especially in the manipulation of seeds, the use of stem cuttings for seeding, and the use of machines and chemical herbicides to control the crop. New varieties of cassava were introduced, particularly in the Atlantic Coast and the Oriental Plains, that show high yields and the possibility to cultivate with double purpose, human use and or industrial use, even though its use is not yet massive in the Atlantic Coast.

With regards to processing, the farmers learned the different technologies involved in the natural drying of fresh cassava roots and the plastic bag packing process for fresh cassava, with simple steps and costs, in light of their reality as small farmers. In the first case, farmers acquired their own productive infrastructure based on the cement yard for the actual drying and the cutting machine. For the latter, the sprayer gun for the chemical preserver (tiabenzol) and the polyethylene bags for fresh cassava packing were the biggest innovations.

Technological changes have, and as a complement to the afore-mentioned accomplishments, influenced trading and commercialization of fresh and processed cassava, allowing the possibility of offering better products, with increased value, and, in some ways, in accordance with the requirements and preferences of consumers and the concentrates industry. The first case required the supply of dry and fresh cassava as a raw material for the production of balanced animal food, while the second, required fresh roots to be attractive to the consumer and have adequate promotion, in order to change the habits of the consumer. Cassava producers began to deal with new actors in their production and trading activities, such as the concentrates industry for processed cassava, and supermarkets for fresh cassava.

On the other hand, social accomplishments are reflected primarily in the economic and organizational aspects. Farmers began to receive higher incomes for dry and fresh cassava respectively, as the results of the projects translated into economic benefits, prices in markets increased steadily during the past decade, and demand for dry cassava was constant throughout the years, until importation began. Organizationally speaking, farmers received benefits not only from their own transformation, technology wise, but as results of sales from their different organizations and cooperatives, whose results allowed the small farmers new and better income. Complementary benefits were also obtained from capitalization levels acquired from the series of investments in the processing infrastructure, in particular in the drying cassava businesses. The loans and credits created and given to the small farmer since the Cassava Integrated Project contributed also to the increased income, especially to the organizations and cooperatives.

In addition to the mentioned benefits, organizationally, most of the cooperatives were located in the Atlantic Coast, where most second level organizations for dry cassava trading were created, without great success however. In general, deficiencies appeared after 1990 in the organizations and cooperatives, at that time successful, but which lacked leadership and adequate management to continue growing. Another part of the programmes which contributed greatly to the organizational development was the interinstitutional efforts and projects revolving around the improvement of cassava and its cultivation, supporting farmers in all stages of production.

Further experiences with cassava showed the accomplishment of rural and urban relationships, not only with the new and better relations with markets, but with the aggregate value obtained for processed cassava products and the involvement of private industries in the transformation and processing stages, proving once more the commercial and potential market capabilities cassava and its by-products have. These benefits tend to fade as the possibility to import cassava by-products (starches, flour, pellets) from neighbouring countries, members of the G-3 group, for example, became a clearer reality; and as the technological advances apparently have reached the limit for the small cassava producer, after using natural drying methods for over ten years.

Cassava cultivation, as a result, represents stationary activities in rural areas, and can be thought of as an activity which contributes to fight the problem of migration to urban areas, since it provides jobs, and gives crop growers sufficient income; and allows the continuous efforts on rural development to provide results to farmers, as capitalization and technical programmes are considered, such as the ones in the Modernization Plan.

B. Limitations

One of the main limitations present for cassava producers is related to the way drying technology is applied to fresh cassava, since most of the drying is done by exposing roots to sunshine, the process becomes cyclic and depends on the times of the year when there is more sunshine, that coincidentally is the same as the times of cassava harvest, plus taking into account that according to estimates made by the Modernization Plan, additional investments need to be made in the expansion of drying floor from 1 000 m2 to 2 000 m2.

After these mentioned periods, it is impossible to dry any cassava due to the climate, little sunshine, and to the small amount of roots. Moreover, this restricts the supply of dry cassava all year round, making it difficult to fulfil the constant requirements from the concentrates industry; which is furthermore affected by the lack of storage capacity.

In addition to this restriction, the drying cassava process is also limited due to the lack of root quality control and control over the chips obtained. Dirty and unprocessed roots tend to be used and put to dry, after which, the chips obtained will certainly be affected by the lack of control, and will never fulfil industrial and consumer expectations. Even though the use of bad quality roots for drying, to some extent, is justified by the higher prices in consumer markets than dry cassava industries, the quality should not be put behind because of prices, and negotiations should take place in order to improve dry cassava pricing, and in the same way, improve farmer culture, producing better quality products. The price of cereals is another restriction encountered by dry cassava, since substitute material, such as sorghum, has lower market prices compared to the costs of producing dry cassava, and ever since importations were liberated, sorghum has gained considerable ground on demand taken away from dry cassava; a problem that the Modernization Plan intends to solve as they negotiate the consumption of the whole national dry cassava production with the concentrates industry.

Evidently, for the national cassava drying industry, especially the associations and unions of producers, the deficit in competitiveness to dry cassava from other countries became clear and real, after the dry cassava imports from Indonesia and the later dumping incident, with the corresponding high stocks level, and low prices crisis. Farmers and producers resorted to the Government for protection, and received the help they needed after the changes in the development model of 1990, but left the door open to question the continuous protection of the national cassava drying industry, or whether it was worth promoting improvements in competitiveness and allow free competition.

The limitations that appear for the fresh cassava markets are somewhat different to those mentioned for the dry by-product, and are basically trading, and institutional and public order. Restrictions appear due to problems in adequate marketing channels and failure to identify correct ways of supply and marketing, such is the case of Barranquilla, where marketing channels lack adequate organization; furthermore, other strategies, such as promotions, diffusion and modem packing have not been taken into account when marketing fresh cassava. In the second case, public order has been the main limitations for the development of fresh cassava markets, especially in Santander, where the storage project literally failed due to guerrilla pressures and terrorism, and lack of institutional leadership, after it had had some success with the local farmer organizations and unions.

Common restriction appears, as a result of interaction between actors, such as the clear management and leadership deficiencies shown in the operations of local farmers' and cassava producers' unions, and the farmer itself, who appears to need more knowledge on market and promotion strategies in order to obtain more value for his product, and recognize the benefits he can achieve if quality is controlled, if competition is loyal, or if a better service to clients is organized. Organizations and unions, which were the first thing farmers organized as cassava production was stimulated, became with time, a great limitation to the development of the crop as a means of economic survival, since the institutions created never had adequate management and took on policies that eventually, turned back against the small producer, and ended with the closing of some, or bankruptcy[49].

The slow introduction of new cassava varieties, also played an important role in the downfall of unions, since farmers were hesitant to this technological change, and never risked looking for new varieties with higher yields and quality, especially in the Atlantic Coast, where the Venezuelan variety dominates.

[12] Cock, James H. (1985): Cassava, New potential for a neglected crop. WestView Press, Boulder and London, reports the production of cassava above 2 000 masl in the Andean Range.
[13] CEGA, Evaluación y dimensionamiento del proyecto DRI de producción de yuca seca en la Costa Atlántica. Bogotá, 1995, Cap. 1.
[14] Leihner, Dietrich, Yuca en cultivos asociados: manejo y evaluación. CIAT (International Tropical Agricultural Center), Cali, Colombia. 1983, p.11-12.
[15] Wheatley, Christopher, Diego Izquierdo; Estudio de caso: Almacenarniento de yuca fresca. En Carlos PerezCrespo (ed), Proyectos Integrados de Yuca. Cali, CIAT, 1991. p.68.
[16] Figures taken from: CIAT-DRI, El desarrollo agro-industrial del cultivo de la yuca en la Costa Atlántica de Colombia. Sexto informe. Dic. 86-Nov. 87. June 1988. p.3. For years 90/91, taken from the written communication from CIAT to Mr Thomas T. Poleman, 3 March 1992. For years 93/94 taken from Best, Rupert; Guy, Henry; y Gottret, Maria Verónica, El impacto de la industria de la yuca seca en la Costa Atlántica de Colombia, en Memorias del Seminario Taller Internacional: El desarrollo rural en América Latina hacia el siglo XXI, tomo 11 Experiencias. Bogotá, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
[17] Figures taken from: CIAT-DRI. El desarrollo agroindustrial del cultivo de la yuca, p.12.
[18] CIAT te la. La industria del almidón en el Departmento del Cauca, Colombia. Situational diagnostics done by CIAT with the Fundación Carvajal, CORPOTUNIA (Corporación para el desarrollo de Tunia), CETEC (Corporación para estudios interdisciplinarios y asesoria tecnica), with financial support from CIRAD-SAR (Centre de coopération intemationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement-Departement de systemes agroalimentaires et ruraux) of France.
[19] Cock, James H. (1985): Cassava, New potential, p.48.
[20] CIAT, Situación actual y perspectivas del cultivo de yuca en Colombia. Informe preparado por la sección de economia, Programa de Yuca. Cali, Colombia. May, 1993. p.12.
[21] CEGA, Evaluación y dimensionamiento, Cap. 11, Chart 7.
[22] Ibidem, notes on Chart 7.
[23] See methodological note in attached Chart 14.
[24] Howeler, Reinhardt H. and Ballesteros, Dario. El cultivo de la yuca en los Llanos Orientales de Colombia. Variedades y practicas agronómicas. Serie Boletines Técnicos, Programa de Yuca, No. 1. CIAT. Cali, Colombia, 1987.
[25] Ibidem p.7.
[26] See Annex 2 for a detailed relation of these institutions.
[27] Perez-Crespo, Carlos. Proyectos integrados de yuca. Serie Documentos de trabajo No. 79. CIAT, Cali, Colombia. 1991. pp.29-36.
[28] See, for example, Odilo, Friedrich. "La organización de los pequeños productores como estrategia para acelerar los cambios tecnológicos y sociales", in Marzocca, Angel (editor). En busca de tecnología para el pequeño agricultor. San José de Costa Rica. IICA, 1985.
[29] Finsterbusch, Kurt, and Van Wicklin III, Warren A. Beneficiary participation in development projects: empirical tests of popular theories, in Economic Development and Cultural Change. Vol. 37, No. 3, April 1989.
[30] Taken from the written communication between CIAT and Mr Thomas T. Poleman, 3 March 1992.
[31] Best, Rupert; Guy, Henry, and Gottret, Maria Verónica, El impacto de la industria de la yuca. pp.6-9.
[32] Bode, Paul. El impacto del proyecto de yuca en la Costa Atlántica Colombiana, in Carlos Perez-Crespo (editor). Proyectos Integrados de Yuca. Serie Documentos de Trabajo No. 79. CIAT. Cali, Colombia. 1991. p.160, Chart 8.
[33] Guy, Henry; Izquierdo, Diego, A.; and Gottret, María Verónica; Proyecto Integrado de Yuca en la Costa Atlántica de Colombia. Adopción de tecnología. CIAT, Cali, Colombia, 1994.
[34] Wheatley, Christopher and Diego Izquierdo. Case Study: Cassava storage. Chapter 5.
[35] Ibidem, p.92.
[36] Ibidem, p.91. Chart 5.
[37] CIAT, Metodologias aplicadas a proyectos integrados de yuca. Memories of the Congreso Latinoamericano in Villahermosa, Mexico. 26-28 October 1987. Cali, Colombia, p.28.
[38] Guy, Henry; lzquierdo, Diego A.; and Gottret, Maria Verónica; Proyecto Integrado de Yuca. pp.53-54.
[39] Ministry of Agriculture, Plan para la modernización y fortalecimiento de la Agroindustria de la yuca en la Zp. Costa Atlántica, August 1994. p.8.
[40] Ibidem pp.33-49.
[41] Ibidem, pp.55-57.
[42] Atlántico, Bolívar, Cesar, Córdoba, Magdalena and Sucre Departments.
[43] Bolívar, Cesar, Córdoba, Guajira, Magdalena, and Sucre Departments.
[44] Ibidem, pp.32-33.
[45] Ministry of Agriculture, Ajuste a los criterios de programación y ejecución del Plan para 1997. Sincelejo. December 1996. Mimeo.
[46] CIAT, Project: Desarrollo del cultivo de la yuca en la meseta de Popayin y Norte Caucano, Project: Mejora del potencial genetico para la producción de yuca en la Costa Norte de Colombia, Project: Asesoria para el fornento de la producción de yuca a nivel nacional y la estructuración de sistemas de multiplicación de semilla de yuca. Mimeo.
[47] The first phase was the result of the document "La industria del almidón en el Departamento del Cauca, Colombia".
[48] CIAT-Rural Agroenterprise development project, Annual Report 1996. Draft version, November 1996, p.21.
[49] Mansilla Astete, Hernan. Acción colectiva, cambio institucional y desarrollo rural: estudio de caso Cooperativas de secado de yuca COOPROBE, Betulia, Sucre. Cuadernos de Desarrollo rural No. 36.

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