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The Regional Stakeholders Consultation Meeting for West and Central Africa of the Global Cassava Development Strategy (GDCS) was sponsored by IF AD and jointly organized by FAO and IF AD under the auspices of the FAO Regional Office for Africa (RAF) in Accra, Ghana from 1 to 3 June 1999. A total of 83 participants from 12 African countries were represented, 11 of them from West and Central Africa (Benin,, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'lvoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo) and one from East Africa (Uganda, representing EARRNET). Participants from Colombia and Thailand represented Latin America and Asia stakeholders. Representatives of Farmers' Associations, NGOs, IARCs (CIAT, IITA), NARS and other institutions such as IFAD, FAO, NRI (UK), CIRAD (France), the French Cooperation Agency and GTZ (Germany) were also present, as were regional organizations such as BOAD, UEMOA, CMA/AOC, CORAF and ECOWAS. FAO's Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa addressed the meeting during the Opening Ceremony while the Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and FAO's Representative for Ghana delivered the Closing Remarks. The meeting was well organized and included presentations of scientific papers on cassava, country case studies, regional reviews, results of previous consultations, the GCDS document and four working groups. The final plenary session addressed the important problems raised in each of the group sessions and identified the main issues for implementation of and follow-up action for the GCDS in West and Central Africa. With the presence in Accra of the key people and institutions involved in the Strategy, it was decided to hold a Progress Review Meeting on 4 June 1999. A total of 16 participants attended the review meeting. The main objective of this review was to assess progress made so far in the process of the formulation of the GCDS and prepare a course of action required for the next steps and the hosting of the GCDS Forum. Details of the Regional Consultation and the Progress Review meetings are given in the mission report. The reporting officer (RO) wishes to acknowledge the assistance of FAO-RAF for the logistics and administrative support. The contribution of FAO-RAF staff to the success of the meeting is gratefully acknowledged.


In May 1996, during a meeting convened by IFAD at its headquarters in Rome, the Global Cassava Development Strategy (GCDS) was launched. The meeting, attended by representatives of donor agents, international and regional organizations and selected NARS, recognized cassava as a food security and commercial crop that lends itself to a commodity approach to poverty alleviation. It was also recognized that cassava plays an important role in income generation and reducing the risk of food shortage in developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, where poverty is widespread.

A Global Strategy was considered necessary to:

As agreed during the first meeting, a GCDS requires a coalition of stakeholders including cassava producers and their organizations, governments, donors, technical and research institutions and their networks, NGOs and their networks and the private sector, in order to achieve the objectives listed above.

The strategy is being developed from a number of country case studies and regional reviews, as well as thematic papers focusing some important aspects of the cassava subsector such as markets, environmental issues and gender implications. In a review workshop held in Rome in June 1997, a schedule for completion of the GCDS was agreed upon. The plans covered the preparation of a draft strategy document which would be distributed to regional/international bodies and individuals for comments and modifications. It was also agreed that a series of consultation meetings would be organized in order to obtain feedback from stakeholders.

The Regional Consultation Meeting for West and Central Africa held in June 1999, in Accra, Ghana was the fifth and last of a series that started in 1998. Other consultations held were:

The RO has been involved in the GCDS since the first brainstorming meeting held in Rome in 1996, firstly as representative of Latin American NARS. The RO also organized the preparation of Brazil's country case study for the GCDS and attended the consultation meetings held in Cali (as representative of Brazil) and Cotonou (as FAO Representative).

A progress review meeting was scheduled to take place in Rome, during the first week of June 1999. Advantage was taken of the presence in Accra of the key people/institutions involved in the GCDS and it was decided to hold the Progress Review on 4 June. The next step of the process was the global meeting to be convened by November 1999 in Rome. During the meeting the final document and the implementation plan were to be presented.


The Regional Consultation Meeting for West and Central Africa was held in the FAO-Regional Office for Africa (RAF) headquarters, Accra, Ghana. Due to the lack of precise information on the number of participants and delays in communication, the meeting, which was planned to take place from 10 to 14 May 1999, was postponed to 1–3 June as suggested by FAO and IITA. FAO-RAF provided the necessary logistics and administrative support and nominated a representative for the meeting's Organization Committee. FAO's Crop and Grassland Service supported the preparation of the meeting's programme and material, whilst the necessary arrangements for air ticker a/location and payment of DSA for IFAD-sponsored participants were made by the FAO Investment Centre Division (TCI), under the coordination of Mr Michael Fitzpatrick, Chief, TCII.

The objectives of the consultation meeting were to:

The Programme of the meeting and List of Participants are attached as Annexes 1 and 2. A total of 12 African countries were represented, 11 of which were from West and Central Africa. Participants from Uganda (representing the Eastern Africa Root Crops Research Network, EARRNET), Colombia and Thailand (representing CIAT and Latin American/Asian Stakeholders) and other institutions such as NRI (UK), CIRAD (Brazil/France), the French Cooperation Agency and GTZ (Germany) also attended. Representatives of farmers' organizations, NGOs and the private sector were also present, as well as regional financial, technical and economic organizations such as the Banque ouestafricaine de developpement (BOAD), the Union économique et monétaire ouestafricaine (UEMOA), the conférence des ministres de I' agriculture de I'Afrique de I'ouest et du centre (CMA/AOC), the conférence des responsables de recherche agronomique en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Conseil oust et centre africain pour la recherché et le développement agricoles (CORAF), the African Branch of International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC-AB) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). International (CIAT and IITA) and national research institutes were also represented, as well as extensionists from several countries in the region.

During the opening ceremony the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Mr Bamidele F. Dada, welcomed the participants and reiterated the strategic role of cassava in Africa and FAO's commitment to the crop as a promoter of food security and poverty alleviation. The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture of Ghana, stated that “cassava is a reliable food security crop” and informed that the crop contributes to cash income in Ghana households more that any other crop, being responsible for approximately 25 percent of the total agricultural GDP, seconded by cocoa which contributes with 16 percent. The Ministry of Agriculture of Benin,, represented by its Chief of Cabinet, also stressed the importance of cassava and other root crops for the economy of the country and reaffirmed the commitment of its Government to the crop. Representatives from financial, technical and economic organizations of West and Central Africa also made short statements in support of the GCDS initiative and expressed interest in contributing with ideas and suggestions in the process of developing the Strategy document.

Presentations by IITA's scientists highlighted the advances made on cassava research in Africa, existing problems and opportunities related to actual and potential markets, germplasm development, soil fertility, soil management and plant protection. It was clear that a number of improved technologies is available at regional and global levels which can improve current yields and add value to cassava in Africa. The issues covered by the presentations were in line with the Regional Review document for Africa, prepared by IITA as part of the Global Strategy background documents.

Country case studies for Benin,, Ghana and Nigeria were also presented, all highlighting the importance of the crop as a source of income for farmers and in addition to its traditional role as a staple food crop - its potential as an industrial crop. Special emphasis was placed on the use of cassava in the starch and biscuit industries as well as in the animal feed industry. The case studies also demonstrated the importance of private sector involvement and macroeconomic policy support in the development of the cassava sector, particularly in Nigeria.

Brief presentations were made by representatives of CIAT, CLAYUCA (the Cassava Consortium for Latin America), EARRNET and ISTRC-AB on results of previous consultation meetings held respectively, in Bangkok, Cali, Kampala and Cotonou. Participants were informed on critical issues raised in the other consultations and reactions to the draft document of the GCDS. The presentation by CEWARRNET, the newly formed “Central and West Africa Root Crops Research Network” dealt with the current need for an efficient mechanism for linking the existing national cassava programmes among them and with other stakeholders in the region for sharing of results and experience.

Finally, the draft strategy document was presented. The draft document was prepared by Truman Philips and Don Plucknett and stressed that, in order for cassava to be an effective instrument for promoting sustainable rural development, the approach must be demand driven, incorporating both “bottom up” and “top down” dimensions. These dimensions imply mechanisms for ensuring ownership and the participation of farmers', processors' and marketing organizations and the provision by governments of an appropriate policy environment within which to develop the crop. The presentation raised productive discussions among the participants who agreed with the demand driven approach proposed in the strategy document.

The regional consultation was also an opportunity to exchange opinions within working groups. Therefore, after the presentation of the draft strategy document, instructions were provided by Truman Philips and Marcio Porto on how to discuss the several points of the document in working groups and how to form the different groups.

Groups were formed by countries and themes.

Country groups:

Thematic groups:

Groups 1 and 2 were presented with the following questions:

Question 1: The vision for cassava is described in the draft version of the Global Cassava Development Strategy as: Cassava can spur rural industrial development and raise incomes for producers, processors and traders. Cassava can also contribute to the food security status of its producing and consuming households. Do these statements reflect your own vision for cassava? If they do not, how would you modify them?

Question 2: How would you qualify the relative importance of cassava development in the region, seen from the point of view of achieving food security, equity, poverty alleviation and natural resource conservation?

Answers to question 1 provided by the two groups were:

Group 1: It should be added to the “Vision” that “cassava can contribute to promoting sustainable rural industrial development”.

Group 2: Food security should be stressed and should come before “industrial development”. A definition for “industrial development” is needed.

Answers to question 2 were provided by country, as expressed in Tables 1.1 and 1.2, below:

Table 1.1 Relative importance of cassava in contribution to development goals (Group 1)

BeninB. FasoCameroonCôte d'lvoireGuineaMaliNigerSenegalTogo
Food security3 3 2 123
Equity2 3 3 23?
Poverty alleviation2 3 2 122
Income generation2 3 3 132
Negative environmental impact2 1 1 011
Labour opportunities2 3 2 122
Competition1 3 2 122

1 = Lower importance
3 = Higher importance

Table 1.2 Relative importance of cassava in contributing to development goals (Group 2)

South NigeriaMiddle Belt NigeriaNorth NigeriaGhana
Food security**********
Equity   **
Income generation**********
Negative environmental impact:
- Production
- Post-harvest




Industrial development*******N/c
Import substitutionN/cN/cN/c*** (pos)
Crop displacementN/cN/cN/c*** (neg)

* = Lower importance
*** = Higher importance

Participants of each working group were also asked to:

Results are presented in Tables 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4.1 and 4.2, below:

Table 2.1 Identification of market opportunities for different cassava products (Group 1)

PRODUCTBeninCameroonNigerTogoBurkina FassoCôte d'lvoireGuineaMaliSenegal
Native starch*****-**     
Modified starch ***-*     
Starch derivatives* -*     
Snack/ethnic foods******-***     
Flour** *****     
Animal feed  ***      
Alcohol *-**     
Bread and biscuitS- -***     

Table 2.2 Identification of market opportunities for different cassava products (Group 2)

Native starch**2 (**)
Modified starch**Same
Starch derivatives*Same
Snacks/ethnic foods** 
Improved traditional processed products***1 (***)
Flour***3 (**)
Animal Feed***4 (**)
Alcohol**5 (*)
Cassava chips for export*-
Pulp and paper-6 (*)

* = Lower importance
** = Higher importance

Table 3.1 Summary of research activities or conditions required to realize development opportunities (Group 2)

PRODUCTActivities of products neededCatalysts and championsLimitations
Starch- Post-harvest technology
- Specific varieties
- Post-harvest technology
- Organized supply
- R&D agencies
- Funding agencies
- Private sector
- Government
- Bakers
- Confectioners
- Chambers of commerce
- Farmers' associations
- Funding availability
- Market development Competition with other crops
- Technology
- Road infrastructure
- Information
Starch derivatives- Post-harvest technology
- Market development
  - Bakers
- Confectioners
- Chambers of c commerce
- Farmers' associations
- Funding availability
- Market development Competition with other crops
- Technology Road infrastructure
- Information
Snack foods- Market development  - Bakers
- Confectioners Chambers of commerce
- Farmers' associations
- Funding availability
- Market development
- Competition with other crops
- Technology Road infrastructure
- Information
Traditional products- Post-harvest technology
- Varieties
- Fortification
- Promotion
All households  - Marketing
- Packaging
Flour- Post-harvest technology
- Varieties
- Post-harvest technology
- Market outlet
- Industrial acceptability
 - Bakers
- Confectioners Chambers of c commerce
- Farmers' associations
 - Marketing
- Packaging
Animal feed- Post-harvest technology
- Varieties
- Market development
- Quality
- Post-harvest technology
- Quality
 - Feed millers - Volume
- Timeless supply
- Price
- Grade
- Quality
Alcohol- Market development- Organized supply - Industrialists Private Sector - Technology
- Government policy
- Capital
Pulp/paper - Organized supply
- Awareness
 - Paper mills - Technology

Table 4.1 Relative ranking, by country, of components of cassava-based strategies for meeting development goals (Group 1)

Benin,CameroonNigerTogoBurkina. FasoCôte, d'lvoireGuineaMaliSenegal
Market development1252     
Process/product development2166     
Improved prod, system31017     
Environmental resources79-3     
Crop management98-4     
Varietal development43-1     
Institutional support6469     
Integrating the system811-11     
Farmer part, research10585     
Technology transfer5731     
Info management116-10     

1= Highest

Table 4.2 Relative ranking, by country, of components of cassava-based strategies for meeting development goals (Group 2)

Market development1a1a
Process/product developmentlblb
Improved production systems2a6
Environmental resources issues47
Crop management2b5a
Varietal development2c5b
Institutional supportlc4
Integrating the system58
Farmer participatory research3a9
Technology transfer3b3
Information management3c2

1 = Highest

Groups 3 and 4 addressed, respectively, issues concerning networking and linkages. Group 3 was expected to identify priority areas and links to promote networking activities at regional and country levels. Participants were asked the following questions:

Question 1. Who are the main stakeholders linked to the cassava development process? Answers are presented in Table 5

Table 5. Main stakeholders involved in the cassava development process in West and Central Africa

Policy-makers- Consumers' associations
Distributors/traders- Credit institutions
- Professional associations, including:
- Producers
- Industrialists
- Exporters
- Distributors
Communication specialists

Question 2. Why is networking needed? Major reasons identified were:

  1. Improve skills and professionalism in the subsector.

  2. Organize groupings at regional level.

  3. Increase negotiation capacity in new markets; advocate for increase in export quota.

  4. Economy of scale for reduction of production cost and increased competitiveness.

  5. Better information and organization of members of associations.

  6. Better valorization of cassava products.

  7. Increased opportunities for all stakeholders.

  8. Cope with globalization and competition with Asia and Latin America.

  9. Negotiate reduction in custom charges.

  10. Facilitate joint transportation system to reduce cost of transport.

  11. Exchange of information on available technologies in other regions.

  12. Facilitate dissemination of information among African countries.

  13. Centralization of information on supply and demand.

Question 3. What kind of networks are needed?

  1. A network that involves all stakeholders.

  2. Networks settled up at various hierarchical levels:

    - district level;

    - country level;

    - subregional and regional levels.

Participants of Group 3 were also requested to develop a logical framework for the Strategy having overall goals, outputs, activities and performance indicators. Results are presented in Table 6.

Table 6. Logical framework for the Global Cassava Strategy Development related to networking

Goals/objectives/outputsPerformance indicators
Overall goals:
  1. Information exchange, links established
  2. Contribution to food security
  3. Enhance cassava development in WA A
  4. Increase/sustain production and utilization
  5. Promoting cassava for food and industrial development
  1. Households income
  2. Rate of cassava processing
  3. Contribution to Gross Domestic Product
  4. Volume or value of inter/intraregional trade
  5. Index value for human development
Specific objectives
  1. Information exchange
  2. Establishment of a strategy database
  3. Satisfy food requirements in the region
  4. Collect, store and disseminate information
  5. Forge collaboration between stakeholders
  6. Source funding for network activities
  7. Develop a regional market for cassava
  1. Volume of trade
  2. Number of adopted technologies
  3. Number of people who adopted the technology
  1. Workshops
  2. Communication and publicity campaign
  3. Publications
  4. Directory of stakeholders
  5. Who is who in cassava research and development

Working Group 4 discussed issues related to “Linkages”. Participants represented NGOs, farmers, private sector, financing agencies, project managers, researchers and extensionists. The same questions asked in WG 3 were discussed in WG 4:

Question 1. Who are the stakeholders? Most important stakeholders are:

  1. All individual actors of the chain and all institutional actors

  2. Linkages between the actors and the channel

  3. Linkages between government institutions and their clients

Question 2. Why are linkages needed?

  1. Exchange of information, technologies and results of project impact

  2. Better efficiency in the sector

  3. Better knowledge of market opportunities

  4. Access to credit

Question 3. What types of linkages are needed?

  1. Networks established following the Farmer Field School approach.

  2. Mobilize farmers'/producers' associations at village level and in direct contact with

  3. extension agents.

  4. Small farmers with institutions for credit access; adaptation of micro-financing system.

  5. Linkages between farmers and extension. The latter needs to be strengthened, starting at village level.

  6. Development projects/extension/information services.

  7. Investment of processor into production activities.

  8. Constant interaction for the vertical integration of chain actors.

  9. Linkage between women and cassava (production, processing and marketing) sector.

  10. GTZ: linking different thematic projects (in Ghana) between different institutes; opportunities on regional seed project cooperation.

  11. France: micro-enterprise; post-harvest, farmers' organizations.

  12. CIAT: linkages on farmer participatory related project activities.


The final plenary session addressed the issues raised in each of the group sessions, with individual presentations made by each group moderator/rapporteur, followed by extensive discussions. It was evident that the prospect for cassava development in West and Central Africa is far beyond that of a “subsistence staple food”, referred to repetitively in the past. Cassava in the region is a cash crop and, as such, it is strongly influenced by the internal and, to a lesser extent, the external market governing not only cassava and its products, but also other agricultural commodities. It is also evident that the crop is an important source of income. The role of cassava as a promoter of food security was also strongly emphasized and highlighted during the consultation meeting.

The plenary agreed to identify important issues for implementation in the region, in line with a Global Cassava Development Strategy. The main issues for implementations and follow-up action are listed in Table 7.

Table 7. Issues for the implementation of the Global Cassava Development Strategy in West and Central
Africa and follow-up action needed

Information management/availability/disseminationFinalize report on Regional Consultation by June 1999
Training/human resources developmentStakeholders to approach on an individual of joint basis their respective development partners to seek support in line with strategy priorities and programmes of the concerned partners
Research on production, processing and utilizationFeedback on opportunities for collaboration to be sought by stakeholders from partners in view of forthcoming global forum
Technology disseminationFinal version of the Strategy should reflect country case studies, regional and thematic reviews and the several stakeholders' consultations
Country reviews of constraints and opportunitiesSupport to cassava development should examine the prospects and modalities for interfacing cassava related activities with other relevant investment of technical assistance initiatives
Horizontal and vertical integration within the cassava subsectorStakeholders should explore issues and options for horizontal integration as well as networking at appropriate levels
Integration between investment projects and the cassava subsectorPossible steps for systematic development of the cassava subsector are:
- review of relevant country experiences (country case studies)
- initiate consultative process to identify stakeholders, opportunities and constraints
- identify areas for follow-up
Integration between donors and technical interventions in the cassava subsector 
Establishment of a mechanism to promote the normalization of public/private sector linking at regional level 
The development of the cassava subsector should not be considered in isolation of the overall policy and institutional framework 

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