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CassavaGmarket, a project led by the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich, working closely with six international partners, including the Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project (CAVA II); wrapped up their third annual review meeting recently in Blantyre, Malawi, witha renewed commitment to share knowledge and technologies for the development of cassava value chains in target countries.
The annual review meeting which was hosted by Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, Malawi, attracteda number of participantsincluding the Project Leader of CassavaGmarkets, Prof Keith Tomlins; Ms.Maria Chiara Femiano, a representative from the European Union; the Project Director of CAVA II Project, Prof Kolawole Adebayo; and other experts from United Kingdom, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, India and Malawi.
The review meeting provided an opportunity to share results, knowledge and technologies to allow the development of value chains linking smallholder farmers to growing markets for high quality cassava flour (HQCF) and related products in the context of climate change and variability.
Seven work packages (WP) of the project were reviewedat the meeting. The research results focused on the seven work packages which include: assessing the impact of climate change on cassava flour value chain; understanding the impact of cassava brown streak disease in producing HQCF and related products; developing specific technologies to improve the efficiency of Small and Medium Enterprise level processing; ensuring the safety and quality of processed cassava products in market orientated production; expanding the range of uses of HQCF and related products to meet identified market demands; maximizing gender and livelihood impacts of value chain development; and establishing and disseminatingdocuments on best practices in cassava value chain development.
The overall results of these work packages focus on improvements to HQCF and related product value chains enabling smallholder farmers to benefit from improved market for their produce. The Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA II) Project, validates the research outputs in the value chains and documentation/dissemination of best practice guidance through a Community of Practice developed. Experiences from India as sources of innovation through Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI)also contributed to the development of cassava drying systems and product development in the focus countries. The project delivers international public goods within the value chains for HQCF and related products to benefit small-holder farmers by enabling them to enhance their food security (through cassava availability) and increasing incomes through value addition. The cassava value chain also contributes economic growth by providing employment opportunities and import substitution.
In his opening remarks, the Principal of Chancellor College (University of Malawi), Associate Professor Richard Tambulasi, highlighted the relevance of sharing progress reports. He noted that such collaborations contribute to the development of cassava value chain. He reiterated that the project’s goal was in-line with University of Malawi’s mission and objectives; which is to advance knowledge, promote wisdom and understanding by engaging in teaching, research, consultancy, and public and community engagement; and by making provision for dissemination, promotion and preservation of learning responsive to the needs of Malawi and global trends.
Delegates were taken for a field trip to appreciate developments undertaken in Malawi as a result of complementary work between CassavaGmarkets and CAVA projects. The visit included flash dryer processing location at Njuli, and two end use markets utilising HQCF at NAMPAK and Carlsberg Brewery.