Have you heard of it? This is the kind of new and innovative product that is coming out of Africa and Nigeria appears to be the biggest promoter of this interesting trend. As part of its plans to become self-sufficient in food production, Nigeria appears to be doing its best to substitute imported wheat with cassava flour in the multi-billion dollar bread and bakery products market.
Cassava, a tuber crop that‘s widely cultivated and consumed in many parts of West and Central Africa, is enjoying a huge boost at the moment. Besides food, cassava is a highly versatile crop which has a wide range of industrial applications. It‘s used to produce starch, ethanol and a cheap but very valuable component of animal feed. The potentials for cassava are simply amazing.
Root and tuber crops like cassava, yam and potatoes have been traditional sources of energy for Africans for centuries. Because raw roots and tubers (especially cassava) do not last in storage and can rot easily, they are consumed almost immediately or processed into forms that can last in storage. Cassava (the most widely consumed root crop in West and Central Africa) is often processed into garri, coarse flour that is consumed as a staple in the region. And now as we have heard it is getting a competitor: bread.
The production of cassava is relatively simple if you have access to well-drained and fertile land. But the most profitable part will not be to grow it, but to process and brand it. Millions are producing cassava, potatoes and other roots – but only a tiny number of Africans are processing or branding their products.
We suggest that you either buy cassava or potatoes from local farmers and focus on the processing and branding element in your business, or incorporate the processing element to stand out if you decide to grow the roots yourself, which is very important.
Production of starch, flour, chips, ethanol and glucose syrup
Cassava bread production
Your own mashed potatoes brand
Top Countries & Policy Guidance
The potential of cassava is increasingly acknowledged and Nigeria especially has made great advances in this regard, actively promoting cassava for local bread production. Cassava processing facilities are now springing up across the country and entrepreneurs have started to package and sell the flour in shops. Cassava is even exported to China! Ghana announced it would export one million metric tons of cassava chips to China between 2013 and 2018 and said it was ready to buy cassava chips from farmers. There are a lot of trends, which could also be advanced in other countries where cassava consumption is popular.
Action & Tips
Get in touch with related farmers‘ associations to find out more about the market
Be innovative with your ideas and widen your horizon. Cassava is being imported to China and Europe as livestock fodder; many African countries are facing a shortage of livestock fodder – could you maybe produce livestock fodder for those markets? Nigeria is promoting cassava bread; what about replicating this in other countries?
Faustina Sakyi – Cassava village entreprise (Ghana)
Faustina Sakyi is a successful cassava farmer and gari producer in Ghana who was recently featured by the UN agency, IFAD. Although she came from a very poor family of cassava producers, using her entrepreneurial talents and inner drive to get out of poverty she started a successful village-based business with 36 women farmers. From her small cassava farm in a remote village, she has today grown a successful cassava-processing business that sells gari beyond her country’s borders to Mali, Niger, Togo and Nigeria.