Supporting Smallholder Cassava Farmers in Nigeria

As part of GCARD 2010, Farming First hosted a session entitled ‘Better Benefiting the Poor through Public-Private Partnerships for Innovation and Action.’ Within the discussions, our panel of experts addressed several case studies that present different ways that partnerships have helped to empower smallholder farmers around the world.

Scott Mall – International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)

The Cassava Plus project is a public-private partnership initiative helping farmers grow cassava for profit. The project is supported by Nigeria’s Taraba, Osun and Benue state governments, implemented by IFDC (a public international organization) and DADTCO (a Netherlands-based for-profit company) and funded by the Schokland Fund of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

With over 38 million metric tons of harvested fresh cassava roots per year, Nigeria is the largest cassava-producing nation in the world. An estimated seven to eight million Nigerian farm families grow cassava, which serves as an important staple food crop for both rural and urban populations in many countries in Africa. In addition to its role as a traditional subsistence crop that provides food security insurance, cassava has great market potential as a source of flour and thus can serve as a partial substitute for imported wheat flour.

IFDC will organize and link farmers to the downstream DADTCO value chain and develop the capacity of farmers, agro-input dealers and other market players. These actions will support commercial production, reduce the mining of soil nutrients and make cassava production environmentally and economically sustainable. The Cassava Plus project has the potential to help change cassava from a subsistence to a cash crop, helping farm families maximize their incomes while also improving agricultural practices and soil fertility.

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