A technology to improve the situation of cassava farmers

CassVita has developed an innovation to minimize post-harvest cassava losses and thus improving income for farmers.

Context

Cassava is grown by 20 million farmers in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. However, it has a shelf life of 2 days after harvest. Consequently, about 40% of crops are lost, resulting in an inability for the farming community to benefit from it, which leads in significant loss in income. Globally, 93 million tons of spoilage are recorded annually (Naziri et al, 2014).

Minimising cassava spoilage could be a solution to alleviate poverty in farming communities as farmers would be able to monetize more of their harvest and therefore have more sustainable livelihoods.

Proposed innovation

The innovation developed by CassVita is based on two dimensions:

  • A transformation technology, in powder form, that increases the shelf-life of cassava from 2 days to 18 months. Through its cooperative, CassVita has already piloted this technology and observed a decrease in cassava losses (from 40% to 10%) of the harvest, with an increase in income of 400%.
  • A farmers’ relationship technology, funded by FID, with an alert system and a notification tool that will improve the synchronization of the cassava cultivation and production.

The farmers’ relationship technology aims at:

  • minimising difficulty in managing farmer coordination as CassVita scales to other farming communities;
  • facilitating payments and encouraging saving habits for farmers by integrating mobile money (1% of CassVita’ farmers have bank accounts);
  • standardizing the transformation process, improving CassVita’s ability to make projections.

Expected results

CassVita intends to reduce cassave spoilage from 10% of harvest to under 5%, leading to an increase in per capita income per day and facilitate financial inclusion for farmers.

If the project is successful, CassVita plans to evaluate the impact of the technology with a randomized controlled trial and scale it to more farming communities in Cameroon.

Copyright : Rodrig MBOCK

Presentation of the team

The Lead implementing organization is CassVita LTD, a private company founded in 2018 by Pelkins Ajanoh and Nembu Milton. CassVita currently partners with Investisseurs et Partenaires (I&P), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Harvard University, providing support in the form of loans, grants, mentorship, and workshops.