20 Apr TAAT Cassava Compact: Supporting the Togolese Government Initiative on cassava
A Presidential Initiative on Cassava
The agricultural sector occupies an important place in the economy of Togo, significantly contributing to the gross domestic product. The cassava subsector has been identified to have high growth potential for contributing to job creation, improved incomes, and living conditions of people. Despite the diversity of products that can be derived from cassava for industrial application and export, the processing of cassava in Togo remains artisanal and traditional cassava products such as fufu, gari, or tapioca have had limited commercial transactions.
The Togolese government therefore launched a Presidential Initiative on Cassava to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, improved livelihoods, and job creation, and promote cassava as a foreign exchange earner.
The development of the cassava subsector in Togo is a key component of a national effort at diversifying the Togolese economy to generate employment, contribute to food security, and sustain incomes for the populace. To achieve these, the government identified IITA, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Cassava Compact of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) as integral partners in achieving the objectives of the Presidential Initiative.
TAAT Cassava Compact in Togo
Following the launch of the first phase of the Presidential Initiative on Cassava in June 2018, the Togolese government prioritized the development and promotion of the entire cassava value chain to improve the well-being of the population. AfDB, through the TAAT Cassava Compact, provided technical support through technology introduction, capacity building, and other forms of technical assistance.
Togo also welcomed a delegation of the TAAT Cassava Compact in Lomé in June and July 2018 to discuss partnership modalities for improving crop productivity and increasing opportunities for producers and consumers. The visits also enabled the TAAT Cassava Compact delegation to take stock of the cassava sector in Togo, ascertain existing facilities, as well as organize information sessions for the youth. This enabled the team to develop an action plan for providing the Presidential Initiative effective technical assistance.
Following the development of the joint action plan, Togolese researchers carried out a situational analysis of the cassava sector to better understand the challenges and opportunities, and how to address or take advantage of them. The TAAT Cassava Compact introduced a new technology (Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics or SAH) for rapid multiplication of planting materials of improved varieties for farmers to facilitate adoption. Technical staff at ITRA (Institut Togolais de Recherche Agronomique), the national institution responsible for cassava research, were trained at IITA, Ibadan, on the use of the SAH technology.
TAAT Cassava Compact paid the license fee to a US firm permitting the country to use this technology. This will enable ITRA to generate a minimum of 250,000 cassava plantlets per year. TAAT Cassava Compact also donated laboratory materials for the use of the technology, which will enable the trained ITRA technical staff to start using the technology.
To address the challenge of malnutrition, planting materials of provitamin A cassava varieties were transferred from IITA Ibadan to Togo. These were multiplied to provide 200,000 cuttings distributed to seed growers in the next planting season to generate 1 million cuttings. The Compact also supported Togolese researchers to begin field multiplication of the nutrient-dense varieties in three locations. At maturity, the planting materials would be distributed to selected farmers who will undergo training to become a new generation of cassava “seed” producers that will be selling planting materials to farmers. This will help Togo to increase cassava yield from the current 3.8 t/ha to an average of 25 t/ha.
TAAT Cassava Compact also conducted a training on the use of high-quality cassava flour for making bakery products and confectionery. The trainees have become trainers, initiating a series of training sessions for bread bakers, confectionery makers, and other actors in two regions with technical backstopping provided by the Compact.
As part of the presidential initiative, TAAT Cassava Compact, the Bureau for Special Projects of the Togolese Presidency, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, established a Technology Delivery Consortium (TDC) comprising more than 12 institutions to undertake nationwide delivery of modern cassava technologies offered by TAAT to farmers and other value chain actors. To complement this, the Government of Togo’s mechanism for promoting agricultural financing (MIFA) continues to create an enabling environment for sustainable growth of the cassava sector by initiating the registration of nearly 1,500 cassava producers and about 6,500 non-cassava farmers who were linked to financial and insurance institutions. The farmers were guided on making market contracts with other value chain actors. Nearly 140 cooperatives with about 4,000 members (40% women) with approximately 5,000 hectares have been structured to cultivate cassava and other crops.
TAAT Cassava Compact, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, and ITRA are working together to establish two modern cassava processing centers in Togo. The Compact has procured the machinery for the centers and will train cassava processors and other actors on modern processing techniques, quality management systems, and equipment manufacturing. The Compact will continue assisting the Togolese Presidential Initiative on establishing the Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics laboratory; and providing technical backstopping to youth and women farmers to become seed growers. The Compact will also provide technical assistance to the government and interested private sector entities to establish additional modern cassava processing factories while MIFA will be supported to develop investment plans (credit and risk sharing system) to catalyze investments by the private sector, youth, and women.
Already there is a noticeable change in the production of bread and other pastries by bread bakers and confectionery makers using high-quality cassava flour. In future, an assessment will be made to see the added value of the use of this flour on the economy and food, but also the effects of the introduction of improved varieties of provitamin A cassava to/from Nigeria/Togo. These efforts will be replicated in other African countries.
This story was jointly contributed by TAAT Cassava Compact and the Togolese Cellule Présidentielle d’exécution et de suivi des projets prioritaires