Cassava is a vital crop in Africa, with an estimated 60% of the world’s cassava production taking place on the continent. The crop provides an essential source of food and income for millions of small-scale farmers, with more than 80% of the cassava produced in Africa being consumed locally. In addition to its role as a staple food, cassava is also used for industrial purposes, including the production of ethanol, animal feed, and starch.
In spite of the importance of cassava in Africa, the industry faces numerous challenges that limit its potential for growth and development. Low yields, limited access to markets, and insufficient processing infrastructure are some of the primary obstacles that hinder the expansion of the cassava industry. Furthermore, the impact of climate change, pests, and diseases continues to pose a significant threat to cassava production, with many farmers struggling to adapt to changing weather patterns and environmental conditions.
Despite these challenges, there are also opportunities for the cassava industry in Africa. Increasing demand for cassava-based products, such as cassava flour and starch, presents new market opportunities for farmers and processors. Additionally, investments in research and development, improved infrastructure, and better access to finance and markets could help to increase yields and improve the efficiency of cassava production. By addressing the challenges facing the industry and capitalizing on these opportunities, the cassava industry in Africa has the potential to contribute significantly to food security, economic growth, and poverty reduction on the continent.
Here are some statistics and prices related to the cassava industry in Africa:
- Production: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Africa produces approximately 146 million tonnes of cassava annually, making up over 60% of the world’s total cassava production. Nigeria is the largest cassava producer in Africa, accounting for approximately 50 million tonnes, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Other major producers of cassava in Africa include Mozambique, Ghana, and Angola.
- Consumption: Cassava is a staple food in many African countries, and more than 80% of the cassava produced in Africa is consumed locally. In some countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, cassava is the primary source of calories for many people. In Nigeria, the largest cassava-consuming country in the world, cassava accounts for over 50% of the daily calorie intake of the population. In addition, cassava is an essential source of nutrition for millions of people who cannot afford or access other foods.
- Processing: The cassava processing industry is growing rapidly in Africa, with the most common methods including cassava flour and starch production. The processed cassava products are used in a variety of applications, including food, animal feed, and industrial uses such as ethanol production. The cassava flour industry alone in Nigeria is valued at approximately USD 4 billion, with exports to other African countries and the European Union.
- Exports: Africa exported approximately 2.6 million tonnes of cassava in 2020, with Nigeria being the largest exporter. The major export destinations for African cassava include China, Europe, and the United States.
- Prices: Cassava prices vary depending on location, seasonality, and market demand. In Nigeria, cassava prices range from NGN 6,000 to NGN 10,000 (approximately USD 14 to USD 24) per tonne, depending on the quality and availability. In Tanzania, cassava prices range from TZS 120,000 to TZS 250,000 (approximately USD 52 to USD 109) per tonne. Prices may be higher in some countries due to transport costs and market demand.
- Challenges: The cassava industry in Africa faces numerous challenges, including low yields, limited access to markets, and insufficient processing infrastructure. Additionally, the impact of climate change, pests, and diseases continues to pose a significant threat to cassava production, with many farmers struggling to adapt to changing weather patterns and environmental conditions. However, various initiatives and projects are being implemented to address these challenges, including the development of improved cassava varieties, increased access to credit and markets, and the expansion of processing facilities.
Ultimately, the cassava industry in Africa is an essential sector that plays a critical role in food security, economic growth, and poverty reduction on the continent. While the industry faces several challenges, there are also opportunities for growth and development through increased investments in research and development, infrastructure, and market access. By addressing these challenges and capitalizing on these opportunities, the cassava industry in Africa can continue to contribute significantly to the well-being of millions of people and the economic development of the continent.