In another development, the Cassava Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA) project introduced to the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
(FUNAAB) in 2012 and led by the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom (UK) has won the 2014 prestigious Times Higher Education Award
for International Collaboration of the Year. A follow-up project, C:AVA II, has been launched and funded with $18.8 million from the
Gates Foundation.

According to the Project Director, C:AVA II, Professor Kola Adebayo, FUNAAB’s Director of Grants Management, the project had been building
on the success of the first phase, adding that it has expanded the cassava value chain in target countries to accommodate industries such as brewery, livestock feed, starch, ethanol and plywood. The event which was held in the United Kingdom had the University of
Glasgow; Imperial College, London; Northumbria University; St George’s University, London andUniversity of Wolverhampton as contestants.

Speaking at the event, the Director, Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and Leader of the C:AVA Project, Professor Andrew Westby, said that
C:AVA’s success was built on long term dynamic collaboration between NRI and its partners in Africa. According to him, “Together, we have
developed a world-leading programme of research and innovation on root and tuber crops which is contributing to global food security.” He
attributed the success of the award to the hard work as well as strong collaborations with the C:AVA project.

In his address, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Enterprise at the University of Greenwich, Professor Tom Barnes stated that, “The C:AVA project was an example of the excellent work that NRI was doing. A particular strength of this work was the translation of the Institute’s collaborative research into impact on the lives of many poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Corroborating him, the Vice-Principal (International), King’s College, London and one of the Judges, Dr. Joanna Newman noted that Greenwich had given a very clear lead to a complex web of international partners. “This project was very impressive for its scale, transforming the livelihoods of 90,000 subsistent farmers,” she said.

It has been ascertained that Cassava is the most cultivated crop in Africa. Unfortunately, most cassava farmers are poor. This is because the
root crop is highly perishable and the locally produced cassava flour is of poor quality. To tackle these challenges, the Cassava: Adding
Value for Africa (C:AVA) project developed technology to turn the root crop into an affordable product, to replace imported wheat and corn,
supported by further interventions along the supply chain to boost its value.

To deliver the project, NRI partnered five universities (one each from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi), backed by $16.7 million
(£10.5 million) awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since inception, C:AVA has processed about24,000 tonnes of high-quality
flour, supporting 89 village processing groups and 51 small enterprises and the annual income of about 90,000 farmers has been
increased from $310 to $370, enabling many to diversify their crops and send their children to school.

It is expected that after five years, C:AVA II would have facilitated systems where smallholder farmers would have sold more than two million tonnes of fresh cassava roots to targeted value chain in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.

Last Updated on December 16, 2014 by admin

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