The cassava tuber which hasn’t been used for anything other than food is now considered as a very versatile product which can be used commercially and/or pharmaceuticals.
The Cassava into Starch partnership was developed when the mines were sourcing for local starch to be used in the processing of minerals (they had initially been importing the starch from Australia) and it was discovered that the starch can be extracted from the cassava which is being grown mostly in Luapula, Northern and North Western provinces of Zambia by Small Holder Farmers.
With an assured market for the starch and available farmers to grow the cassava, the partnership was developed with various stakeholders including input suppliers, researchers, the capacity builders as well as financial institutions, this will in turn create jobs for people starting from the production down to the processing stage.
The extractives sector broker who is the lead broker of the partnership, with the support of the ZBIDF team held a stakeholder’s meeting for the partners on 3rd February, 2016.
The objectives of the meeting included; giving the partners a status update, revisiting the partnership objectives and contributions as well as to establish the partnership governance structure.
The meeting was well attended with all the stakeholders that had been at the previous meeting and new partners who had been engaged like the Zambian Breweries who will be part of the market for the starch extracted from the cassava as well as the World Bank Group who are doing a report on the Cassava Value Chain in Africa and thought the meeting would be useful in their report.
The off taker Premiercon Starch Limited updated all the partners of the steps taken since the last meeting and the perceived roadmap of the partnership. The participants noted that indeed some progress had been made.
This partnership is not only of interest to a large group of people and the ZBIDF team but the government of the Republic of Zambia as well because it is proving to have vast potential for the business and economic growth of the country. Everyone knows what needs to be done and they are eager to move things forward in order to start the implementation of the objectives set out. The objectives of this partnership are:
- Increasing the production of starch
- Promoting of the cassava industry as a sub sector in Agriculture
- Reducing poverty among the Small Holder Farmers by improving the cassava value chain
- Creation of employment along the value chain
- Increasing value addition throughout the value chain
- Industrialization at rural level
It was interesting to note that the partners value and appreciate the work the Facility has done in its pilot phase when they were told that the pilot phase is fast approaching its end hence the need for them to establish a proper governance structure which will sustain the partnership.
“Give us feedback on the requirements of the ZBIDF and we will see how we will move forward because they are needed to keep the partnerships moving forward” said Chris Nicolle, Zambian Breweries.
All the partners have asked for time to go back to their respective organizations to discuss the Partnership Agreement (which has since been circulated by the broker) and getting approval from their board members before appending their signatures at the next meeting to make the partnership official.