From Farm to Fork:
3. Case Study Highlights
Nigerian Cassava Flour: Broadening Value Chains for Traditional Crops
Nigeria is in the early stages of an agricultural transformation. Cassava is one of six target crops identified by the Ministry of Agriculture for special consideration, given Nigeria’s position as the global leader in cassava production and the many industrial end uses for the crop. Current production, however, is used only for traditional foodstuffs, aside from a few first movers into value-added products such as high-quality cassava flour (HQCF). Food loss is lower in the HQCF value chain (about 21%) than in the traditional value chain (about 36%), the latter driven by traditional processors’ rejection of small or woody tubers and the perishability of the end product. Achieving profitability in these nascent value chains, however, will require overcoming the logistical challenges of smallholder production networks and cassava’s extremely low value-to-bulk ratio, along with transport infrastructure challenges. Two potential solutions are highlighted here. Implementation of both will require collaborative effort among the public, private and donor-funded sectors.
- Quick win: One promising solution is the creation of collection points, allowing smallholders to consolidate loads for long-distance transport. The public-private Cassava Development Corporation (CDC) has been formed to drive progress in the industry. The implementation of collection points could be a way for the CDC to demonstrate early results and build momentum for tackling bigger issues, like the development of large-scale farming.
- Long-term priority: In addition to cassava-specific supply chain barriers, an organization is being formed to address poor efficiency of transport along Nigeria’s Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) corridor, the main artery for goods flowing between ports and markets in Lagos and agricultural production zones further north. An initial donor-funded assessment identified considerable potential for reduction of costs and delays along this corridor, beginning with accelerating efforts to rehabilitate the nation’s rail network. Improving this underlying infrastructure will be a key enabler to achieving multiple tipping points that will drive continued private investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Indian Tomatoes: Adding Value and Reducing Losses through Processing
Tomatoes present a clear picture of the logistical challenges facing India’s fresh-produce sector. Although India is the world’s second-leading tomato producer, the supply chain is extremely fragmented, the processing industry is underdeveloped and losses during harvest, transport and at “mandis” (i.e. local marketplaces) are around 25-30%. A number of supply-chain-related barriers contribute to these losses and to overall inefficiency in the sector. The path to an efficient supply chain is long, however, as many solutions that are effective in developed countries such as the US and Spain are challenging to implement in the Indian context (e.g. cold storage, contract enforcement).18 Progress will require public-private collaboration, and two of the potential initiatives identified in this case study are highlighted here for further exploration and action:
- Quick win: Plastic crates significantly reduce losses during transport, and are now widely used in India. Further improvements in packaging are possible, along with associated logistical improvements. Unilever and CHEP are collaborating on a pilot to test these solutions, evaluating their impacts on food loss and overall cost competitiveness.
- Long-term priority: The processing industry generates fewer losses and higher yields thanks to the shorter tomato journey and the close working relationship with farmers. The Indian government should continue to work with the private sector to promote the development of this value chain. First movers in processing and established agribusiness companies can help to provide training and access to inputs for farmers, demonstrating the benefits of cultivating tomatoes for processing. In the long run, the fresh and processed value chains could be completely separate.
Kenyan Avocados: Connecting to High-value Export Markets
A number of supply chain improvements have enabled Kenyan avocados to be profitably exported to high-value markets in the European Union (EU). Along the major trade corridor, the Kenyan government made targeted infrastructure improvements (e.g. Nairobi-Mombasa road, Mombasa port capacity and power), creating an enabling environment to promote private-sector investment. Exporters and transporters followed suit by introducing new technologies and capacity building. Their investments in refrigerated containers and covered trucks, along with support for smallholders to acquire export certifications, helped reduce quantitative and qualitative food loss and granted access to new markets. As a result, exports doubled from 10,000 metric tons (mt) in 1999 to 20,000 in 2003. More recently, exports have declined due to quality-related challenges, largely owing to unlicensed “briefcase exporters” and missed trans-shipments in Oman. In addition to loss of value, these and other challenges contribute to food losses of around 15% in the export value chain. Overcoming these hurdles will require new forms of collaboration among all stakeholders – government, farmers, exporters and shipping companies. The Kenyan avocado experience illustrates that value chains must be able to react to changes in market dynamics in order to maintain a virtuous cycle. Two high-potential initiatives have been identified:
- Quick win: A promising initiative is to better inform importers about what they really purchase. Key stakeholders (e.g. exporters, government, importers) could agree on a process to validate the quality of products sold, through grading or certification. Unofficial exporters could then sell their products to less quality-sensitive customers without affecting the reputation of higher-quality exporters and the Kenyan origin overall.
- Long-term priority: Shipping companies and port authorities from Mombasa and Salalah, Oman could collaborate further and exchange more information on potential delays and sensitivity of shipments. When a risk of trans-shipment is high, specific actions or fast-track processes can be put in place. This would minimize the number of missed trans-shipments in Oman.