The Cassava Transformation

About the Book

Cassava is Africa's second most important food crop. The cassava transformation that is now underway in Africa is fueled by new high-yielding TMS varieties that have transformed cassava from a low-yielding, famine-reserve crop to a high-yielding cash crop for both rural and urban consumers. Despite this on-going transformation, cassava is being neglected by African governments and international donor agencies because of the many myths and half-truths that exist about its nutritional value and its role in farming systems.

The Cassava Transformation is a synthesis of the Collaborative Study of Cassava in Africa (COSCA), that was carried out from 1989 to 1997 by gathering primary data from 281 villages in six countries: the Congo, the Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. Designed as a follow-up to William O. Jones's classic 1959 work, Manioc in Africa, The Cassava Transformation will be of interest to African policy makers, international donor agencies and food policy analysts.

The book highlights the role of cassava as a "powerful poverty fighter" by increasing cassava productivity and driving down the cost of cassava in rural and urban diets. The book also traces the incremental nature of cassava research in Africa over the past 65 years (1935 to 2000), culminating in the releases of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture's high-yielding TMS varieties in 1977. These new varieties were quickly adopted by farmers in Nigeria, Ghana, and other countries in the 1980s and 1990s as they have increased farm level cassava yields by 40 percent without the addition of fertilizer.

About the Author(s)

Felix I. Nweke is a Visiting Professor of Agricultural Economics and African Studies at Michigan State University.

Dunstan S. C. Spencer is an independent consultant, based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

John K. Lynam is Associate Director of Agricultural Programs in the Rockefeller Foundation.

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Related Topics

Public Policy
International Studies

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