Project Overview

Given the hastening effects of climate change, coupled with the need to diversify both South Africa’s staple food basket and sources of industrial raw materials among other concerns, cassava exhibits enormous potential in addressing such. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) earmarked cassava as the crop of the 21st Century. Among other policy and government initiatives, the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) for instance reports that the value chain of cassava exhibits a high growth potential and is labour-intensive. As a food security crop, cassava’s importance is attributable to its high resilience and adaptability under a wide range of ecological conditions, its tolerance to drought, its ability to be grown on soils with a low nutrient capacity and it can be kept for a long period in the ground before harvesting. As an industrial crop, cassava is highly versatile such that it can be used in several products including bio-ethanol, flour, paper, textiles, food additives, animal feed, and pharmaceutical industries.

Thus, sustainable cassava production presents the potential of stimulating industrial cassava starch production (among other products) without necessarily compromising the country’s food security status while contributing towards job creation, and inclusive growth of vulnerable groups i.e., women and youths. Despite cassava’s importance, it is underutilised and its value chain is under-developed in South Africa. In the recent past, there have been efforts to develop research projects and facilitate dialogue on the crop, but there is still limited knowledge about its value chain and the derived products.

As an endeavour towards bridging this gap, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) through the Agricultural Bio-economy Innovation Partnership Programme (ABIPP), on behalf of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) commissioned the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) to undertake a feasibility assessment of the cassava value chain. The NAMC partnered with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), FABCO Primary Cooperative Limited (FABCO) and Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) to conduct the study.


The overall objective is to generate evidence-based information upon which informed policies and interventions are foreseen to be made to spur further development of the cassava value chain in South Africa.

Specifical objectives

  1. To quantify and validate market opportunities for cassava and its derivatives locally and internationally.
  2. To analyse farmers’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceptions (KAP) towards cassava production.
  3. To establish a database of how much cassava and its derivatives is produced in the country and to evaluate the important substitution benefits of local cassava production.
  4.  To conduct a cost-benefit analysis of cassava starch production vis-à-vis starch production from maize and potatoes.
  5. To identify viable entry points in cassava value chains and facilitate market access for targeted farmers including women and youth.

Study Results

Data example to be deleted (Source: https://socialcompare.com/)





A value chain analysis of the cassava sub sector in South Africa

Stakeholder engagement held at KwaZulu-Natal, uMhlabuyalingana (uMkhanyakude Local Municipality) on 17 October 2023 and Richards Bay (uMhlathuze Local Municipality) on 19 October 2023 for the cassava value chain project.

Ronald Netshiongolwe: Innovative Cassava Processor

Through engaging stakeholders within the cassava value chain, a pivotal consultation was conducted in August 2023 with a prominent cassava processor in Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, facilitated by a structured open-ended questionnaire. The engagement revealed insights into the functioning of the cassava processing.

Cassava Stakeholder Engagement in Tzaneen

The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), in partnership with the collaborating partners —FABCO Primary Cooperative Limited (FABCO), the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), and the Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), organised a stakeholder engagement workshop on the 20th of June 2023 in Tzaneen (Limpopo Province) with an overarching aim of disseminating information regarding further development of the cassava value chain.

Cassava Producers to Markets

Linking Phalaborwa Cassava producers to Markets with a potential buyer for Cassava tubers, cassava powder and cassava leaves.

KZN Jozini Cassava Site visit and Information day

Dr Michael Bairu speaks on ways to promoting cassava.

Walter Tembe Calls for a cassava indaba in Umkhanyakhude KZN

He further explains how it could be impactful if the gov. departments were to get together to promoting cassava at a higher level.


Growing cassava in South Africa – a crop for livelihood and food security

Food self-sufficiency and food security has long been an important objective of agricultural and rural development in South Africa. Section 27 of the Constitution of South Africa (Act No.108 of 1996) stipulates that everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water (S. 27(1)(b)) and that the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization of this right (S. 27(2)). In an attempt to realise this constitutional imperative, the government of South Africa through the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) developed the Integrated Food Security Strategy for South Africa (IFSS) (DALRRD, 2002).

Why South Africa’s crop sub-sector must diversify: A sub-sector deconcentration perspective

For the South African economy to address the prevailing tripple burden of high unemployment (over 30%), poverty (income inequality) and food insecurity (at household level), while at the same time working towards deconcentrating the agricultural sector, there is an urgent need to invest more in, and to promote under-utilised and under-developed value chains. For instance, new value chains (cassava, cowpea, bambara groundnut or amadumbi) present an opportunity for new entrants to participate in the multiplication and distribution of phytosanitory approved planting materials within local communities, especially if the distribution rights are not limited to a handful of market participants.

How cassava can change the high feed cost burden in South Africa’s livestock sector

Cassava is a root vegetable with numerous uses both as food or a raw material for industrial purposes. From the animal feed perspective, cassava has been proven to be a cheaper and viable alternative that can replace maize at varying combinations without deleterious effects on both production and performance of livestock. Whereas no known empirical studies have been conducted in South Africa, rural communities in cassava producing communities of South Africa use cassava leaves, stems tubers & pellets to feed animals. Furthermore, existing evidence from other African countries presents opportunities to explore and learn some lessons. For instance, cassava has been successfully used in Ghana...

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