(Ecofin Agency) - The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa's second-largest cassava producer, after Nigeria. The tuber is the country’s most-consumed staple and an essential agricultural product for value creation in rural areas.
The minister of agriculture of DRC, Désire Nzinga Birihanze, kicked off the "Cassava Value Chain Development Project" in Kinshasa on November 2.
With a total cost of $6.5 million, the program is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). It will be implemented over the period 2023-2027 in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
"This project will improve the functioning of the cassava value chain with interventions at each link such as input and seed supply, root production techniques, processing, quality standards and the business environment. It will take an integrated approach to addressing low cassava yields by combining best agricultural practices", reads a release.
The focus will also be on promoting the use of cassava flour in bread-making and pastry-making. This aligns with the Congolese government's ambition to substitute 10-20% of wheat flour used in bakery products with cassava bread flour, with a view to reducing bread production costs and wheat imports.
According to official data, on average, the DRC’s cassava purchases on the international market stand at $87 million per year. In 2021, the country produced 45.6 million tons of cassava, according to its Central Bank (BCC).