Processing African cassava peels, potentially a billion dollar business

Bags of high quality cassava peel mash feed, Ibadan, Nigeria
Bags of high quality cassava peel mash feed, Ibadan, Nigeria

With livestock production expected to more than double in the next 40 years, transforming cassava peels into high quality feed holds huge potential for African economies struggling to meet rapidly rising demand for animal-source products, according to research proposal recently published by three CGIAR centres.

Africa’s estimated 50 million tonnes of cassava peel waste per year could generate at least 15 million tonnes of HQCP, substantially addressing shortfalls in the supply of animal feed and eventually creating a USD 2 billion a year industry.

The research has been proposed by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and International Potato Center (CIP), with the support of CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) on Root Tubers and Bananas (RTB), Humidtropics, and Livestock and Fish. Working closely with private sector partners, ILRI is leading the effort to develop and improve innovative technologies for processing cassava peels into high quality livestock feeds.

Within five years, the proposal sets out to facilitate the production of high quality feed from cassava peels, creating approximately 100,000 jobs and eliminating more than 20% of dangerous cassava peels from the environment. According to the projections, the knock on effects could benefit the wider African economy by as much as USD900 million over the project life, enabling the private sector to become independent, and drive increased uptake of related technologies and product uses.

The CGIAR centres are seeking USD25 million to implement the five-year project and the proposed work will be undertaken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, responsible for at least 40% of Africa’s annual cassava production. The research is being led by ILRI Ibadan, in collaboration with IITA and the Humidtropics, Livestock and Fish and RTB CRPs; each of which is present in at least one of the four countries. ILRI and IITA Nigeria will serve as the hub for coordinating, evaluating and fine-tuning the project activities.

Approximately 98% of Nigeria’s cassava peels annually are wasted due to constraints associated with drying and concerns about safety of use, particularly hydrocyanide and mycotoxins-related food poisoning. Drying peels outside—practically impossible during the rainy season—takes two-three days otherwise. Consequently, peels are left to rot in heaps or set on fire—polluting the nearby air, soil and groundwater and wasting a potential feed resource.

In 2015, CGIAR scientists developed low-tech ways of transforming wet cassava peels into high quality, safe and hygienic feed ingredients within eight hours, producing one tonne of high quality cassava peel (HQCP) mash from three tonnes of wet peels. Thus, Africa’s estimated 50 million tonnes of cassava peel waste per year could generate at least 15 million tonnes of HQCP, substantially addressing shortfalls in the supply of animal feed and eventually creating a USD 2 billion a year industry on the continent.

Livestock producers would have access to better and cheaper feed, reducing operating costs and potentially boosting the quality and quantity of animal-source foods produced. In addition to the additional supply of grain available for human consumption, consumers would benefit from the availability of cheaper and better animal-source foods, improving health outcomes, particularly the cognitive health of children.

Read the research proposal summary of the report “Scaling the use of cassava peels as quality livestock feed in Africa”

Blogpost by James Stapleton (ILRI), originally published on the ILRI News blog
Photo courtesy: ILRI/Iheanacho Okike)

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is actively involved in the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development – #GCARD3


6 thoughts on “Processing African cassava peels, potentially a billion dollar business

  1. this is a great idea, it could really help to transform our nation..animal feeds are expensive and these could be a little cheaper..we could help reduce wastes (waste management), we could make cassava farming extensive farming..we could create jobs for the many unemployed youths…and there is a great potential in Malawi

  2. Cassava wast can be a big business for Africa as i have already tested and found its good feeds for both pig and cattle ,if well dry and additional ingredients added

  3. I will appreciate if I can be linked on more details regarding the processing and uses and how to make it available.

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