Focus | 13 Apr 2012
Useful hints, recommendations on cassava exportation
The surplus production of cassava where it is exported enters international trade in different forms. Cassava could be transformed as chips, broken dried roots, flour, tapioca and starch. Dried cassava roots and meal are used as raw material for compound animal feed, while cassava starch is used for industrial purposes; grocery tapioca or garri is used solely for human consumption.
World cassava export statistics
The principal markets for cassava products are in Europe - the European Economic Community importing the lion’s share of dried roots. The United States, the United Kingdom and Japan mostly import cassava starch.
Although statistics of world trade in cassava products are not readily available, making it difficult to estimate the total quantity entering international trade, the import statistics of the EEC and the United States show a substantial increase in recent years, particularly for dried cassava roots.
Largest importers of cassava products
The following countries were the highest importers of cassava according to FAO records. United States
The present annual consumption of all starch products in the United States is about 3 million metric tons. Cassava starch comprises about 1.5 per cent of all commercial starch consumed and is imported from many countries, but mainly Thailand and Brazil. The rest of the consumption is, however, almost all corn (maize) starch. The rising utilization of starches is the result of population growth, new applications of the starch and the growth of certain industries which use starch, particularly the paper industry. Cassava starch enters free of duty and its importance on the U.S. market is dependent on its price. It competes in price with maize starch and potato starch.
The United Kingdom’s imports of cassava and starches amount to about 2 500 tons per year and are used in food preparation rather than for industrial purposes.
Japan is potentially an important market for cassava starch because the price of locally produced starch is high and the traditional production of sweet potato and white potato starch is decreasing. The local production is about 800 000 tons a year of a national consumption of 1.3 million tons of starch. However, imports of cassava starch now are nonexistent owing to the competition of maize starch.
Japan is fast becoming an important new market for cassava chips as there has been an increasing demand for raw material for the compound feedstuff industry. However, the general policy in the country is to import raw materials rather than finished products in order to encourage local industries. In addition, the Government imposes a quota system on imports and an import duty of 25 percent on all cassava products.
European Economic Community
The international demand for cassava products for animal feed is concentrated in western Europe and the European Economic Community, especially the Federal Republic of Germany. As these countries have the most developed compound animal feed industries, and as prices of feed grains have been increasing, they are considered the major outlet for exporting countries of cassava products.
In the Netherlands, the most advanced country in this field, the rates of increase of compound feedstuff consumption per head are small and there is even a decline in some uses (pigs and poultry); however, in the Federal Republic of Germany, France and Italy the rates of increase are very high and will continue to be so until the consumption per head reaches the present level of consumption in the Netherlands.
Those who matter in cassava product trade
Trade in cassava products is handled by shippers, importers and agents. Some importers are also agents who act on behalf of foreign suppliers and conduct their business on a commission basis in order to lessen the risks.
Freight rates for bulk pellets are much lower than those for chips in bulk and other products. During transport, especially on long voyages, deterioration caused by moulding, heating and sweating may be a problem. Source, www.fao.org
Food and Agricultural organisation’s advise for importers
The compound feedstuff industries require large quantities of cassava products. Because of the increasing competition in the production and marketing of these products, producing countries are advised to take the following recommendations into consideration:
As the economics of international trade require minimum quantities per shipment, exporters should ensure that regular quantities are available for year-round export.
Each importing country has a minimum quality standard for each product. It is therefore important that an exporting country establish a quality-control system to maintain the quality of its exported products. Once an above standard quality is maintained, the exporter will gain a good reputation and even receive a premium for his products.
Export prices must be based on world market prices. Exporters must always remain informed of price fluctuations and trends in the international market.
Bulk shipment is preferable to transport in bags. It is therefore advisable to have bulk-loading facilities in the ports of the exporting countries. These facilities can also be used for other agricultural or mineral products.
Exporters must have enough experience in international trade to deal with experienced and established importers. They can use the experience of suitable firms or agents in the importing countries to establish good trade relationships until they acquire the necessary knowledge.
“Nobody has complained after consuming our cassava products”,
Abei Ndi Rose, President Ambitious Women, Kake II
When did you start making garri as group ?
We started since 2004. Cassava is our main crop. Our members are very interested but we have limited in means. We have a plot and the machines for making garri, but we don’t have the money to build the house for our equipment; we are renting.
If some body gives you a loan, will you be able to pay back after producing garri ?
Yes we are capable. But the money should be given at the right time so that it goes to the farms. For example if you give a loan at the wrong time it may go for different things. The loan and the repayment should follow our farming calendar and I bet you we can produce even 500 bags a year if we have loans.
So when do you think loans are appropriate to you ?
If we receive a loan from January to April when we are cropping the cassava we will be sure to start repaying in the dry season when the cassava is ready. This is when you can rent farms here. After this time it will be difficult to get a farm.
Why is land a problem ?
For us here most of the land is occupied with cocoa. A few farmers reserved some. We go and rent from them. Much of the lands are cocoa farms.
Your machine has the capacity to transform how much garri ?
The machine is mostly for garri and watafufu. Farmers in Kake, Ekumbi, Barombi and even Kumba town can use the machine to grind their garri and fry here. We have good frying basins and firesides. This shows that the machine can carry as much as we can work. We scarcely make watafufu because of the market.
How do you people remove cyanide from the cassava ?
The agric technicians here have helped us on how to manage and remove the substance. RUDEC has taught us a lot on how to remove the toxic substance. No body has complained after consuming our cassava products because farmers know how to treat the cassava. We have two kinds of cassava. The cyanide is much in white cassava and here we don’t eat white cassava. We use it for secondary products like cassava so that we remove the cyanide during the process of making the garri, myondo, watafufu. The only cassava we cook and eat here is the red cassava. Even with this one when it is overdue in the ground it cannot be eaten like that.
How do you remove the substance in garri ?
We grind the cassava; sieve it and then frying and adding oil removes the substance completely.
Which species of cassava you use for your garri, hybrid or traditional?
We started with the local one and it was not doing well so we went for better species from IRAD and RUDEC.
“Buyam-sellams” come right to Kake for garri”, Anastasia Mongong, Secretary Unity and Progress Women CIG, Kumba
How long have you been in cassava business ?
I cannot even remember when we started working and transforming cassava into gari.
When do you work and harvest the cassava ?
We work cassava according to seasons. We work cassava in any month but we target harvesting in the dry season. The problem is that though cassava does well all round here we have to target the dry season for easy evacuation. When our group harvests the cassava we produce garri, watafufu, starch and kumkum. The rest we eat as food.
Which of these items sell well ?
Garri sells well, even watafufu.
How long does it take your group to produce a ton of garri ?
When we are harvesting cassava it takes us less than one week. This is because after harvesting, we clean, grind, tie and then fry.
How much garri can your group produce this year ?
We have not started harvesting, so I can’t know how much we will produce. We will harvest around January.
Who are those who buy the starch, garri and other cassava products you produce ?
“Buyam-sellams” come right to Kake looking for garri, we also sell in the market.
How much do you sell garri here ?
It depends the season. Sometimes it’s cheaper; at times it’s costly so one cannot say it is this or that. In Januaury we sell 15000 to 16000 francs for a fertilizer bag. We sell a 20 litre bucket when there is enough food for 5000 francs.
Who buys your starch ?
We sell our starch to those who need it in the market. There is a market for starch but in the Kumba markets. It is only garri that people come looking for us in our houses.
How much gari can your group produce in a year ?
We produce tons every year. Sometimes our yields drop because of problems. When we have much cassava, we are sure of enough gari and money.
How do you store the garri to avoid molding ?
We have no reason to keep garri. We make the garri and take it straight the market. We don’t package as if we want to export because we don’t have such a market, the only thing is that we fry it well to avoid fermentation. We really need soft loans or grants to get to this level. With enough income we will rent more land and work more cassava and we will make more income to help ourselves and the society. By BDS