This blog was written by Marian Tandoh Wordey, the Business Development Advisor for CAVA – Cassava Adding Value to Africa, a cassava value chain project where she directly supervises field business facilitators in cassava value chains within the southern sector of Ghana. Marian recently participated as a panelist in the Agribusiness Dialogue Breakout Session at the GBSN/EFMD Joint Conference in Africa this past November. Her bio is below.
Marian Tandoh Wordey
Business Development Advisor for CAVA – Cassava Adding Value for Africa
Marian Tandoh Wordey is a Business Development Expert and Agri-business specialist with over 13 years of experience, working with Multi-National Agro-Processing company, Agri-business and Value Chain projects, SMEs, etc. She has a wide-range of experience in marketing and business development, agricultural value chain projects, rural enterprising projects, business advisory services and capacity building. She has effectively designed and implemented training programmes for value chain actors engaged in cassava, yam and rice processing for both local and international markets. She has successfully introduced the project newsletter concept and edited about four editions of an EU sponsored project “GRATITUDE – Gains from Roots and Tubers.”
Currently, Marian is the Business Development Advisor for CAVA – Cassava Adding Value for Africa, a cassava value chain project where she directly supervises field business facilitators in cassava value chains within the southern sector of Ghana and has been providing consultancy services for SMEs, and projects on agribusinesses.
As a Chartered member CIMÐ UK, she holds 1st degree in Economics and an MBA from University of Cape Coast and Maastricht School of Management respectively. Marian has had extensive training in agri-business, supply chain management, pro-poor value chain development and international business.
Impact of Agribusiness Management Program on Cassava Production in Ghana
I was engaged in CSIR-Food Research Institute in 2012 to manage the business aspects of one of their flagship projects “CASSAVA ADDING VALUE TO AFRICA” CAVA. Few years into the job, I got enrolled into a BMGF funded agribusiness management program organized by AABS which was being implemented by GIMPA. The aim of the program was to transform and promote excellence in agriculture in Africa through equipping agribusiness professionals with business management and leadership skills. We went through different modules spanning from value chain development and linkages, networking, Entrepreneurship and agribusiness development where theory was blended with practice, tools with actions and skills development with industry needs. The program gave me a deeper understanding of the practicality of the value chain I was working with and was equipped with the needed skill for the job.
I was able to build capacity of the six NGOs I work with, who in turn trained the groups they work with on the project. Through the project’s intervention, about 13,500 farmers have been engaged and grouped into about 540 groups of twenty five each, to supply fresh cassava roots to linked processors within their catchment area. By linking them to the processors, they provide regular raw materials for processors and also have regular market for their produce. These processors/ entrepreneurs/ investors who have acquired transfers from the institute’s technologies developed from cassava are also linked identified markets. A tripartite working agreement in a form of an MOUs is signed to ensure transparency and flow of work. All other actors i.e transporters, input suppliers, service providers, government agencies are all linked to each other within the chains in each region as stakeholders where meetings, workshops and fora are held to further train and iron out differences. This has worked and has had positive impact on the lives of the stakeholder famers both economically and socially.
Through training on demonstration farms and provision of improved varieties, farmers were able to harvest more than three times the quantity that was hitherto being harvested on the same land. This gave the increased income and led to most of them being able to acquire basic needs i.e fridge, television, phones and as well as to pay children’s school fees. Just in 2016 from January to September, from only our records and the small holder farmers we work with, cassava roots used to process both traditional and new value chains are 63,125 metric tons, yielding an income of $3,751,757.08 for small holder farmers, $5,265,714.60 as income for processed cassava products providing employment opportunities for more than 22,402 people within the various chains.
We use a tripartite system where all agree to engage a financial house to fund the input supplies and farm activities, and arrangement are made for payment by processor after supply of roots. This understanding is made clear to prevent any doubts.
Ministry of Food and Agriculture ( MoFA ) – Supervisory and monitoring role over the entire model, provide extension services and have a representative on the revolving fund Management Committee SHFs – Participate in training and capacity building activities, receive inputs and pay back under the agreed terms and conditions at the agreed price.
My agribusiness course equipped me with the skill to train all the actors on records keeping, cost of production and how to negotiate for a win win situation without being exploited.