CÔTE D’IVOIRE – The Côte d’Ivoire government has launched a semi-industrial cassava semolina production unit as part of the “Government Social Program” (PSGouv) for the benefit of the Sanata women’s farming group.

Ecofin Agency reports that the new unit, launched in the town of N’Douci started operations on 30 June producing Attiéké, a cassava product resembling couscous,  popular in the country with demand growing regionally.

The unit is equipped with a grinder, a wringer, an adjustable seed grinder, a dryer, a gas cooker, a scale, and a greenhouse for drying the finished product.

According to Sanata Coulibaly, president of the group, the unit can produce up to 2 tonnes of cassava semolina per day, 7 times more than the stock of 335 kg which was produced manually.

Cassava is the second most consumed basic product after yam in Côte d’Ivoire with an annual output of more than 4.2 million tons annually according to FAO.

In addition, the Government’s national plan for agricultural development specifically identifies cassava as a priority crop for development.

As a result, cassava production occupies almost 80% of the national territory, a cultivation volume linked to the high adaptability of this root to drought and poor soil fertility, its resistance to diseases and pests, and the ability to use a basic cropping technique during field production.

However, in the sector, the informal sector is the main contributor to the creation of direct added value in the processing segment.

In 2022, the government launched the Social Programme Support Project as part of its social intervention to help improve the living conditions of rural dwellers and young people by supporting agricultural production and processing.

The program cost a total of EUR 140.76 million, financed to the tune of EUR 112.09 million by the African Development Bank, while the government of Côte d’Ivoire and other donors provide the rest of the funding.

According to the Sanata group, the initiative is timely adding that the installation of a greenhouse has made it possible to optimize the drying time of the finished product, which has gone from approximately 1 hour to less than 10 minutes.

The group thanked the initiative, adding that these new facilities will enable them to ship its production abroad since currently, they are only supplying the local market.

More broadly, this is a new boost for the Ivorian cassava processing industry where the Attieke sector is still mainly artisanal. 

According to records, despite the Ivorian Cassava sector relying on artisanal processing, informal processing still provided more than 50% of the direct added value generated in the entire tuber value chain estimated at 514 billion CFA francs ($850 million) by a study conducted by CIRAD in 2018.

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