Cassava Value Chain: Leading the Drive for Sustainable Wealth Creation in Nigeria

Only 5% of local demand for cassava starch is met locally due poor linkage from production to processing. We provide this linkage.

Photo of Leonard Ebute
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Crest-Agro Products Limited

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $500k - $1m

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • For-profit

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Nigeria

Headquarters location: City

Lokoja, Kogi State

Location(s) of impact

Nigeria: Lokoja, Obajana, Okene, Ankpa, Koton-Karfe, Abuja, Otukpo, Akure


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Although Nigeria is the leading producer of cassava in the world, we observed a huge supply gap for most cassava derivatives especially high quality food grade starch. The bulk of the demand for this products came from established food companies with sustainable businesses. One such company was Nestle. The gap was because existing manufacturers had limited access to cassava roots. This in turn was due to their location away from the farms, inefficient operating model and poor supply chain strategy.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Our approach was : 1. Build a 25,000 metric tonnes cassava starch plant, which will be expanded to 65,000 metric tonnes 2. Develop a our own large scale commercial farm of about 8,000 hectares to meet 60% of our demand for cassava roots 3. Develop a captive outgrower scheme of about 5,000 hectares on our land and supported by our team 4. The outgrower scheme will recruit between, 3,000 to 5,000 small holder farmers who will be supported with access to mechanisation services, inputs, logistics and a guaranteed market 5. Recruit an additional 1,000 small holder farmers in farming clusters totalling 1,000 hectares to be supported as above 6. Secure letters of intent from credible industrial buyers of starch to secure the market side of our business. Such letter was obtained from Nestle Nigeria Plc., and similar food companies in Nigeria By doing these, our approach links production directly to processing and processing directly to the market sustainably and creates employment.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Employment: 1. We recruit over 1,000 local's at the farm and factory 2. Over 50% of our staff at the farm are women 3. We create a pipeline for local recruitment of skilled jobs like operators, mechanics and security through our training programmes 4. We recruit 50 workforce made up of agronomists, accountants, engineers, analysts and others Environment: 1. Our farm and factory went through rigorous environmental impact analyses and is in conformance with known standards 2. Because cassava is a broad leaf plant and we are located in the guinea savanna belt, our farming activity has also increased the leaf area index by at least 30% 3. We retain practices that preserve the natural vegetation and animal population of the area in line with our environmental policy 4. The factory is equipped with waste effluent treatment facility. The factory recycles waste water, while will convert waste to animal feeds and generate biogas from the final waste product 5. Engaging locals

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

1. Current investments in equity is around $8 million from 2 private equity firms 2. Earned income from sale of cassava roots and stems

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

We seek to be the largest producer of cassava in Africa, and the largest manufacturer of cassava starch in Africa meeting the needs of established local users of starch. This makes us the only processor in the value chain that controls all aspects of our supply chain from production to sales. We achieved the above on one side by helping the farmer solve their biggest problems, namely, logistics, access to market, access to inputs,etc. On the other side, we assure availability to our customers.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

My early career was at Nestle Nigeria Plc. where i held various roles in procurement and supply chain. I was also in business school at the time. I was in a supply chain efficiency project which led me to identify all the key raw, packaging and MRO materials that had historic supply risk and propose solutions to address future gap. Cassava starch was one of such materials. My findings was that established manufacturers were not in a position to address the supply gap in the near future. In business school, I developed a criteria that any sustainable processor must meet to solve the supply chain problem I had observed at Nestle. Upon leaving Nestle, I developed this into a full business case and then approached investors for funding. I got lucky. Now we are looking to replicate the model in other locations around Nigeria on other projects.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

Congratulations. Really exciting project.

Photo of Leonard Ebute

Thanks Mouhamadou. I appreciate your comment.

Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

You are welcome dude. Your initiative is good.

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