The cassava market in Asaba, Nigeria held a lot of potential; however, without key stakeholders the value chain could not develop. Godwin Ojobu, CEO of a cassava flour mill, received support from PIND to establish important market linkages. This connected the smallholder farmers and his business to the off- takers, which transformed the cassava value chain and helped Godwin grow his business.
Godwin worked in the oil sector for 27 years. He had always wanted to return to his village, but when he moved back to his village in Asaba, Godwin was concerned about the plight of the local cassava farmers. Despite the availability of the crop, Godwin saw that there was no cassava market and the price for cassava was depreciating. Further research revealed that the cassava market was viable, driving Godwin to create his own business Gonchuks, a cassava flourmill, to provide a market. “My goal was for them to see that there were opportunities and competition created by my company,” he shared.
Godwin recalls the excitement of the cassava farmers, but also their disappointment. Within 24 hours after harvest, cassava has to be processed immediately before it begins to ferment. There is an urgent need for many processors to off-take from the local farmers. “They are discouraged because there is no off-taker. I could not meet expectations.” Without off-takers, the Gonchuks flourmill faced funding constraints and could not absorb all of the products from the farmers.
FINDING KEY LINKAGES
PIND’s training expanded Godwin’s knowledge of the cassava value chain and helped identify important market linkages for Gonchuks. One day, Godwin received an unsolicited request for flour from an off-taker in Lagos. PIND had made a connection on his behalf and set him up to be a supplier. Soon, another call came in requesting flour. “I was surprised,” he remembers. Before, his suppliers were limited to 30 discouraged farmers. Now, the extra off- takers means he can buy from 109 local cassava farmers. He noticed the change in the farmers. “PIND has been able to empower them, support them, give them awareness and they are happy.”
“Crop without a factory is a weed; factory without crops is scrap metal…” – GODWIN