Youth fare better financially than adults in the processing of cassava in Ghana. They could also surpass them in production and marketing if they had more access to credit and extension services, says Nana Anima Akrofi, a 2016 IDRC Research Award recipient.
Ghana is the world’s sixth largest producer of cassava and the crop remains the country’s most important staple food. Cassava is also of growing economic importance and could provide jobs for women and youth while increasing food security.
Akrofi set out to determine what role youth play in the cassava value chain and how their performance compares to that of adults. “The main challenge youth face is poor access to credit and extension services,” she says. “This inhibits their production activities. They are, however, relatively more profitable in processing — by turning the roots into dry flakes or flour — than adults.”
Akrofi credits the IDRC Research Award for enabling her “to identify issues in agri-food businesses that could generate options for improving food and income security,” she says. It also “opened the opportunity for me to pursue further studies and undertake academic research.”