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Cassava noodles for export to Russia from Vietnam: GRATITUDE Value Chain Workshop field visit, May 2012. Credit: Diego NaziriIn the first phase of the Gratitude project, work has focussed on understanding the existing value chains and markets for cassava and yam, and their possible waste products. This falls under Work Package 1, "Value Chain Assessment and Management".

The main objective of the value chain analyses is to assess the levels and causes of post harvest losses and to document the amount of wastes generated along the value chain in the project countries.

Two workshops have been held to identify and select appropriate methodologies and tools for value chain analysis and market research in collaboration between NRI and partner organisations.

The first workshop, in May this year, was held in Hanoi and saw the participation of researchers from Vietnam and Thailand. There was a second meeting held in June in Accra with participants from Ghana and Nigeria. Each country set up a local team made up of at least one socio-economist and one food technologist in order to conduct the field surveys for the collection of the relevant information.

The Portuguese partner has since visited Nigeria to hold the first project food safety meeting for partners from Nigeria and Ghana to ensure the products comply with safety regulations.

The Gratitude project aims to explore and identify technologies and best practices for reducing post-harvest losses in cassava and yam. The Gratitude Team are assessing potential markets and technologies to produce specific products from certain wastes. Between July and September 2012 the local teams gathered information and collected data on cassava and yam value chains and the market potential for a range of waste product solutions from these crops.

One of the major by-products from processing cassava roots is cassava peel, and it is often discarded, potentially threatening the environment. Gratitude is currently researching the technical and economic feasibility of using this peel to make animal feed for goats, substrate for growing mushrooms and for starch recovery. Other by-products include cassava pulp and waste-water from traditional and industrial root processing.

Each of the countries involved in the project, Vietnam, Thailand, Nigeria and Ghana, are in the process of producing their reports on value chain analysis and market research for WP1. Then, based on these reports, a comparative analysis will be conducted. Two synthesis reports will be produced with recommendations that will advise the other project's Work Packages in the project's second year.

Cassava noodles for export to Russia from Vietnam: GRATITUDE Value Chain Workshop field visit, May 2012. Credit: Diego Naziri