Our first project: Tanzania

FJS African Starch Development Company, Ltd.

The FJS African Starch Development Company Limited is a private company established under the laws of the United Republic of Tanzania with its corporate office located in Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, University Road, P.O. Box 34634.

The company was incorporated to become the local arm of the Foundation to accomplish its goal of implementing its plan in Tanzania. The plan consists of two fundamental activities:

  • Establishment of a cassava starch and flour plant
  • Establishment of a large cassava farm

Both projects are linked for a combination of reason and answer a series of priorities of which the principal reasons are among others: Food security; creation of jobs; creation of a revenue stream for farmers, improvement of farmers live hood.

A. Cassava starch and flour plant: One of the principal obstacles that cassava farmers are facing is the issue of selling their crops to generate steady revenue. African farmers and Tanzanian farmers are no exception, are very capable of increasing their own productivity but their main problem is to find an opportunity to sell their crops. In the Rufiji region and more globally in the Coastal region the principal and most attractive market is Dar Es Salaam where about 250 tons of cassava arrived daily and are sold every day to supply food to this 3 million residents megapolis. The main obstacle however is transportation of the cassava roots.

The road system is very poor and transportation is a major impediment to an easy circulation of the roots making it almost impossible for fresh food to be transported. In the absence of refrigeration system the roots would perish and therefore the farmers located beyond a 30 miles radius of the City have abandoned Dar Es Salaam as a potential market for their crops. Farmers are consequently growing their small lot only for survival and this “cash crop” is not generating any revenue for the farmers that are located too far from the center.

The concept of distance needs to be calculated taking into consideration the African reality. 40 or 50 miles become a far distance impossible to travel by foot or bicycle every day on unpaved roads.

 

The scope of the plant is to improve the overall market for local cassava farmers. The plant will create an output for the farmers located beyond the 30 miles radius referred above. Thus creating an impetus for farmers to increase their
production and allowing them to grow cassava not only for food and survival but
also to generate steady revenue.  An important part of our plan for the plant is not only to process the cassava roots but also implement a collection system to be able to pick up the crops in different location making it easier for the farmers to participate into the project. Our intention is clearly to allow them to participate into the entire project. Another aspect motivated by our humanitarian perspective is to make sure that some of the activity will cover the processing of cassava to manufacture flour. Tanzania remains a country where food security is a major concern.

The FJS African Starch Development Company Ltd. was put therefore under a mandate from its principal shareholder the F&J Scheer Foundation to increase its production to flour and keep a warehouse with a flour emergency reserve.

Finally another aspect of the project is the creation of jobs both direct and indirect for the factory.

B. Cassava Farm: One of the risks of creating a cassava processing plant is to disrupt the flow of food traveling to Dar Es Salaam, thus creating a concerning food situation for the 3 million residents city. If local farmers see an opportunity to sell their crops at a premium or even at parity but with less efforts that selling it to Dar Es Salaam they may decide to reroute their crops to the Cassava plant. The Ministry of Agriculture food security officer was therefore very clear that he feels that the creation of a large cassava farm is an important component of the project to avoid the risk of disrupting Dar Es Salaam food supply.

In addition the concept of planting up to 10,000 hectares of savannah land is attractive to our project in view of our concept of interaction between our US activities. Planting 10,000 hectares may allow us to generate up to 55 million pounds of starch a number equivalent to the quantity of starch that the company in which we are involved in the United States will use on the other side of the planet, thus resulting into a Zero Impact on the food chain.

The overall project intends to remain philanthropic and the intention of the F&J Scheer Foundation is to implement the project in financing the different phases, attract additional local and International participants when the first pilot phase will have demonstrated the viability of the project, create a local participation and “gift” up to 80% of the project to the local participants: farmers and other participants. The only reason why the Foundation will remain with 20% participation is to make sure that all proceeds of operations will continue to be invested in local infrastructure social, medical and for schooling project.

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