Cultivating Drought-Resistant Cassava and Millet

In the fight against hunger, Africa is turning to cassava and traditional millet. In Africa, 33 out of 55 countries rely on aid deliveries. „With projects like those from GrowExpress Ltd., we can help change this sustainably and responsibly,“ says Thomas Wegener.

Africa, a continent rich in natural resources and cultural diversity, faces one of the biggest challenges in its history: the hunger crisis. Climate crises and geopolitical tensions have massively impacted food security. Against this backdrop, old, drought-resistant crops like cassava and traditional millet are experiencing a renaissance. In particular, the commitment of companies like GrowExpress Ltd. demonstrates how sustainable agriculture can contribute to solving these pressing issues.

Cassava and Millet: Survivalists Against Climate Change

Cassava, often referred to as the „tropical potato,“ and millet are no longer just poor people’s food. „Cassava can be turned into Gari, a dish that can combat hunger,“ says Thomas Wegener. Gari is a widespread, nutrient-rich product that is versatile in West African cuisine. It can be prepared in various ways and supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals, whether as porridge or paste. These plants are considered true survivalists that thrive under extreme conditions and provide high nutritional value. Approximately 35 million tons of cassava are harvested annually in East Africa, and with the right farming methods, these numbers could increase even further.

The drought-resistant nature of cassava makes it ideal for regions severely affected by climate change. New, disease-resistant varieties and the plant’s modesty, which requires no artificial fertilizers, make it a beacon of hope for many African countries.

Challenges in Africa: A Continent in Transition

Africa suffers particularly from the effects of the climate crisis. Extreme weather events like droughts, floods, and heatwaves have affected millions and significantly reduced agricultural yields. A report by the World Meteorological Organization shows that crop yields have declined by about a third in the last 60 years. Only six percent of agricultural land in Africa is irrigated, further increasing agriculture’s vulnerability to climatic changes.

GrowExpress Ltd.: A Beacon Project in Nigeria

Amid these challenges, GrowExpress Ltd. shines as a beacon of hope. The company is dedicated to the sustainable development of fallow agricultural lands in Nigeria. „A world without hunger is possible, action is needed,“ is the motto of Thomas Wegener, founder of the model farm of GrowExpress in Nigeria, with social commitment in Ibadan, aiding self-help. „In this context, the block farming concept, which combines economic efficiency with social responsibility, is exemplarily pursued,“ explains Wegener. The lands, fallow for 70 to 100 years, are reintroduced to agricultural use through ecological agroforestry. Involving local farmers, mostly single mothers, who also benefit economically from these activities through education, respect, and income, helps to rejuvenate agriculture in one of the most fertile parts of West Africa, the state of Nigeria. GrowExpress Ltd. manages a large state-owned estate in the fertile OYO National Park and collaborates with small farmers. Here, cassava is cultivated, harvested, and processed on a large scale.

Maria Emos: An Example of Success

Maria Emos, a widow and mother of three, exemplifies how GrowExpress can change lives. By participating in training programs and introducing modern agricultural techniques, she was able to triple her income and provide her family with a stable future. Her success represents many others in her community and highlights the potential of projects like GrowExpress Ltd.

The Concept of GrowExpress: Sustainability and Community

GrowExpress focuses on respect and sustainability. Instead of displacing existing small-scale farming structures, the company supports them through knowledge transfer and modern technologies. This has helped local communities increase their agricultural production while protecting the environment.

The decision to focus on cassava was strategically wise. Thomas Wegener explains that with ideal local conditions and locally adapted varieties, GrowExpress achieves impressive yields of up to 30 tons per hectare. These successes are the result of years of research and optimization of farming methods.

Future Prospects: A New Era of Food Security

The efforts of GrowExpress Ltd. and other similar initiatives could usher in a new era of food security in Africa. By focusing on drought-resistant crops like cassava and millet, dependence on food imports can be reduced, and resilience to climate shocks can be increased. Moreover, such projects provide economic prospects for millions engaged in agriculture.

Belief in Sustainability: GrowExpress Ltd. and the Cassava Source-Sink (CASS) Project

The future of African agriculture could be significantly shaped by innovative and sustainable projects like GrowExpress Ltd. and the Cassava Source-Sink (CASS) project supported by Bill & Melinda Gates. GrowExpress Ltd. is committed to the sustainable management of fallow agricultural lands in Nigeria and achieves impressive yields with cassava, a drought-resistant plant that thrives under extreme climatic conditions. These efforts are already showing positive impacts on the local community and economic stability.

Concurrently, the non-profit organization Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One) is funding the CASS project with approximately 25.8 million euros. This international research project, led by FAU, involves researchers from eleven institutions worldwide to optimize cassava productivity. Cassava is a staple food for about 800 million people globally and is known as an „insurance crop“ because it tolerates degraded soils. Research by Gates Ag One confirms that improving cassava’s biological processes will have a transformative effect on agriculture, communities, and economies across Sub-Saharan Africa. These efforts could not only help Africa improve its food security but also make a significant contribution to global food production. Through collaborative engagement and innovative approaches, projects like GrowExpress and the CASS project create a sustainable and prosperous future for the African continent.

Conclusion: A Way Out of the Crisis

Africa stands at a crossroads. The climate crisis and food security challenges are pressing, but projects like GrowExpress Ltd. offer a way out. By rediscovering traditional, resilient plants like cassava and millet and implementing modern agricultural techniques, a sustainable future can be created. GrowExpress’s successes in Nigeria exemplify how commitment and innovation can work together to combat hunger and prepare the continent for a better future.

Author: Erik Simon, CEO – Managing Director, GrowExpress Ltd.

About Erik Simon:

Erik Simon, with a global presence in the banking and economic sectors for years, following training as an insurance clerk and independent sales with part-time studies in economics at the University of Trier and St. Gallen. DZ Bank Luxembourg and Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. in London significantly fostered his focus on accreditation and alternative financing. Today, as CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of GrowExpress Ltd., he is convinced that independent and qualified advising of countries and institutions is increasingly important to achieve short-, medium-, and long-term goals and successes that contribute to improving people’s lives on many levels.

Das GrowExpress Ltd. Büro befindet sich in Nigeria, Cocoa House, Dugbe, 200263 Ibadan, einem der wichtigsten Gewerbegebiete im Bundesstaat Oyo, Nigeria. Das Unternehmen GrowExpress Ltd. bewirtschaftet ein landwirtschaftliches Gut von 800 Hektar ungefähr 200 km nördlich der Millionenstadt Lagos in Nigeria. GrowExpress steht für Nachhaltigkeit. Durch Investitionen in die landwirtschaftliche Zukunft mit innovativen Produktionsverfahren für höchste Effizienz und Ertragssteigerungen. Weitere Informationen unter

GrowExpress Limited
Kingsley Ekwueme
Cocoa House, Dugbe 1
200263 Ibadan
Phone: +234 7031135981
E-Mail: 7dae010d41ff71a0c4539b7e70c4a3be79399449

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