Value Chain Analysis

Sahel provides in-depth market research on key value chains, leveraging our deep industry knowledge and our network of field consultants in local communities across West Africa.

Brief summaries of the work we have done on some major agricultural value chains in West Africa are presented below:


91% of the world’s yam production comes from West Africa, with Nigeria alone producing 66% (more than 45 MT (FAO, 2015).

Sahel conducted an analysis of the yam value chain across key production and processing states in Nigeria such as Oyo, Enugu, Niger, Abuja, Ebonyi and Lagos, as well as in three major yam producing regions in Ghana including Brong Ahafo, Eastern Region, and Northern Region. This entailed interviews with key stakeholders along the value chain, including researchers, processors, transporters, traders, community groups and farmers’ clusters, NGOs, regulatory agencies and ministries, to understand their challenges.

Sahel then proposed interventions that governments and development organisations could use to address identified challenges, transform the yam value chain and enhance the availability and affordability of yam products.


Cassava is the second most important food staple in Nigeria. However, a typical cassava-based diet is low in vitamins, protein and nutrients. It provides for example less than 30% of the minimum daily requirement in proteins and 10% – 20% of the daily requirement in iron & zinc (Ketone Bodies—Advances in Research and Application, 2012). Available varieties in Nigeria have almost no vitamin A content.

Sahel Capital engaged in a study focused in key cassava consumption and processing markets (Benue, Oyo and Lagos states) to understand the constraints and opportunities for using market-based approaches to develop robust and sustainable interventions to accelerate the widespread adoption and integration of nutrient-rich cassava in Nigeria. These interventions included combining bio-fortification, fortification at processing, and wide distribution of micronutrient powders for in home fortification at the time of consumption.


Fruits and Vegetables

Nigeria is among the largest producers of fruits and vegetables in the world, with its farmers cultivating a range of horticultural crops including tomato, leafy vegetables, citrus and pineapple. The value chain is however characterized by low production yields, high postharvest losses and limited processing.

Sahel engaged in a comprehensive analysis of the fruit and vegetables’ postharvest processes and consumption patterns through field visits and interviews with research institutes, producers, wholesalers and retailers, transporters, processors, and consumers. The study covered Kano, Cross River and Lagos states.

The final report analyzed the impact of seasonality on the availability and affordability of the different crops, defined consumption patterns across the regions, and the effects of processing on the nutritional contents of the commodities and outlined major constraints and opportunities at different stages of the value chains.



Demand for soybean in Nigeria far exceeds its supply, leading to high levels of importation. The value chain is characterized by low productivity and fragmentation, limiting soybean farmers’ market access, compelling them to sell to middlemen at low prices.

Sahel conducted a robust soybean value chain analysis to understand key constraints and identify market linkage opportunities for farmers and private agribusiness entities who are willing to invest along the soybean value chain. The study covered high soybean producing states such as Benue, Kaduna and Kano. In addition, Sahel interviewed soybean processors in many states across Nigeria.

Sahel then made recommendations to enhance farmers’ productivity and market access.



Low genetic potential of indigenous cattle breeds and limited acceptability for artificial insemination among Fulani farmers results in low milk yields and quality. In addition, the lack of cold chain infrastructure to facilitate availability reduces the consumption of fresh milk in Nigeria.

Sahel conducted a comprehensive analysis of the dairy value chain in Nigeria through field visits and stakeholder interviews in Nigeria. The firm also conducted research in Kenya and India to identify best practices to inform the emergence of an integrated dairy sector in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Dairy Development Programme (NDDP), which aims to scale dairy development and link more Fulani co-operatives to milk processors, emerged from this study.


Sweet Potato

Over the last ten years, sweet potato production in Nigeria has remained flat as fewer farmers are interested in its production compared to yam and cassava. Yields have also decreased due to limited focus on research on improved agronomic practices for the crop. Furthermore, postharvest losses are high and there are limited value addition activities.

The Nigerian government and development organizations have funded research on improved vitamin A rich varieties to reduce the deficiency of vitamin A, particularly among rural households. However, adoption rate is still very low.

Sahel conducted extensive interviews with stakeholders at all levels of the value chain to map constraints, initiatives by government and development organizations, and suggest high impact interventions for implementation. The study focused on root and tuber crops producing states including Oyo, Kogi, Enugu, Benue.

Edible Oils

Sahel has performed primary and secondary research on the edible oils sector to understand the value chain. Our high-level findings indicate Nigeria produces edible oils from three main crops including palm oil, soybean and groundnut. Palm oil is the most widely used and is derived from the fruit of the palm oil tree. Much of the palm oil in Nigeria comes from groves and smallholder plantations rather than industrial plantations.

Key players in the Nigerian edible oil sector either operate under fully integrated systems or have established out grower schemes which guarantees a supply of raw materials. Many of the large mills in Nigeria import palm oil and complete processing in Nigeria

There is a huge supply deficit of edible oil in Nigeria and this is largely fulfilled by imports. This is expected to continue due to increasing population growth and projected growth in the FMCG industry.

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