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Hope rises on ethanol from cassava

With the whole world clamouring for reduction in the burning of carbon in order to slow down the effects of global warming, Nigeria may soon be able to reduce its carbon emission by using ethanol fuel as substitute for kerosene.

Boma Anga, the chief executive officer of Cassava Agro Industries Service Ltd (CAISL) said in a telephone interview that Nigerians will soon be able to use ethanol across the country as an option for household cooking fuel.

"Nigerians will be able to purchase ethanol fuel for cooking by March 2010," said Mr. Anga. "The cooking fuel also known as Cassakero (cassava-kerosene) will be available to the public as an alternative to kerosene in order to reduce the money spent on fuel usage by most families," Mr. Anga added.

Ethanol as substitute

The idea of looking for a substitute for the carbonised cooking fuel (kerosene) and wood came as a result of the harmful impact on the environment and climate change.

Since carbon burning has been identified as one of the reasons for climate change, the world decided to look for alternative means in terms of biofuel, which is renewable fuel derived from biological matter, for instance biodiesel, biogas, and methane which are all believed to have less hazardous impact on the ecosystem.

Mr. Anga said the Cassakero initiative was planned as substitute for kerosene and wood for Nigerians through the production of ethanol from cassava root.

"This is to promote the use of ethanol as a substitute for kerosene in the country as this will reduce the greenhouse effect caused by the use of carbon fuel. The programme is targeted toward installing about 10,000 small-scale bio ethanol refineries in the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT, over the next four years, to produce daily ethanol cooking fuel requirement for four million families," he said.

Food security

But the project is raising concerns about food security as cassava is a major staple of most Nigerians. It is used in producing flour which is made into a paste and the popular garri, eaten in most homes across the land.

Mr. Anga, however, said the project will not have any negative effect on cassava supply in the market nor will it affect food security as the companies will be using specially cultivated, industrial cassava.

"Considering the tonnes of cassava required for the project, I want to assure you that it will not endanger food security as we will be using non-edible industrial variety of cassava which will be planted on fresh land.

"We have already established a feedstock supply that will produce eight million tonnes of cassava at an average yield of 25 tonnes per hectares from 320,000 hectares to be planted nationwide. To also ensure a steady supply of cassava for the feedstock, we have signed a contract with Nigerian Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) to supply eight million tonnes of cassava tubers," he added.

He said the contract would benefit over 250,000 cassava farmers across the country with additional 400,000 hectares to be deployed for cassava cultivation as the refinery will require 40 hectares of cassava to supply 100 per cent feedstock requirement annually.

Cassava farmers welcome the initiative

Cassava farmers see this as a welcome initiative, as it will increase the market for the produce and encourage more people to embark on farming.

Jimoh Bashir, a cassava farmer, said the initiative is a good one as this will allow more farmers to cultivate the crop more, knowing that there is a market for it as compared to when farmers had to seek for buyers to buy the commodity from them.

"This is a nice initiative that we hope will last long as it will open up the market," Mr. Bashir said.

"Most of what is produced in the country is used in the food sector. Having the product used in the industries will only enhance our financial status as this means there will be more produce with a ready market. This means most of the farmers that have abandoned farming will be lured back to it," he said.

Mr. Bashir is, however, concerned about the affect of this on food production in the country as there is a tendency for farmers to change from producing edible cassava for the industrialised ones.

"This might, however, pose a threat to the production of edible cassava by farmers. Farmers will tend to concentrate more on producing the industrial cassava root with a ready market and use, than cultivating the normal ones. This might also affect the market price of the crop," he said.

Economic implications for Nigerians

With the federal government's plan to deregulate the downstream oil sector which might lead to a sharp increase in the prices of petroleum products, especially kerosene, the domestic cooking fuel for most households, the average Nigerian will have to spend more on the purchase of the product or seek alternative means such as coal or wood which will further endanger the environment.

Mr. Anga arued that ethanol will be cheaper and available for the masses as it burns slower than the normal kerosene fuel.

"The new fuel will be locally produced; and provide Nigerians with a new household fuel for use in cooking, lighting, heating, refrigeration and electricity generation. This fuel will be cleaner, safer and cheaper than kerosene without the need for government subsidy and the introductory price will be retailed at about N75 per litre," he said.

"The production and the distribution of the ethanol based appliances will create employment and wealth to investors and the nation in general. The programme will also create sustainable employment and reduce poverty and deforestation while enhancing food and energy security in the Nation.

"The primary goal is to make ethanol as a cooking fuel available, accessible and affordable, in a commercially profitable and sustainable manner, to low income Nigerians," he added.

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Modified Cassava Varieties

The Mikocheni Agriculture Research Institute will produce disease-resistant genetically modified cassava varieties.

Without specifically saying when they will be produced, researcher Joseph Ndunguru said the varieties would be resistant to cassava brown streak and mosaic diseases, which are reportedly threatening food security in Ukerewe, Mwanza.

He was speaking during a forum for agricultural science and technologies in Dar es Salaam. He said previous traditional ways to fight the diseases had little success.

It was against that background that the Dar es Salaam-based institute embarked on a project aimed at producing disease-resistant cassava clones.

According to Dr Ndunguru, after completing the study, findings will immediately be communicated to farmers. Cassava accounts for 15 per cent of the national food production basket.

According to the National Census on agriculture of 2002/03, there were more than 865,834 hectares of cassava and two million tonnes of the crop were produced a season.

However, up to 20 per cent of fresh tuberous root weight was lost due to the diseases. Subsequently, the losses due to the diseases amounted to Sh45-91 billion last year.

Agriculturalists say technologies such as genetic engineering can raise crop production.

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Cassava study ....

Scientists have sequenced the genome of the staple crop cassava, and say this should lead to the development of more virus-resistant and nutritious varieties.

The draft genome, of a single cassava variety, has pinpointed about 95 per cent of the genes and could accelerate breeding programmes.

The large roots of the cassava plant provide daily sustenance for more than 750 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But the crop is susceptible to many viruses and is not very nutritious.

Steve Rounsley, associate professor at the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona, who coordinated the project, says the sequence will make goals such as developing virus resistance and increasing shelf life more attainable.

A US$1.3-million follow-up project, funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will sequence other cassava varieties and develop a freely available database comparing the sequences. The University of Arizona will lead the project which will involve international collaboration, including some African partners.

Scientists will use the database to identify genes involved in traits such as resistance to cassava brown streak virus, a threat to food security in Eastern Africa.

"With the first cassava genome in hand we can cheaply and quickly sequence other varieties that will give us thousands of little signposts — mile markers if you like — that will help us identify key genes for increasing the plant's resistance to the virus," said Rounsley.

These signposts will make breeding easier because traits that are normally not observed until the plant is mature can be identified earlier with a simple DNA test.

Andrew Ward, senior adviser for the UK Department for International Development's Research into Use programme, said: "Access to cassava's genetic code will enable researchers to target specific traits valued by farmers so that more people will benefit".

But "this is a tool that needs to be used in conjunction with others to develop farmer-desired varieties," he said.

The sequence was created by the Community Sequencing Program of the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and 454 Life Sciences, part of the Roche group, after a proposal by the Global Cassava Partnership.

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Farmers Use Cassava Plants As Compost

High prices of subsidized fertilizer to farmers in District North Raman - East Lampung more creative by using stem and leaves of cassava as the raw material compost making.

"We made compost to reduce dependence on subsidized organic fertilizers, whose prices continue to rise," said a resident, Harminto (30), in the Village Rejobinangun, District North Raman - East Lampung

According to him, in the processing of cassava plants as compost fertilizer, farmers in his village to buy the machine count in groups comprising 20 people, which are used interchangeably.

"The instrument we use is the engine of diesel-powered counter, which purchased for around five million rupiah," he said.

He added, in a cassava processing into compost is not difficult, let alone every farmer in the village which has many cassava plants.

Cassava plants consisting of stems and leaves are fed into the machine count.

Then, he continued, cassava plants that have been destroyed, dried and stored for three days, so that evaporation and fertilizer have not clot.

"Crops have been destroyed cassava accommodated, and was ready to become manure compost," he said.

He added, was in the use of compost in agriculture is still added to other nutrients such as LA and KCL, but not much that can cut costs by 50 percent.

"Although the plant could be fertile with compost, but needs to be added to the ZA and KCL, and even do not need more substance urea," he said.

According to a responsible citizen regulate the use of the machine count, Abdul (42), with the machine count plants, residents can save fertilizer costs and could utilize the availability of cassava plants in the village quite abundant.

He said farmers in his village to use compost for fertilizing plants like corn, soybeans, peanuts, green beans, and other plant species.

"Even can be used for fertilization of rice, because it is fertile ground," he explained.

He also advocated for in other areas could be developed making compost with the cassava plant-based, especially in central area of cassava plants, and also can use other ingredients such as hump corn, sweet potato leaves, plant beans, etc.

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Active Carbon from Cassava Skin

Deby Jannati (16) and Mazia Shona (17), high school students Universe Semarang, Central Java, to prove that the skin of cassava can be used activated carbon material. Activated carbon was able to absorb 99.98 percent copper content in waste water.

Deby and the Shona, who represented Indonesia, won first prize in the event Mostratec in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil, which took place on 24-31 October. Event was followed by high school students from 22 countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
"Normally the activated carbon made from coconut shell. Apparently, the skin of cassava that had been underutilized also contains carbon, "said Shona.

He accidentally learned from his school work that the skin of cassava contain 59.31 percent carbon. He is often seen activated carbon used to purify water in the school dormitory bathroom.

"I think, the skin can also be made of cassava active carbon. In addition to increasing the economic value of cassava skin, making activated carbon from cassava skin more environmentally friendly, "said Shona.

Deby said activated carbon made from cassava skin with skin drying cassava, followed on such devices oven to 800 degrees Celsius for three hours. The result crushed and activated with NaOH solution.

When tested by atomic absorption spectrophotometer, the resulting activated carbon was able to absorb 99.98 percent of its copper (Cu). Laboratory test results, as many as 20 milliliters of synthetic waste containing CuSO4 able bleached with 2 grams of active carbon cassava skin within 40 minutes.

"Not just for water purification, activated carbon is also used for diarrhea. We want someone to continue this research to be applied in life, "said Shona. (UTIs)

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Cassava Chips provision

For couples families Rusli (56)-Elizah (50), cassava chips, not just snacks in my spare time. Moreover, cassava chips capable of rowing a boat his family, in fact, deliver a child reaching undergraduate degree. Whereas the other two, still sitting on the bench and junior high school.

"Proceeds from sale of cassava chips, I could support their families and to finance children's education," said Rusli, in his home area of District Environmental Persiakan V, Upper Padang District, City Tebingtinggi, last week.

He admitted to cultivate cassava chip-making business since 2000. Capitalize five kilograms of cassava, a couple (couples) is trying his luck. Target market, a number of shops around their residence. Thanks to the persistence of these couples, slowly but surely, their homemade cassava chips began to interest the public. Orderan flowing from various parts of the City Tebingtinggi, so the increased production. By the year 2005, these couples have produced 100 kg of cassava chips per day. "Cassava chips for snacks. Moreover, if properly packaged," he explained.

Products are maintained and attractive packaging of cassava chips to make artificial agents hunted Rusli. However, capital constraints make it unable to serve those needs. Capital conditions that often inhibit the perpetrators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is taken seriously by the mayor, Ir H Abdul Hafiz Hasibuan. Through the Department of Industry and the local cooperatives, SMEs Rusli with other actors without collateral to receive loans worth Rp 5 million.

This business capital loan immediately Rusli used to increase its production of cassava chips. Assisted by four workers who are also neighbors, he raised the ASRI branded products. Rusli also did not have to bother with cassava chips to peddle it to the public, because the agents are ready to buy into his house and sold to various regions in North Sumatra, among other things, Medan, Siantar, Samosir, Tarutung, and other Tapanuli area.

"Assisted by 12 workers, every day our production ranges from 300 to 500 kilograms of cassava chips," he said, then added, this success does not depart from the guidance, direction and training of the Pemko Perindagkop Tebingtinggi through the local office.

He admitted that the role Disperindagkop important enough for giving assistance in the form of cassava cutting machine, so the results for the cutting of cassava chips, cassava processed into finished faster. Regarding tips to make cassava chips crisp and tasty, Rusli said, quite easily. According to him, cassava has been peeled, then washed clean and cut round and thin. After that, he continued, cassava slices soaked and drained in preparation for frying. Rusli reminded to use the new cooking oil that has been boiled, before starting the frying cassava slices. "When you are up and re-colored drained the oil does not stick to the chips. After the new cold insert into the spice mixture stirring. Easy is not it?" she called an end the conversation.

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Danforth Center gets $2.5M for cassava research

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center was recently awarded a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to develop a virus-resistant cassava.

Yearly harvests of the starchy shrub in East Africa have been hurt by infections spread by whiteflies and by cuttings, how cassava is commonly propagated by farmers.

The crop is the primary source of calories for more than 250 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa because it can grow in low-nutrient soils and withstand droughts that kill other plants.

Each year, cassava farmers lose at least 30 percent of their crop to cassava mosaic disease alone, and the cassava brown streak disease can be responsible for a complete loss of the harvest. In the Lake Victoria area, more than 7 million people are at risk of famine because of plant disease threats, according to the Danforth Center.

Danforth researchers have teamed up with partners in Kenya and Uganda on a project called Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa, or VIRCA.

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute in Creve Coeur that focuses on human health and agricultural production.

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Cassava farmers in Great Lakes facing double disease strike

Cassava farmers in the Great Lakes region are at risk of suffering losses following an outbreak of brown streak disease and cassava mosaic that are spread by white flies.

The spread of the two viral diseases in the region is causing major production losses and, in the most severely affected zones, acute food shortage.

Dr James Legg, a vector entomologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said 11 countries in Central and Eastern Africa have been affected by cassava mosaic, which is caused by mosaic gemini viruses that are transmitted through infected planting material as well as by a whitefly vector.

Dr Legg said the disease might have started in the Democratic Republic of Congo and spread through the region but was not established because of lack of continuous research in DRC.

Other strategies

Athough the two diseases were first detected in the coastal areas of Kenya Tanzania and Mozambique in 1930, a new brown streak was discovered by researchers in Uganda in 2004.

“It’s not like we were not aware of the disease totally. We were; that is why we have other strategies, like improving our intelligence through monitoring, and that enables us to predict what might be the next effect of the viruses,” he said.

According to Dr Legg, other attack strategies include sharing of the best variety through regional exchange.

Here, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) ensures the stems are disease-free before they are transported from one country to another.

The symptoms of the diseases include drying of the plant’s stem and roots and yellowing of the roots.

About 70 per cent of the harvested cassava in Mwanza Kagera and Mara regions is affected by the disease before being processed, therefore decreasing its price both at the local and international market.

Promoting production

The other districts that have been affected by the diseases in the lake zone regions include Chato Biharamulo and Muleba Ukerewe Musoma Bunda and Sengerema.

The diseases have emerged ahead of the $5.3 million funding project financed by the IITA with the aim of promoting cassava production in the next two years.

John Msemo, co-ordinator of Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa at IITA, says the fund is targetted more than 15,000 farmers around the country for the new cassava breed pilot project.

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Cassava in East Nusa Tenggara

East Nusa Tenggara province is set to export dried cassava and bio-ethanol to South Korea next year, with a predicted value of US$1 million, a Korean businessman has said.

The cassava and bio-ethanol exports are expected to increase to increase to $101 million in 2012, he said during a meeting in Bogor Wednesday.

Samyang IDB, a joint venture between South Korea's Samyang and national company IDB, has allocated $40 million to establish 30,000 hectares of cassava plantations in West Manggarai Regency. The company will also build a bio-ethanol factory costing $10 million. Samyang controls 51.2 percent of shares, while the rest are owned by IDB.

The methanol bio-fuel and the cassava raw products, like dried cassava will be exported to South Korea, where the latter will meet demand for human and cattle food, glue, cosmetics, and pharmacy products.

The company has opened 300 hectares of plantation this year to create seed-beds to supply 3,000 hectares in 2010 and 30,000 hectares in 2011. It has also opened 50 hectares of seed plantations in West Java. The company uses a cassava variety called IDB Superior Cassava (ISC). Each hectare will produce up to 100 tons, or three times higher than the present national average.

Last year Indonesia produced 21.8 millions tons of cassava. Major producing areas include Lampung and North Sumatra.

"We chose East Nusa Tenggara because this province has major potential for cassava cultivation. And it is also very easy to obtain 30,000 hectares of land there compared to other provinces," said company director David Baek Wednesday.

According to Baek, the price of Indonesian cassava is very competitive compared to agricultural feed-stock from countries like Brazil and this would help to make Indonesian ethanol production lower cost than the sugar cane methanol method widely used in Brazil. The company is expected to hire at least 1,200 workers, at this stage.

On Friday, Baek, a South Korean national, signed an MoU with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) covering fieldwork on a land survey, evaluation of the agricultural environment, and the formulation of a strategic plan for cassava cultivation in the province.

Lala Kolopaking, the head of IPB's Center for Development and Rural Areas Studies, said his office has suggested that the Korean company should introduce cassava as an alternative staple food in the impoverished province, in addition to its export purposes.

"When local people have accepted cassava as *an alternative food*, and then we can move to biotechnology," said Kolopaking, who represented IPB in the agreement with Samyang IDB

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Improvement

On the way home I have my wish list that still not yet settled until now, …what is this?...well it's simple thing that really bothering me recently. At the first time I running my cassava chips business I used only simple knife that I buy from the traditional market, from my point of view this knife is already fit to my needs.

But after several weeks I found that this knife not work properly, it's slippery and really weaken in grip, as you know that this knife will no longer persistent. To chop the cassava chip in good shape need really sharpener knife but my local knife no longer helps me in this.

Just lucky me I found a friend he is professional chef and he help me to solve my problem by showing me how to chop the cassava or show me where to find restaurant equipment that suitable with my need. Not only that as a business owner of a restaurant, I need to do everything like professional cookware. Then I found cook knife with all it feature informed by friend of mind.

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FIIRO Pioneers Research into Cassava Flour

The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi Nigeria (FIIRO), in collaboration with Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA) and the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) recently organised an awareness program for bakers from all parts of Lagos State to demonstrate the use of high quality cassava flour and cassava-wheat composite flour for baking bread and other confectioneries.
Director General of the institute, Dr. Oluwole Olatunji said though the research into the use of non-wheat flours for baking began in 1969, the birth of the 10 percent cassava bread was linked to the visit of former president Olusegun Obasanjo to the institute in March 2004, during an inspection of some products on display by the institute, where he was attracted to the cassava bread.

He said the project was sponsored by C:AVA, an initiative of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), England , which is sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates.
Apart from reducing the cost of producing confectioneries, he said the introduction of 10 percent cassava flour would promote cassava cultivation in the country; provide employment; improve the lives of farmers, as well as encourage small scale industries.

“If there is a demand for cassava, more Nigerians will be encouraged to produce it, but unless there are uses and they can get some money for their labor, they are not going to do it. If farmers are encouraged and given incentives to produce at low cost, flour will be available at a low cost I think we should embrace this.”
Olatunji assured that the flour is safe and all species of cassava could be used, “we have been in this business of cassava for over 50 years; it is safe if the right flour is bought. We have developed the technology of producing the flour and the bread, so we are ready to teach anyone who is interested in the business.”
The Country Manager of C:AVA, Prof. Lateef Sanni said the country produces more than 40 million ecog of cassava yearly and the 10 percent required for baking is just about 1.5 million ecog. “So we have plenty of cassava, there is no problem about other normal traditional staples.”

Sanni, a professor of Food Science and Technology at UNAB, said cassava possesses other useful properties. “If you turn it into high quality cassava flour and use it to produce confectioneries, you will come out with the same quality product at a reduced cost, it also means that you produce with locally sourced materials. Wheat flour is not from Nigeria , by using cassava, you are helping your farmer and other people that process it. When you use cassava for bread production for instance, what we are also trying to do is to create employment and also further opportunities for the use of cassava.”

A food technologist and official of the Natural Resources Institute, Dr. Louise Abayomi said the institute is currently working in five African countries, including Nigeria and that its aim was to improve the livelihood of about 20,000 farmers in the country by increasing the amount of cassava that is used. “If there is no market for cassava, we cannot help farmers so we are promoting the use of 10 percent cassava flour in bread, we are also working with biscuit manufacturers.”
She said the institute would be in the country for only three years and was training local service providers that would ensure the continuity of the project.

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Training workshops seeks to add value to cassava

A week long training workshop on adding value to cassava opens today in Kibaha, Coast Region.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said in a statement that the workshop would be a training session for trainers under the Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa (UPoCA)project.
Participants will be officials from the public and private sectors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from the countrys main cassava growing zones.

"The training on processing high quality cassava flour and product development will be hands-on and practical. The trainees will, in turn, train small-scale processing groups and farmers in their respective zones on cassava processing, packaging and storage to improved shelf life," IITA Tanzania said in the statement.

UPoCA project areas in Tanzania are Dodoma Rural and Mpwapwa in the Central Zone, Tandahimba, Nachingwea and Lindi in the Southern Zone and the Eastern Zones Kisarawe and Bagamoyo districts. The USAID-funded project is currently undertaken in seven countries, namely DR Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.

The project was initiated in the context of the current food crisis and global financial meltdown that have affected the ability of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa to meet their food needs.

"The UPoCA project responds to the food crisis in Africa by promoting cassava as an engine for rural economic growth and improved livelihoods with spillover benefits to urban populations. The project focuses on the cassava because of its ability to create low and steady prices for basic food products," the IITA statement says.

It adds that the project aims to empower farmers and their organisations to provide an adequate supply of cassava products at affordable prices. The strategy includes developing and making available to farmers improved cassava varieties and equipping farmers and agro-processors with the knowledge and skills to reduce postharvest losses. It will also diversify cassava uses by stimulating the production of value added cassava-based food and industrial products.

"A range of user friendly improved postharvest technologies developed by IITA and national partners will be disseminated for the production of starch, dried chips, high quality cassava flour and other products, thereby adding value to the crop. The processed products have a longer shelf-life."

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Chinese ethanol demand lifts Vietnam cassava exports

Vietnam's cassava chip exports are soaring because of demand from China to make ethanol and earnings for the whole of 2009 could be $800 million, nearly double those in the first eight months, state-run Vietnam Television said.

China, which needs to import up to 6.5 million tonnes of cassava chips per year for biofuel and feed production, has also been cooperating with Laos, the Philippines and Nigeria on planting cassava in those countries, VTV said on Wednesday.

Vietnam's cassava exports from January to August jumped 69.5 percent from a year before to $436 million, government data shows. China buys about 90 percent of the cassava exported from its southern neighbour.

Vietnam's cassava output this year could fall to 8.6 million tonnes from 9 million in 2008 as the planting area could fall 6 percent to 510,000 hectares (1.26 million acres), government reports show.

Setting aside 4.4 million tonnes for domestic consumption, Vietnam still has up to 5 million tonnes of cassava available for export in 2009 thanks to a large stock carried over from last year, the broadcast said.

It quoted the trade ministry as saying foreign firms' demand for cassava on e-commerce sites was stronger than that for rice.

But rapid development of cassava production has raised environmental concerns because the soil used for cassava plants becomes exhausted after two or three crops and planting often triggers deforestation.

The government has yet to announce any policy to curb cassava plantations. Vietnam has also been building biofuel plants using the produce as feedstock.

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Food: An illustration of culture

Mostly ignored and overlooked as an element of culture, food is often seen merely as something to fill the belly with. But by dipping into the histories and presence of food, we can pretty much see the mixture of culture and how globalization is proceeding.

In a classic Betawi song by Benyamin Sueb, titled "Ape Kabar?" (How are you?) Benyamin asks a friend living abroad how it feels to live far from home.

"You must've eaten cheese every day, and forgotten the taste of terasi *shrimp paste*," he sings with Ida Royani. From this song, we can guess that the perceptions Benyamin and Ida shared about living in Western countries were deeply related to a totally different pattern of food consumption.

Cheese, hamburger, steak, pizza and pasta to name a few, are one of the "Western" types of food, whereas, Indonesians "should be" more accustomed to rice, noodles, cassava and of course, sambal (spicy sauce).

Having learned about the "West versus Indonesia" opposition since I was young, it came as a surprise to me to notice that Belgians use bawang goreng (fried onions) in their burgers. Going under the brand "Bicky Burger", these are sold by small vendors on the streets. After putting the slice of meat and cheese in between the bread, they pour the already-prepared fried onions. It gives a crispy sensation against the soft warm bread and meat. Served with French fries or snacks such as sate and lumpia, this kind of burger accompanies most frietjes or chip vendors in Belgium.

Lumpia (eggroll), the snack most Indonesians believe originated in Semarang, Central Java, is sometimes also served as a side dish to accompany the fries, salad and mayonnaise, while we can always find nasi goreng (fried rice) in Chinese restaurants in Belgium.

Even though lumpia and nasi goreng have a strong Chinese Hokkien influence, those are now claimed to be "real" Indonesian food. Nasi goreng, for instance, definitely has Indonesian etymology.

So whose taste is whose? And what is authentic? Is bawang goreng an Asian taste ripped from its root and invaded by the mighty burgers? We have heard what burgers can do to a nation.

The endless invasion of fast-food restaurants and franchised caf*'s in Indonesia is just one of them. George Ritzer (1999) calls it "McDonaldization", a homogenization of taste according to the Western tongue and standards, where every service is valued and uniformed based by the Americans.

But then again, aren't we able to find rice and sambal in those fast-food restaurants? Aren't we able to choose to eat burgers from the burger man honking his horn down the street? According to an anthropologist on globalization and consumption, Richard Wilk (1999), this is what globalization is all about. It is about the encounters of culture and the mix of taste. The idea that lumpia was brought from China to Semarang centuries ago, for instance, before it continued its journey even further to the West to small cities in Belgium, is an illustration of how globalization is an inevitable continuous process that has happened ever since.

These encounters create hybrid food, a mix of cultures embedded in a portion of dish. It is not only to be found in places miles from Indonesia, but is written all over the country's cuisine. Taking the vivid example of cassava and cheese, this snack is thought not to have existed before the 1980s. As proved by the song, "Singkong dan Keju" (Cassava and Cheese) by Bill and Brod, it tells the story of a man who likes cassava and a girl who likes cheese.

"We wouldn't be able to be together, our tastes are poles apart," the song claimed twenty years ago. Cheese back then was the ultimate symbol of the West, whereas cassava was the symbol of traditionalism, poverty and modesty.

It probably didn't occur to Bill and Brod that only a few years since that song, people were actually able to unite the two symbols of modernity and traditionalism. Nowadays, not only is cassava a food to be eaten by almost all classes in big cities - deconstructing the idea of poverty and deprivation - but cheese is a food widely consumed not only by the West.

This brings us back to the first question of whose culture is whose? Using Wilk's assumption that globalization is an act marked by the encounters of culture and has existed for centuries - an act that is intensified nowadays due to the improvement of technology - it would be difficult to determine that this taste and culture is entirely mine and that is entirely yours. Like the bawang goreng inside the burger or the cheese on top of the cassava, it began once upon a time, when cultures met along the way and influenced one another.

A total occupation of culture by another is thus impossible, as - let's face it -the Dutch who colonized Indonesia also took home some culture from Indonesia back to their country: sate, nasi goreng, pisang ambon or bawang goreng, to name a few tastes.

Taking this into account, it would be absurd to view the newest debate over the stealing of culture between Malaysia and Indonesia. It would be difficult to claim that a culture or a taste is entirely mine and definitely not yours, or vice versa. Authenticity of a culture is thus never at stake, but on the other hand, culture - like taste - is a result of a never-ending continuous conversation.

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Cassava will make more toxin

Monash researcher Dr Ros Gleadow and her research team have received international recognition for their research into cassava and climate change.

Dr Gleadow's research showed that staples such as cassava become more toxic and produce much smaller yields in a world with higher carbon dioxide levels and more drought.

The findings were published in the peer reviewed journal Plant Biology.

Dr Gleadow's team tested cassava and sorghum under a series of climate change scenarios to study the effect on plant nutritional quality and yield.

Both species belong to a group of plants that produce chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides, which break down to release poisonous cyanide gas if the leaves are crushed or chewed. The team grew cassava and sorghum at three different levels of CO2; just below today's current levels at 360 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere, at 550 ppm and double at 710 pm. Current levels in the air are approximately 390 ppm.

"What we found was the amount of cyanide relative to the amount of protein increased," Dr Gleadow said.

"At double current CO2 levels, the level of toxin was much higher while protein levels fell. The ability of people and herbivores, such as cattle, to break down the cyanide depends largely on eating sufficient protein. Anyone largely reliant on cassava for food, particularly during drought, would be especially at risk of cyanide poisoning."

"While it was possible to use processing techniques to reduce the level of toxin in the cassava leaves, it was the 50 per cent or greater drop in the number of tubers that caused most concern," Dr Gleadow said.

About 750 million people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America rely on flour made from cassava tubers as a staple The findings underscore the need to develop new cultivate to feed rapidly growing human populations.

"Reducing carbon emissions wouldn't be a bad idea either," Dr Gleadow said.

Dr Gleadow's team comprises scientists and researchers from Australia and Mozambique, including her collaborator Dr Tim Cavagnaro from Monash and Dr John Evans (ANU).

Funding for the project has been provided by the Finkel Foundation, the ODVCI Strategic Initiatives Grant, and AusAID. Dr Anna Burns joined the team this week and is busy preparing for a visit to Monash (South Africa) and field sites in Mozambique

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Cassava Pone (sweet treat of tropics) recipe

Wanderer of ages.
There was a time when I dragged my car across the country, life in back pocket, convinced the next great thing lay under one of those rocks out there.

My adventures took me far and wide, hemmed in only by this country’s borders and the limits of my own imagination.

At the ripe old age of twenty-two, I ended up in Berkeley, CA, home of everything both weird and ridiculously normal at the same time. Buddhism, yoga, homeless people having acid flashbacks in the now-decrepit and dangerous People’s Park, the crown jewels of San Francisco Bay Area wealth glittering with haunting illusion high in the Berkeley hills. The Ashby Flea Market, a hodge-podge of booths with knick-knacks for sale, set up every weekend at the local BART (or subway) station.

I looked forward to Sundays, when I’d get off work from my collectivist restaurant job in time to enjoy a delicious cassava pone sweet treat in the just setting sun.

Mostly known as “Cuban potato” in the States, cassava is often found in Latin dishes served fried or boiled as a starchy side-dish called “yucca.” Its remarkable ability to double as a luscious dessert is showcased in this “pone” or sweetbread.Served at a Jamaican-themed booth in South Berkeley, I vowed to recreate these tasty treats when I returned to the East Coast. We ll worth the effort, cassava, or yucca, sweetbread always scores me “brownie” points at potlucks or get together with friends.


Recipe Cassava Pone
(aka Island-style Sweet bread)

2 cups peeled, shredded cassava (yucca, manioc)
1 cup coconut, shredded
1 1/4 cups sugar (or evaporated cane juice, if available)
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
5 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola or other neutral oil)
1 cup coconut, rice, cow, or soy milk
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Peel and shred the cassava
  • Sometimes yucca can be found frozen, already peeled. This makes things a loteasier.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself if you do decide to peel it, as it has a very tough skin.
  • Also, remember that yucca is POISONOUS if it is not cooked all the way through. Literally.
  • DO NOT UNDERCOOK!
  • You can shred it by hand with a box grater, or in a food processor with the shredder blade (easiest way).
  • Mix all ingredients together well in a large bowl.
  • Place mixture in a well-oiled 8 x 13 baking pan, I prefer using glass, pyrex, or enamel baking dish for this recipe.
  • Bake at 350 degrees in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Once it starts getting crispy golden colored on top and edges, it is almost done. Check at one hour. All ovens cook differently, so watch for the color change to gauge done-ness.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing into brownie-sized wedges.

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Cassava production set to drop

Cassava production is forecast to drop 7.74 per cent to 27.75 million tonnes next year, due to farmers turning more to fuel crops that bring higher prices, especially sugar cane.

Cassava was planted on 8.29 million rai of land last year, but that is expected to decrease 6.15 per cent to 7.78 million rai.

Of total cassava production, only 2.5 million tonnes will be used to produce ethanol, while the rest will go towards the manufacture of tapioca chips for export and as a pet-food ingredient for the local market.

Many factors have hurt production, including insects, lower rainfall, reduced yield per rai and a flow of cassava from neighbouring countries under the Asean Free Trade Area.

"The drop in production will halt the industry's growth, because there will not be enough raw material for the manufacture of tapioca flour," said Thai Tapioca Trade Association (TTTA) president Seree Denworalak.

As a result, the tapioca-products industry, including flour, starch and chips, will see flat export growth or only a slight drop next year. For instance, the association predicts this year's export of 2.14 million tonnes of tapioca flour will decline to 2 million tonnes next year. Domestic consumption of the product is forecast at 1 million tonnes next year, same as this year.

Seree said the yield per rai for cassava is also forecast to drop 1.68 per cent to 3.56 tonne per rai. The farm price for cassava is quoted at Bt1.60 to Bt1.80 per kilogram.

"The government's guaranteed price is suitable for supporting industry growth and farmers," he said, adding that at that price, exporters could maintain their export competitiveness.

Moreover, cassava growers spend Bt1.28 to produce a kilogram, down from Bt1.46 in the previous harvest season. The drop in the production cost has been in line with a lower oil price.

The TTTA has called for the government to control plant diseases and educate farmers about good strain selection.

Seree said the cassava price could reach Bt2 a kilogram late in the harvest season if the widespread problem of insects was not solved.

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Africa 100 project cash to support new Cassava project

The NFU and FARM-Africa have chosen a fledging project to receive cash from the Africa 100 Appeal. With funds reaching almost £200,000 one final push is being sought from the agriculture industry before a cheque is handed over to the charity in October.

Launched in the wake of droughts and the resulting poor availability of food in Kenya, the Cassava Project, operated by established charity FARM-Africa, aims to increase productivity on subsistence farms across the country and put an end to food insecurity for thousands of families.

The year-long fund raising appeal, launched as part of the NFU's centenary celebrations, has seen charity bikes rides, golf days, generous donations from industry supporters, and the livestock sector in particular, raising a phenomenal amount of cash. This effort is more poignant given the current economic situation and the uphill battle faced by appeal co-ordinator, and head of NFU Communications Sarah Whitelock, as she explains:

"We started the appeal in July 2008 when many farmers were enduring the expense of a long, wet summer, which has been closely followed by a global, economic down-turn and the resulting recession. However, the farming industry has pulled out all the stops to support Africa 100 and we are extremely grateful."

Cassava has a short shelf life so the project will also fund two new factories to turn the vegetable into dried chips and flour. This will increase the flexibility of the crop giving it a new market in local food industries and potential as an animal feed - a real boost for livestock farmers.

Ms Whitelock said: "Cassava is an important staple vegetable in both Uganda and Kenya as it has the potential to generate food security within a very short time. It grows well in marginal areas which means it can be cultivated where droughts are frequent and famine is a recurring menace.

"There were problems in the late 1980s and early 90s with disease which spread and devastated cassava crops in large parts of East Africa. Now, thanks to the vital work of FARM-Africa, a new disease-resistant variety has been introduced. This, and the addition of new, basic farming methods, has seen yields increase there from three to 15 tonnes per hectare. This has seen a reversal in the fortunes of farmers struggling to produce enough food to feed their families. Not only are they now self-sufficient but they also have enough produce left over to sell at the local market.

"I visited Kenya last year to see for myself how FARM-Africa helps these farmers and their families. Besides the impressive economic improvements, these projects also increase social cohesiveness. Household incomes are being used to improve housing and pay for school fees, as well as being invested in a range of other income-generating enterprises to benefit the whole community.

"Having witnessed the tremendous way FARM-Africa supports farmers and transforms their lives I am convinced that the Africa 100 Appeal has been a thoroughly worthwhile cause. It will make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of East African farmers and their families and is a tribute to the generosity of all the donors who have supported us over the past 12 months."

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Lauds firm on cassava production

The United States of American (USA) Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Robin Sanders has visited Matna Foods Company Limited in Ondo State and lauded it for adding value to cassava production in the country.

According to a statement made available to Vanguard in Akure, the envoy gave the commendation after assessing progress in the company located in Ogbese, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Sanders who was on tour of the company to assess the progress made through the collaboration of the United States Agency for International Development with Matna Foods expressed her satisfaction with what she saw.

The statement said Sanders pointed out that the value the company added to cassava roots to produce Matna Cassava Starch was a step which should be extended to other raw materials produced in the country.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Albert Akindele, said the company had the capacity to process 150 tonnes of cassava everyday.

Akindele told the envoy that Matna Foods was operating below its installed capacity due to shortage of cassava roots.

He also said that power problem was another challenge the company was facing.

But he expressed delight in the collaboration of USAID with the company in cassava development saying the collaboration would soon result in generating enough cassava roots to run the company.

The managing director stated that the mobilization, training and funding of farmers jointly supported by the USAID and Matna Foods would soon boost cassava production capacity of the country.

According to him “ In a bid to boost cassava production capacity of the local farmers, Matna Foods in collaboration with the USAID-MARKETS gives the farmers training on good agricultural practices as well as varieties of cassava stem.”

Akindele who said that the company was now ready to buy every root of cassava produced by the farmers promised that the loss suffered by some farmers about three years ago due to cassava glut would no longer happen because the company has the capacity to process 45,000 tones of cassava a year.

The Managing Director pointed out that the efforts of the company with the support of the USAID would eventually transform the farmers from subsistence level to commercial production capacity.

He encouraged youths in the area to embrace cassava production saying it had the capacity to change their status from job seekers to employers of labour.

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Scientists to Develop Disease-Resistant Cassava

Scientists to Develop Disease-Resistant Cassava

Kigali — Regional, agro-scientists have embarked on a research project to develop cassava varieties with resistance to the two most dangerous diseases that hamper cassava production in eastern and southern Africa; Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD).

The new cassava breed being developed has been dubbed; "double resistance cassava."

Announcing the progress after four year advanced trials in Uganda, Agro scientist Edward Kanju, at the Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said that there are 14 types of the crop under research that are very promising.

"I am very excited with the results of the trials," he said. "Out of the 40 types of cassava under trial, 8 did not show any disease symptoms and 6 had very mild symptoms, either on the roots or leaves or both," Kanju says.

According to Kanju, the findings will be followed by disease exposure for further testing.

"This is a very severe test for establishing disease resistance and if they don't show any signs afterwards, then we can confidently, and for the first time say we have cassava varieties that are resistant to both CBSD and CMD," Kanju said.

Subsequently, the cassava plants will be tested in other countries that include; Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and DR Congo.

Currently breeding for dual-resistant cassava is being conducted in Tanzania and DR Congo.

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Jigawa Founds Cassava Processing Coy

Jigawa State executive council has approved the sum ofN22.8million for the establishment of cassava processing campany at Gwaram Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Aminu Muhammad, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the state executive council meeting yesterday.

He said the establishment of the company is part of the overwhelming commitment of the state government on poverty eradication by empowering people through improving their job opportunities.

The commissioner revealed that the state government took the decision following the visit paid by the deputy governor to China, where he discussed with a company producing machines for cassava processing.

The construction of the new company is expected to take off early September this year, and when completed, it would assist farmers in the state to boost their cassava production.

He noted that government has also decided to site the company at Gwaram Local Government Area considering the abundant cassava in the area and by extension, the greater part of the state, pointing out that it would reduce the volume of wastages of the product when established.

Aminu added that the company’s bye-products would include cassava flour, Garri as well as extracting starch, and would serve as a source of revenue to government and source of job to the teeming youths in the state.

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While excellent in the pine

Idonesia.
Creativity, it often appears in the current critical situation. Cassava, a commodity not long since in a matter of business of agriculture, has become the object of creativity after the food crisis and energy had whip this country. In the field of food, cassava as a commodity even encouraged diversification into a new strength to stem the import wheat. While in the field of energy, cassava can be used as raw materials bioenergi, to reduce the use of petroleum that can not diminish the update.

With several times the processing, cassava is the best potential to become food commodity and energy diversification. A number of practices that result in a value-added cassava is already in the can find in some places.
In general, the effort that can only be on a limited scale. At the macro level, not to create a climate conducive to truly improve the economic value of cassava, to a more established level.

Moreover, after the food crisis and energy is already menjauh, because abundant rice production and oil prices go down. Cassava is only to be excellent in the time away.

In fact, in the long term, food crisis and energy need to be considered.

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Cassava Seedlings Distributed to Farmers

Abuja, The Common Fund for Commodities through its technical partner in Nigeria, Farm and Infrastructure Foundation has embarked on the distribution of cassava seedlings (419 types) to farmers in Mararaba, Nassarawa state.

A statement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said the cassava project is a pilot programme being financed and supported by the Common Fund for Commodities, an Intergovernmental financial institution established within the framework of the United Nations Headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Representative of Farm and infrastructure,Mrs. Toyin Adetunji explained that the project was meant to upgrade traditional cassava products for urban markets and the development of industrial marketing channels for processed cassava products as a low cost substitute for wheat that would provide realistic opportunities for Nigerian Small holder farmers and processors.

The team pointed out that it is expected to lead to the development of supply lines for High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) for bakery and confectionary markets as well as improve the competitiveness of garri and increase income opportunities for small processors.

According to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), worldwide production of cassava roots in 2005 amounted to 45 million metric tones and up to 49 MT as at 2007 while Africa accounted for 50% of global production.

This project intends to develop and promote efforts on selected regional markets in Benin, Nigeria and Sierra Leone where cassava could effectively compete with cereals.

The projecting executing agencies are Common Fund for Commodities, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, FAO,Cassava Processors Association of Nigeria (CAPAN), Cassava Equipment Fabricators Association of Nigeria (CEFAN) with the Farm and Infrastructure Foundation providing the technical backup.

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Basic pushes bioethanol project

Philippine, BASIC ENERGY CORP. IS SET TO begin a feasibility study for its planned cassava-based bioethanol plant, which will have a capacity of 100 million liters a year.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Basic Energy compliance officer Angel P. Gahol said the company’s board of directors has authorized management to sign a contract for the conduct of the study with two Thailand-based institutions.

Gahol said Basic Energy signed the contract on Thursday with Alternative Energy Institute of Thailand and Ethanol Thai Ltd., a research and technology institute.

“The service fees for providing the feasibility study is for a lump-sum amount of $60,000,” Gahol added.

To be put up on a 25- to 30-hectare site in Batangas, the company’s integrated bioethanol plant is estimated to have daily production capacity of 300,000 anhydrous bioethanol liters. It is scheduled to begin commercial operations by 2011.

The planned facility will make use of cassava chips as feedstock, which will be sourced from the company’s subsidiary, Basic Ecomarket Farms Inc.

Basic Ecomarket has an ongoing cassava plantation project that targets to produce dried cassava chips from around 20,000 hectares in the Zamboanga peninsula—and later on, in Bohol—under a combination of corporate-farming and contract-growing arrangements.

Parent firm Basic Energy has earlier infused in its subsidiary P31.12 million in additional equity investment to fund the cassava project.

Basic Ecomarket also signed last month a memorandum of agreement with India-based Trio-Chem Group of Companies, which has committed to invest as much as $500,000 in the cassava plantation project.

Trio-Chem is a technology and equipment supplier of clean environment and sustainable development projects and processes.

According to Gahol, the agreement would also establish a business relationship between the parties for the development of an integrated feedstock farm and bioethanol plant and related facilities in the Philippines.

Basic Energy also owns Zambo Norte BioEnergy Corp. (ZNBC), which is the company’s initial foray into alternative energy.

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Super Cassava

An ambitious attempt to bioengineer cassava into a “complete meal” took a step forward with the approval of field trials for the plant by Nigeria’s National Biosafety Committee. The genetically modified cassava contains 30 times as much beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, as its normal counterpart.

Ultimately it is hoped the cassava will contain increased levels of iron, protein, zinc and vitamin E that will meet the minimum daily allowance in a 500 gram meal.

“This is one of the most ambitious projects ever attempted in a major crop plant,” said Richard Sayre of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri, who spoke at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Chicago, the United States last week (13 February). Sayre directs the BioCassava Plus programme, which began in 2005 under the Grand Challenges for Global Health Programme.

The challenge is to provide complete nutrition in a single staple crop. Some 250 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa — and 800 million people globally — rely on cassava as their main source of energy. But it is low in nutrients, vulnerable to plant viruses, and it lasts only two days without processing.

As well as adding extra nutrients, the team has successfully produced varieties with increased virus resistance, decreased amounts of poisonous cyanides — which can remain in cassava if the crop is poorly processed — and a longer shelf life. “We’re transforming it into a staple that will provide complete nutrition,” Sayre told SciDev.Net.

Laboratory and greenhouse tests have been successful — for example, iron levels were increased ninefold, zinc fourfold and protein fourfold. The next stage is confined field trials — small-scale field trials to evaluate the performance of the crop under stringent conditions.

If those succeed, there will be nutrition trials, first in animals and then in humans. Nigeria’s approval is the first it has granted for a GM confined field trial, said Sayre — though the document awaits the signature of the country’s environment minister. The Nigerian National Root Crops Research Initiative will oversee the trials.

So far, the traits have been introduced individually into plants. The first product with multiple traits is likely to contain just elevated vitamin A, iron and protein as well as virus resistance.

The team also hopes to begin confined field trials in Kenya before the end of 2009. “We are now in the process of training African scientists in our labs.
They are going to learn the technology to make a transgenic cassava plant. They will return and make the final products themselves,” said Sayre.Maina Mwangi, from IITA in Uganda.

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Up P280 million

MANILA, Philippines - The government needs to spend between P130 million and P280 million for its five-year program to increase cassava production and self-sufficiency by 2014.

This will help feed millers during tight corn supply and avoid emergency importations of corn and feed wheat, Agriculture assistant secretary Dennis B. Araullo said in a statement.

Hiking production of cassava by 440.21 percent to 10.48 million metric tons (MMT) in 2014 from 1.94 MMT in 2008 will need P26 million and P70 million every year until 2014 for its five-year program, which also calls for increasing areas planted to 500,000 hectares from the 230,000-hectare target this year.

The industry requires 10.48 million MMT by 2014 as cassava can replace as much as 20 percent of corn in feeds that is also used for bioethanol production and human consumption.

The hog and poultry sectors corner more than three-fourths of total domestic cassava consumption.

“The government has to address a slew of challenges that threatens this goal of cassava self-sufficiency, such as low productivity, limited supply of planting materials of new and high yielding varieties and limited supply of cassava dryers and other postharvest equipment," Araullo said.

The plan also involves the establishment of post-harvest equipment to increase the quality of produce in major cassava-producing regions like northern Mindanao, Bicol, Central Visayas, and Caraga.

The department has distributed high-yielding cassava varieties like NSIC Cv22 (KU-50), Lakan I and Golden Yellow in 53 hectares during the last crop year.

“Hence, this five-year cassava self-sufficiency plan that aims to raise the national yield average of nine MMT per hectare to 21 MMT per hectare by 2014," he added.

Local demand for cassava will likely increase to some 10 MMT in 2014 from 8.820 MMT in 2013; 7.448 MMT in 2012; 6.132 MMT in 2011; and 5.016 MMT next year, given a steady hike of demand for feeds to 8.294 MMT in 2014 from four MMT next year.

During the first quarter, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said cassava was the biggest gainer in the crops subsector as it increased 5.08 percent to 405,000 MT followed by banana at 5.04 percent to 2.02 MMT.

In 2008, cassava production rose 3.64 percent to 1.941 MMT last year from 1.871 MMT in 2007 while areas planted inched up to 211,633 hectares last year from 209,633 hectares in 2007.

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Cassava in Katine

In the midday heat, a dozen women, members of Ojemorun farmers group in Katine, sit peeling a heap of cassava tubers as men gather stems from the garden.

The tubers of this new variety are longer and bigger than those of the Nigeria strain, the most common type of cassava grown in Katine, but which is vulnerable to diseases like cassava brown streak.

Farmer groups in Katine have been harvesting this new high-yielding, disease-resistant variety of cassava, planted a year ago, given to them by the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref), which is implementing a three-year development project in the sub-county, funded by the Guardian and Barclays. It is receiving technical assistance on farming from Farm-Africa.

Ojemorun is among the first of Amref's 18 livelihood groups to harvest its cassava. After training in May last year, each group was given stem cuttings of the improved Akena and, later, 2961 varieties. Ojemorun was one of four pilot groups to test the enthusiasm for the new strain among farmers. Each group set up a demonstration garden to put into practice what they had learned in training, but also to share the cassava crop. Last month, it was time for the farmers to reap the rewards of their labour.

"Some members wanted us to sell the cassava and buy other things like goats for rearing, but the majority decided that we share the cassava and use it in our homes," explained Julius Opejo, 38, vice-chairman of the group. "There is famine here; people don't have food. A basin of cassava now costs UShs 10,000 [around $4.60], whereas earlier it cost between UShs 3,000 and 5,000."

The group has already ploughed a fresh 0.4 hectare (1 acre) garden where they want to plant the stem cuttings from this harvest. Group chairman Julius Otim says if the new crop does well, then tubers can be given to other farmers who are not part of the 30-member group.

"That is how our neighbours in the village will also benefit," Otim said. "Now the planting material [tubers] would not be enough to give to other people. That is why we have to plant a new garden so as to multiply them."

Although Uganda's research scientists often come up with new varieties of crops to defeat emerging diseases and pests, the challenge lies in getting this information to farmers. The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), which seeks to inform farmers about new varieties and ideas, does not get enough money to reach everyone. Like the Katine project's livelihoods component, NAADS works through farmer groups, with one set of farmers having to wait for another before getting any new variety.

Replanting crops in Katine is a slow way to get the improved variety out to other farmers, but, according to David Ogwang, Amref's project assistant for livelihoods, there are no easy short cuts.

One farmers group, Ojwinyi, has decided to distribute the cuttings among themselves right away, instead of re-planting. "The disadvantage with this option is that each farmer only gets a few cuttings that can only be planted in a small area. But in the end we shall see the results and tell which method will have worked better."

So what lessons have the Ojemorun farmers learned from the demonstration exercise? For Anna Grace Anyeno, a mother of five, Akena is a good variety that she did not know about until Amref introduced it. She says it gives bigger tubers and, after only one year, it can be cooked and eaten from the garden.

"But this variety needs a lot of work," Anyeno says. "It needs a well-ploughed garden and you must plant it in spaced rows, whereas for Nigeria, we just plant in any field anyhow."

While she sees this as a disadvantage, in future she hopes to plant both Nigeria and Akena. Nigeria can be harvested, sun-dried and sold or milled into flour after eight months, while the new type will be popular with buyers who want to boil it for food or to make cassava chips.

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Cassava a big export

AN appeal is being made for farmers to grow more cassava to allow the Trinidad and Tobago Agri-Business Association (TTABA) to export ground provision throughout the Caribbean.

According to the association’s communications consultant, Marissa Findlay, who spoke at a workshop in Tableland, Princes Town, on cassava production on Tuesday, Government was starting to export ground provision to neighbouring islands, and were in need of cassava.

“We have the quantity to export, but demand is growing, so we have to get our farmers to grow more,” she said.

Findlay said cassava was a delicacy which was in high demand, especially at hotels and supermarkets.

Already, cassava is being cut into fries, wedges and made as croquets and is being juiced.

Cassava flour is also a big seller abroad, Findlay said.

At the workshop, the association displayed a range of cassava products and officials lectured to farmers on new techniques in planting cassava.

The association also noted that it intends to use a specific type of technique to burrow into the soil and destroy the pests which attack the cassava root.

Last year, the association held a similar workshop at Sevilla, Couva.

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Cassava Mania

The economic slowdown triggers memories of earlier tough times, but it also evokes a sense of nostalgia for many people from the central province of Quang Nam.

At a time of scarcity, from the late seventies to the early eighties, one of the food items that helped them survive was bun san (cassava vermicelli).

The special vermicelli originated in Dong Phu Town of Que Son District and quickly became a common means for the whole province to deal with the massive shortage of the main staple - rice.

Cassava roots were ground into flour and repeatedly washed with water to get rid of any toxins as well as any bitter taste. The flour was then stir-boiled and squeezed into long, white noodles through a holed mold.

Soon, this was not a substitute, but a dish favored for its fresh fragrance and light taste. Locals also found it firmer and longer lasting than rice vermicelli.

Bun san can be mixed with salads or stir-fried with fish sauce to make many mouthwatering delicacies but gourmet chefs are generally agreed that on top of the list is bun san ca dong (cassava vermicelli soup with the meat of freshwater fish, usually snakehead fish).

Culinary artists clean the fish, remove the intestines and season it with dried onion, garlic, sugar, saffron and fish sauce. After letting it marinate in the spices for about 10 minutes, they boil the fish for a short time to extract the flesh.

This is then stir-fried in cooking oil, crushed peanuts, salt, sugar and fish sauce until the fish is well cooked. An adequate amount of water is then poured, seasoned and brought to a boil.

It is important not to use stock made with pig’s bones as with most other broths, as it would spoil the flavor of the snakehead fish.

A good broth will have a sweet taste and look clear with a thin layer of peanut oil on the surface.

Cassava vermicelli fish soup is served with vegetables, whole or crushed peanuts, chilis and lemon.

The simple, cheap delight has tickled th e palates of both locals and tourists, especially Quang Nam expats living in other places. One place to enjoy a really good bun san is the Nha Que Restaurant at 51 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Da Nang City.

About one hundred households make vermicelli from cassava in Dong Phu but locals claim the best noodles come from seven family-run businesses in the town’s Hamlet 2.

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My parent

Like other parents, my mother is 63 years old and she really enjoy her live, she never complaint with her medical, and she really enjoy stay alone in her house, as her son sometime I feel that her safety is everything. She live with our mate and the servant that already 12 years with our big family, she also never complaint and really taking of my mother.

It was last year when my mother servant when home to her village for holiday several days, I feel bad when imagining my mother will be alone and something happen to her and need to quickly action when there is a Medical Alert, because it will happen with all old age. Well sometime we only count on mobile phone to connect or protective our family news, here we facing the same problem like accident that is need Medical Alert or first aid at least.

Please do not panic or made a wrong decision, when we have a medical Alert among our family since nowadays the technology is amazing and develop so quick. my friend also told me that the sensor that attached to this device is real electronic and can detect and no need to push button at all

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Small but Important

Just wondering how important exit signs inside of building, for sure we never realize that this information is very important. I just attending a convention in five star Hotel in town and for sure we only like and think about the environment surrounding Hotel rather then the safety of that Hotel, because our eyes always look at the big and colorful place, we never try find little detail of that Hotel. Hotel always have this information as a safety standard event they have many of this information, since this is regulation that need to obey.

This is my experience last time when I have a chance to stay and attending a convention in 5 stars Hotel which is have all the facility and best product good ambiance, surrounding hotel will glance your eyes but suddenly my eyes catch a small thing that usually people forget EXIT SIGNS, it seems this information is useless but you will feel that this is important when something happen on that building because only this information will bring you to way out.

You my not believe with what I say, until you facing the situation that need you to find it. Exit Sign is not important if nothing happen but for sure you will say that this signed will help you out of the trouble when you have a bad experience inside the building. Well my tips is simple please find this EXIT SIGNS when you attending concert or convention. Just in case there is an accident like fire or earthquake so this will lead you out from the building. That information I want to share with you since I have been in the situation that everybody is panic and confuse not to mention the place is so crowded and you have only second to take action.

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Fiji loses cassava market in Canada

Fiji’s export of Cassava to the Canadian market is facing tougher competition from other International Exporters.

Industry Canada's Trade and Investment report reveals that Canadian businesses coast to coast are now buying their supply of Cassava from countries such as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and even China.

This tough competition has cost Fiji its market share in Canada. The Industry Canada report further reveals that in 2008, Costa Rica's total export of Cassava to Canada alone, was valued at FJ $4.3 million dollars.

In the same period Fiji which once used to hold the market share is reported to have only exported cassava valued at FJ $55,686.00.

Ashwant Dwivedi, the Fiji's Embassy's former Business Development Manager to the Fiji Mission in Canada says that this sends a clear message to suppliers in Fiji that cassava is no longer an exclusive cashable product that Fiji can be proud of and that there is tougher competition out there that Fiji will have to compete with to survive and thrive in the international market.

In 2006 Cassava exports from Fiji were recorded at FJ $49,000 while in 2007 cassava exports from Fiji showed positive result of increase with sales recorded at FJ $77,000.

However the sales again plunged in 2008 at FJ $56,000.

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Cassava stakeholders ask for subsidy to boost export

STAKEHOLDERS in cassava production, utilisation and development yesterday met in Lagos where they charged the Federal Government to provide subsidy and other incentives for the development of the crop as obtains in other countries, if Nigeria is to achieve set revenue targets in cassava production.

At the meeting were representatives of the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Nigeria Cassava Processors and Marketers Association (CPMA), Cassava Farmers Association (CFA), Association of Small and Medium Scale Industries (NASI), Nigerian Institute of Food, Science and Technology (NIFST), Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation and the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, (FIIRO).

The stakeholders, who met at the premises of FIIRO, also asked the Federal Government to rescind its decision to strike out flour from the Export Prohibition List.

The meeting noted that the delisting last year had opened the floodgate for the importation of all sorts of flour into the country, most of which failed to meet laid down criteria, including the requirement that flour to be used in Nigeria must have 10 per cent cassava content and be fortified with Vitamin A.

According to the stakeholders, the high cost of producing cassava has made it difficult for the country to meet its cassava export capacity and the demand by consuming nations.

A participant who represented FMAN at the meeting, Alhaji Olalekan Saliu, cited the recent case of Chinese firms that wanted some high-quality cassava chips, which demand Nigeria could not meet due to high production cost.

Saliu lamented that the high cost has made Nigerian cassava products non-competitive in the international market.

Director-General, FIIRO, Oluwole Olatunji, said cassava was a magic crop that could yield as much foreign exchange for Nigeria as crude oil if conscious attention was devoted to its production and diversification by government.

According to him, one way government could aid the development of the crop is by elevating its cultivation from subsistence level to commercial farming by making low interest credit available to cassava growers.

Addressing the gathering, Project Manager, Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA), Prof. Lateef Sani, said while Nigeria was the largest producer of cassava in the world, Thailand remained the world's number one exporter of cassava products.

He therefore, called for concerted efforts among stakeholders and the government to overcome this discrepancy.

Representative, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, Mrs. Ijada Mckena, whose organisation is funding CAVA in five African countries including Nigeria, urged the stakeholders to do more to accelerate the realisation of CAVA's objectives.

Mckena renewed the pledge of the Foundation to continue to partner the private sector and other stake-holders in the overall interest of CAVA to ensure that farmers in particular and other investors involved in cassava revolution projects reap commensurate gains.

National President, NIFST and Vice-Chancellor, Bell University of Technology, Prof. Adeyemo Adeyemi, informed the meeting that the Bill on 10 per cent cassava flour inclusion in bread-making had scaled the second reading at the National Assembly./span>

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Brand new design for cassava chips

Design Bridge in London has designed the branding for a range of snacks that launched in the UK last month.

The Joseph Banks cassava root chips are aimed at health conscious consumers. They are low in fat, gluten free and cholesterol free.

Design Bridge's packaging was influenced by the ideas, principles and enthusiasm of Joseph Banks, the 18th century naturalist and botanist. These influences are communicated across the brand, from its identity and packaging through to promotional materials and sales collateral.

The 113g packs were manufactured by Maxindo in Indonesia.

Joseph Banks Cassava Chips are the first product launch from the brand, which is owned by Unique Food Group in New Zealand, and are available in four flavours from UK supermarkets.

Here are some recipes that are a light, low carb accompaniment to Joseph Banks chips.

Watercress Dip

25g or 8oz cottage cheese
60ml or 4 tbsp milk
half a small onion, skinned and chopped
1 small garlic clove, skinned and crushed
half a bunch of watercress washed and chopped
salt and ground pepper

  • Beat the cheese with a wooden spoon and gradually add the milk until the mixture is smooth.
  • Stir the onion garlic and watercress into the cheese.
  • Leave for at least 2 hours in the fridge to allow the flavours to infuse. Season and serve with Joseph Banksvegetable chips.

Garlic Dip

l medium onion, skinned and finely chopped.
1 small garlic clove, skinned and crushed.
142ml or 5 fl.oz soured cream.

  • Combine the onion with the crushed garlic and soured cream
  • Serve with Joseph Banks vegetable chips.

Salsa Dip

Ripe tomatoes
l onion
garlic clove

  • Finely chop tomatoes, onion and garlic clove, Combine the ingredients and chill in the fridge.
  • Enjoy with Joseph Banks vegetable chips

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Event tag

Opening a coffee shop is one thing but to increase your returning customer, is another thing I have my own solution actually this is not my first time trying many option to get the great impression and great result. but by chance I have a great solution for this matter.

If a customer has a good experience with my coffee shop it is likely that customer will return. Although every time you change the theme they will keep coming and enjoy it.And do not forget that customer will pick from many restaurant that interest them most, well this should be try nothing to lose.

many of restaurant does not understand that one of the key success to have this business continue is the concept and also remember that always up date your event tag so they will know exactly your up coming event and it will increase your attendants and of course automatically will increase your revenue.

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Naseni Fabricates Cassava Flour Machine

The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has fabricated a cassava flour making machine that can start processing from the tuber to flour, the chief executive of the agency has said

Professor Olusegun Adewoye, the Director General of the Agency said the breakthrough will assist Nigeria to meet the cassava flour demand.

He said the machine was fabricated by engineers in the agency after a long research and hardwork.

According to him the agency is ready to partner on transfer of the technologies to private investors who can fabricates more of the machines and assist the local cassava farmers for them to add value to their produce. According to him the mandate of the agency is to facilitate new technology and assist Nigeria to attain technological advancement. On the Advance Technology, Adewoye said NASENI has procured machines to install them at different centres in the country in order to assist small and medium enterprises. He said the world is now using advance manufacturing technology that is why products are well competitive and advance. Saying unless Nigeria is shifted towards that direction our dream of becoming an advance nation will remain unattained.

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Ministry hits back at NCU cassava study

Below is a response by the Ministry
of Agriculture to a recent article on cassava published in The Gleaner of April 13, 2009. In this article, The Gleaner quoted from a study done by a graduate student and his supervisor from the College of Natural and Applied Sciences at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU).

The NCU study involved the collection of 10 samples of cassava from four parishes where the researchers apparently found hydrocyanic acid content (HCN) levels above what is acceptable globally.

The ministry has been very deliberate in its response and has sought to meet with the relevant persons at NCU to discuss the study before publicly responding. Individuals from the Ministry of Agriculture visited the university and met with the dean of natural and applied sciences and his staff. Although we were given an abstract of the research, we were denied access to the full study.

This is unfortunate and disappointing because we would have liked to learn more about the research methodology used and the findings, given that the ministry has tested five byproducts of cassava namely bammy, cassava flour, pancake mix and farina at the Mona Institute of Applied Sciences over the last eight months and found levels of HCN below the limits set by the International Food Standards Organisation.

Concerns about test efficacy

Just to note, the ministry's research staff, in the meeting with the dean, raised concerns about the efficacy of the test that was applied and the determination of the sample size. The use of 'picrate acid paper strips' used in the study is categorised as a 'qualitative', not a 'quantitative', test to determine HCN levels by many food scientists.

In the ministry's opinion, and in the absence of a full copy of the research paper, we have determined that the paper-strip test should have been followed by a laboratory test called 'hydrolysis' which is a true quantitative test as this measures HCN acid level as minute as 5 micro grams, i.e. 1/5000th of a gram.

Given that we were not privy to the full study, there are some important questions that need to be raised.

1. The impact of the small sample size used in this study on the findings.

2. Can the authors eliminate the possibility that the cassava they received was not properly processed?

3. Given the statement, as reported in the newspaper, that the samples consisted of 'undried' cassava flour, do Jamaicans consume 'undried' cassava flour?

Globally, over 500 million people rely on cassava as their main source of calories. These include countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Research done in Africa has indicated health issues with the long-term consumption of cassava. However, such health issues have been associated primarily with persons who are already malnourished and are especially problematic in areas experiencing severe famine.

Research has also indicated that these health issues are associated with shortcuts taken in processing the product. Proper processing involves drying, soaking in water, rinsing or baking, which effectively reduces the cyanide content in cassava.

Bureau of Standards Registration

It is mandatory for any company that is producing food for human consumption to be registered by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ). Registration involves an assessment of the manufacturers' facilities and a microbiological and chemical analysis of the product(s).

If all the requirements of the BSJ are met, the company will be registered. BSJ officers also monitor the company's facilities on a continuous basis and routinely tests products on supermarket shelves to ensure quality and safety.

The ministry always welcomes well-thought-out and executed research. Based on the information we were provided and what was reported in the press, we argue that this research carried out by the NCU team must be considered preliminary at best as it assigns cause and effect without elimination of other possible causal factors.

The ministry awaits the release of the final report which we hope will conform to the usual high standards of the NCU.

Frankly, such a study is not helpful to the advancement of agriculture, especially at a time when we are trying to make the sector a significant industry - one that is market-driven, provides our citizens with healthy, affordable and locally grown alternatives to imported foods.

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My second renovation

Renovation your coffee shop is something that make you headache, seem that this activity was never stop. Although you already put all the enclume pot racks in the safety place still you need to make sure that all the dust will not make it dirty.

Agree that to put enclume pot rack in the place that it belong not an easy decision but still you need to made a wise decision how not to make this thing broken, finally I know the place that will safe although I am still in the middle of renovation.

Enclume potracks is important component in my coffee shop, well it help me much to reorganize my thing, that is why I really try to protect it with careful, also this thing will looks your coffee shop elegance and perfect.

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Cassava Curry cuisine from Padang

If you're not too particular about fried food, this is definitely worth a try. Then again, let's face it, if you're eating Indonesian Padang food, you can't be too health-conscious. Most of the dishes are fried or at least had their spices fried and let's not even talk about the use of coconut milk in many of the dishes.

I love vegetables and so this dish was also a personal favourite of mine. Its essentially Tapioca Leaves stewed in a lightly-spiced Coconut Milk gravy. The cassava leaves were soft from the stewing process but had absorbed the flavours of the spices in the gravy. Its a perfect complement to steamed rice and is a MUST-TRY!

You can search for cassava curry in the Restaurant Padang which is in Indonesia for almost all regions in Indonesia have certainly...LET'S DO IT

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Reopen Cassava factory

Member of Parliament for North East St Elizabeth Kern Spencer has called on the government to reopen the Goshen Cassava processing factory in the constituency.
"If the government is serious about creating jobs and assisting with valued-added production then they need to take a serious look at this factory," said the MP.

He added that the facility, which needs to be retooled, is ideal for the processing of cassava, noting that a number of farmers in the area have already gone into cassava cultivation with an expectation that suitable market will be available when the crop is ready for harvesting.

"The farmers in the communities of Goshen and Pepper have already established a cassava farming group and cultivating the crop so the factory is needed to provide an adequate outlet for them," he told the Observer West.

In the mid to late 1970's, the Goshen Cassava factory produced a wide range of by-products from cassava processing, including flour and bammies.
It is not clear, however, why the plant was closed in the 1980's.

But yesterday, Spencer maintained that the abandoned plant has the potential to create much needed jobs for Goshen and its surroundings.

"There are several remaining farmers that are ready to come on board. The skill needed at the factory still exists in the community," he emphasised.

He argued that the factory could produce for export: bammies, cassava flour, cassava chips, cassava pancake mix and other valued-added products.

"The young people are in desperate need for employment opportunities and this could be one avenue to create the much needed jobs," Spencer emphased.

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Prescription Sunglass

Finally I have a chance to visit this lovely island Lombok is increasing in popularity once again after the recent increase in accommodation in the Gili Islands has caused a lapse in bookings. This is something that I can not refused, I am doing my job I need to compare for my cassava project with local cassava in this island by chance, all the standard hotel are full, and only the luxury accommodation around the Senggigi area now offers the lowest prices in this area of Indonesia in an attempt to remediate tourists to visit this rich tropical holiday location

White sand beaches here flow down the coast line as far as the eye and see with palm shades and the calm lapping waters of endless tropical lagoons of clear water abundant in marine life providing perfect safe swimming and snorkeling as well as a variety of other water borne pursuits. Ups… I never forget to bring my Sunglass although this is a Wide Selection of Eyeglasses but I can enjoy my observation

With well priced luxury accommodation and very few guests it is common to receive excellent service as a result of your choosing to visit this area. For any trip to Lombok this position is ideal with the fantastic dining and shopping at Senggigi, and accessible proximity to many services and attractions and don’t forget to bring your Sunglass.

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Cassava disease threatens garri supply

There is fear of imminent scarcity of local staple food, garri, following an outbreak of a destructive cassava mosaic disease.

nformation made available by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan has it that the mosaic disease which almost wiped out cassava plants in Nigeria in the early 1970s, has resurfaced again in a more vicious form.

Experts from the IITA warned that the more virulent strain of the dangerous cassava disease could wipe out a huge number of cassava farms in West Africa, even as the institution is battling to find an antidote to the pest.

An official of the agricultural research institute, James Agba, told AfricaNews, an online publication that the disease was threatening to wipe out the crop in Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana and Togo.

”A diagnostic survey by our experts has detected the new strain of the disease in West Africa. The disease combines features of strains earlier discovered in West Africa and East Africa,” he said.

According to a statement by the IITA, ”The disease presents a tiny, black mosaic dots on the leaves and produces powdery substances on the stems of the cassava plant. It leaves affected plants stunted and depresses their yield by more than 80 percent.”

Nigeria is currently the world leading producer of cassava. This outbreak has created an emergency response from agricultural experts in the country. These experts are toiling to ensure that the disease is checked and put under control.

”It might interest you to know that Nigeria earns lots of foreign exchange from cassava export, so we are at risk of running a big foreign exchange shortage if the disease continues to destroy the crop” said Adebisi Adurangba, an expert in agronomy.

”There is the need to show some concern over the cassava disease because cassava is a popular delicacy in Nigeria and most African countries. It provides multiple delicacy option for almost every household and the by-product can be converted to starch. It is very important in Africa food chain, so it has to be preserved and protected from the destructive disease,” Adurangba added.

Already the cost of garri is rising in the market as a four-litre paint plastic bucket of garri that sold for between N220 and N250 now sells for about N350.

The cassava plant, indigenous to South America, was introduced to West Africa during the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its short maturity period of six months and ability to grow in both dry and rainy seasons quickly made it a staple crop.

Similarly, as the cropping season draws near, resource-poor farmers in northern Nigeria have put forward a demand for more improved seed varieties from scientists working on the Sudan Savannah task force project.

The project comprises a team of IITA researchers working on the Kano-Katsina-Maradi (KKM) Pilot initiative which aims to carry out integrated agricultural research-for-development to address the several constraints facing farmers in the region.

The leader of Aminchi Multipurpose Group at Tabbani village, Musawa LGA, Katsina State, Hajiya Murja Abass, made the demand on behalf of the farmers during the 2009 stakeholders‘ mobilisation exercise which also witnessed the launching of innovation platforms in Katsina State in the presence of the Chairman of Safana LGA, Alhaji Abdulkadir Zakka, and Chairman of Musawa LGA, Dr. Aliyu Musawa.

Abass, a seed producer in the 2008 cropping exercise, pleaded that more improved seeds should be provided by the taskforce in order to meet up with demand from farmers.

”Farmers love the seeds because of the good results they got last year. The improved seeds yield thrice the normal harvest they get using the same hectare of land and the same quantity of seeds,” she said.

Northern Nigeria is home to grain crop such as cowpea, soybeans, groundnut, sorghum, millet and maize among others but constraints such as lack of improved seed varieties, declining soil fertility and poor marketing have limited grain production.

The KKM pilot scheme, which is funded by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), through its recently inaugurated innovation platforms aims to tackle the problems in a holistic manner.

Apart from the IITA, partners in the project include the Katsina State ADP; Kano State ADP; Institute of Agricultural Research, Zaria; National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services; National Animal Production Research Institute; IRNS; two LGAs; and input and output dealers.

The Sudan Savannah taskforce leader, Dr. Alpha Kamara, said the project would help in finding solutions to the numerous constraints faced by the farmers.

”We would also want the local government authorities to fully support the innovation platforms in the implementation of the project activities,” Kamara, who is also an IITA agronomist, said.

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