Neo

Cassava / Tapioca Cake Low Sugar

This tapioca cake is another common dessert in Malaysia. It is made from freshly grated cassava so it is less processed than some others that are made from tapioca flour. What you get from the stalls are usually too sweet, whilst our recipe calls for a lot less sugar so that you can enjoy both the natural flavour of cassava root and the sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 400gram cassava, grated and strained
  • 225gram unsalted butter
  • 120gram brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100gram flour
  • 200gram yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence


Preparation:
  1. Heat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar till the mixture is soft and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Add in the flour, yoghurt and baking powder gradually. Mix well.
  4. Add in the grated cassava and the vanilla essence and till batter is well mixed and smooth.
  5. Pour batter into a medium size deep cake mould and bake for 50 minutes, or till a skewer inserted into the centre and comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool before turning it over to a serving dish to cut.

Versatility Note:
  1. If you really need to have an extra sweet cake, you can modify the amount of sugar as you like it. However, too much sugar will destroy the flavour of cassava.
  2. Add in some natural food colouring should you wish to make the cake look more interesting. We suggest using dragon fruit or beetroot juice for red/pink colouring.

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Cassava with Garlic Sauce (Yuca con Mojo)

Instead of serving the same old potato side dish, serve cassava with garlic sauce. This dish combines the pungent taste of onions and garlic with the mild cassava root.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cassava (peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks)
  • 1 to 2 large onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
  • 6 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • orange wedges for garnish


Preparation:
  1. Boil the cassava in salted water until tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the cassava, set in serving dish, and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the onions, orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. Pour over the cassava.
  4. In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil until hot. Pour hot oil over the cassava.

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Don charges National Assembly on cassava bill

Head of Department, Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), Professor Adewale Dipeolu has called on the National Assembly to expedite action on a bill that would allow 10 per cent inclusion of cassava in wheat flour.

Speaking at the Farmers’ Field Day organised in Igbaga, Ijebu East Local Government Area as part of the activities of Cassava: Adding Value to Africa (C:AVA) Programme by the Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP), Dipeolu, who is the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, C:AVA Country Office, noted that Nigeria stands good chances of generating huge revenue from the law that makes it mandatory for all flour millers to include 10 per cent cassava flour into wheat flour.

He said, “If the bill is passed into law, it means that for every bag of wheat being used for baking, there will be 10 per cent of cassava flour in it. That way, if the demand for bread and other confectionary increases, for every bag of composite wheat flour that you buy, then it would translate to better income for the farmers at the village level.

“We would love the National Assembly to pass the 10 per cent addition to wheat flour bill. Once that is passed into law, it becomes mandatory for all flour millers in the country to include 10 per cent cassava flour into wheat flour. In Brazil, for instance, you have what is called 100 per cent cassava flour bread.

“Cassava is our own gold, we must find a way to make sure that it brings in money, not only for ourselves in terms of domestic prices but in terms of international prices. So, government should wake up to its responsibility. We should have policy that would protect what we have here at home.”

Equally, the don condemned government’s policy which encourages importation of cassava into the country, stressing that government should rather develop the local farmers’ capacity to produce for both domestic and international needs in a bid to make the agriculture sector sufficient and sustainable.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to increase farmers’ productivity and income, the OGADEP has urged cassava farmers to embrace TME 419, a new cassava variety reputed to be high-yielding and disease-tolerant.

Director of External Services, OGADEP, Otunba Moyo Owootomo, made case for the new variety during the event. C:AVA is an intervention programme being sponsored through the grants of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a United States-based philanthropic organization, dedicated to reducing inequities and improving lives around the world.

The event, which featured the distribution of spraying pumps and cutlasses to the local farmers, was graced by Alhaji Ade Balogun; Zonal Manager, OGADEP Ijebu zone, Mr. Olusola Olutogun; and the Oba-elect and Oyebola of Igbaga, Ijebu-Imusin, Evangelist Ayodele Adebanjo.

In his remarks, Owootomo said the farmers’ field day, which was carried out on a demonstration plot of cassava in the town, was intended to showcase the potentials of the cassava varieties distributed to farmers under the C:AVA project.

He disclosed that no fewer than 340 farmers across Ijebu East and Ijebu North East Local Governments have been encouraged to maintain the cassava field.

According to the OGADEP chief, the new cassava variety would yield three times compared to the local variety planted in the locality.

Owootomo said that TME 419 is a new variety of cassava that is found to be high-yielding, disease-tolerant and something that will increase farmers’ income.

According to him, the expected benefit of the new variety is that it’s going to increase the farmers’ productivity, adding that, based on findings in other locations where the variety has been established, it was found it yielded about three times compared to the local variety.

“Consequently, the farmers’ income will be increased and of course, it increases standard of living.”

Meanwhile, Owootomo identified funding as the major challenge confronting the cassava farmers, adding that the spraying pumps and other farming implement were donated to them in a bid to alleviate their problem.

While giving insight into the C:AVA project, Zonal Manager, OGADEP Ijebu zone, Mr. Ade Balogun explained that it aims at developing value chains for high quality cassava flour (HQCF) to improve the livelihoods and incomes of at least 90,000 smallholder households as direct beneficiaries in five African countries namely Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria and Malawi.

He added that the project was designed to promote the use of HQCF as a versatile raw material for which diverse markets have been identified in pilot studies.

The traditional chief, who spoke on behalf of the farmers, expressed gratitude to OGADEP and C:AVA for introducing the cassava variety, adding that the farmers are eager to harvest greater yields more than they used to.

“This new variety is different from the cassava variety we have planted before and I hope its yield would be greater than what we used to harvest in this town. We will continue to partner with OGADEP in ensuring that our cassava produce are of high quality,” Adebanjo said.

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Cassava-Gate?

Cassava (Manihot esculenta Cranz.) is a shrub-like plant native to South America which produces tubers rich in carbohydrates. It is now widely cultivated across the southern hemisphere and the tubers are an important food staple for an estimated 750 million people. In addition, the plant leaves are also consumed in some areas.

The scare
In 2009, the Australian biologists Dr. Roslyn M. Gleadow of Monash University, Victoria, Australia, and coworkers published a research paper entitled “Growth and nutritive value of cassava (Manihot esculenta Cranz.) are reduced when grown in elevated CO2” [1]. The abstract of that paper also is clear in describing the (potential) significance of the findings in glowing terms, it includes the following statement: “The responses to CO2 shown here point to the possibility that there could be severe food shortages in the coming decades unless CO2 emissions are dramatically reduced, or alternative cultivars or crops are developed.”

To add fuel to the fire, the co-editors of this special issue of Plant Biology (which represents the proceedings of a symposium on Plant Functioning in a Changing Global Environment, held at Creswick, Australia, in Dec. 2008, with M. Tausz as chairman), say in their introductory editorial [2]: “Given that cassava tubers are a staple food in many of the poorest regions of our planet, and that leaves are often eaten as a protein supplement, this is an alarming result.”

Furthermore, the study by Gleadow et al. also found a substantial increase in cyanogenic glycoside concentrations of the cassava plants when grown under elevated CO2 levels. Cassava leaves and roots both contain such glycosides that break down to release toxic hydrogen cyanide when chewed or crushed, potentially another reason for concern.

Not surprisingly then, this paper created quite a stir. Believers of the “CO2-climate change connection” were ecstatic and took it as evidence for a supposedly undesirable effect of rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The facts
What was not reported though, was the fact that Gleadow’s findings were entirely opposite to previous work of the same kind. For example, Imai et al. [3] observed a fourfold increase in cassava biomass when growing the plants in soil with additional fertilizer and in an atmosphere of 700 ppm CO2, relative to 350 ppm CO2. In contrast, Gleadow et al. reported a severe reduction in plant growth with an almost identical increase of CO2 in the atmosphere and with cassava grown in a synthetic nutrient broth.

Gleadow’s three sets of experiments used CO2 concentrations in the air of 360 (more or less ambient conditions), 550 (elevated CO2), and 710 ppm (highly elevated CO2). The plants were grown in a synthetic nutrient broth, called Hewitt’s solution, with two levels of nitrate ions, namely at one mM (nitrate deficient) and 12 mM (a standard level) nitrate. As Gleadow et al. mention, the type of results to be expected when plants are grown under elevated CO2 levels, namely an increasing plant yield, was observed for soybeans and cotton plants grown in the same greenhouse.

Of course, there are many variables determining the optimal nutrient and other conditions affecting plant growth. In addition to the main nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium salts), there are also micronutrients (such as iron and other metal salts), which are required for plant growth, particularly when grown under hydroponic conditions. It is not clear if such micronutrients were supplied. Furthermore, cassava is known to have other requirements, unlikely to have been fulfilled in Gleadow’s experimental setup. For example, Leihner [4] states that “for healthy growth and good yield, cassava depends strongly on mycorrhizal symbiosis.” It is also unlikely that Gleadow would not have been aware of that.

Reviews
Another severe shortcoming of the paper is that the results by Imai et al. [3] with a very similar CO2 regime have not been referenced. It is unlikely that Gleadow would not have been aware of that paper. In any event, Gleadow’s omission to cite Imai’s work also raises a question about the peer review standard for this supplemental issue of Plant Biology.

Any serious peer review would have picked up on that omission too and would have demanded the paper by Imai et al. to be referenced and the results of Gleadow’s own work to be discussed vis-à-vis the results of Imai et al. Therefore, it would appear that the “rigorous, independent peer-review system” claimed by the journal, had not been followed for this special issue.

In 2010, Timothy Wells, a free-lance TV producer interviewed Gleadow to shed more light on the relevance of her study. As John O’Sullivan [5] reports, though she had agreed to the interview in advance, Gleadow abruptly ended the interview when Wells asked about details of her study, to the point of calling campus security.

Conclusions
What is at issue here? Very simply, the question is whether or not Gleadow’s experiments were employing realistic (natural) growth conditions for the cassava plants to prosper in the first place. The results by Imai, and other work, make that unlikely. Gleadow’s refusal to discuss such critical questions speaks volumes by itself.

Gleadow’s study appears to have been designed, perhaps inadvertently, in order to produce some spectacular results rather than to assess the effects of elevated CO2 on cassava growth under realistic and common natural soil conditions.

While it may appear to be a good piece of scientific work on first sight, on closer inspection, Gleadow’s et al. work has the hallmark of junk science. In fact, it looks like “cassava-gate” to me.

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Cassava commercialization boosts framers' income

Lagos, Nigeria - Women farmers from several African countries now have access to another sources of income through the cassava value addition chain programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) tagged 'Unleashing the Power of Cassava (UpoCA)', according to a release from the Ibadan-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

'Now we can fulfil our financial obligations to educate our children and improve our livelihoods,” Marie Borbor, a member of the Tongea Women's Development Association in Sierra Leone, one of the beneficiaries said. “We will do all within our power to sustain the MPC as a viable asset. Long live the American people,' she added.

The statement said the project, which was being implemented in seven African countries - Nigeria, DR Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Sierra Leone - by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, had benefited thousands of farmers in these countries.

The Tongea Women farmers in Sandeyalu community are happy the USAID project located at Sandeyalu, 486 km from Freetown, was overrun by rebels in 1991.

The entire population of nearly 4,000 people took refuge in camps in Kenema where they lived for over 10 years as internally displaced persons (IDPs) until the war ended in 2002.

Interactions in the camp brought the Sandeyalu people together to form a formidable association called Tongea Women's Development Association comprising of 54 women and four men. It was named after one of the three mountain peaks overlooking their home township called Tongea.

The group initially raised funds through “coping mechanisms,” such as cutting and selling firewood and soap making as IDPs in Kenema.

The statement said with the advent of the IITA-UPoCA project and subsequent inauguration of a Microprocessing Centre (MPC), cassava was now an added financial window of opportunity to thousands of farmers.

Incomes from USAID projects such as UPoCA have helped the people of Sandeyalu in rebuilding their community.

'We are very happy to partner with you in all you have accomplished in these years. We are very happy to be your partner. Not too many years ago, this town was in ruins but, now, look at what you have accomplished. We are very proud to work with you,” the United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone Michael S. Owen said while handing over the keys of the IITA-UPoCA-built cassava microprocessing center to the Tongea women farmers.

Since 2009, IITA-UPoCA scientists have opened up more than five hectares of their land for cassava cultivation and distributing over 2,500 bundles of improved cassava varieties to more than 500 cassava farmers.

The programme manager of IITA-UPoCA, Braima James, explained that in March this year, 60 women and eight men received hands-on training in cassava processing, product development, and packaging in Sandeyalu town.

The statement said the success story of IITA-UPoCA was not limited to Sierra Leone alone.

It transcends and cuts across other countries across Africa. In Malawi, the project, among other activities revived a moribund starch factory - the first in that country.

Besides, thousands of farmers benefited from improved cassava cuttings, training and capacity building for processors.

The situation in Nigeria was no different as the project linked up processors to farmers for steady production/supply of cassava roots, provided improved cuttings, training and also helped build the capacities of farmers and processors.

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Maize and cassava crop guarantees extended

The Agriculture Ministry has extended the income guarantee program for maize and cassava to help planters affected by recent floods.

The extensions would also cover planters who initially failed to join the program because they lived in remote areas, according to Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut.

The minister said he had received numerous complaints from planters from many flood-hit provinces, who said natural disasters had barred them from participating in the program.

The current program required maize growers to register by mid-December and enter contracts with the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives by mid-January.

Mr Theera said the registration deadline would be moved to the end of this month and the contract date to Jan 31.

The income guarantee program is also being extended for the 2010-11 cassava crop from May 31 to Sept 30, 2011.

Guarantee programs were introduced this year for three major crops - rice, cassava, and maize - to finance small farmers directly.

Under the plan, the government through the BAAC would pay farmers for the difference between the market price and the reference price.

The guarantee price for 2010-11 maize is 7.14 baht a kilogram, up from 7.10 baht in the last crop, and cassava is 1.90 baht, up from 1.70 baht.

The reference prices of rice and payments to farmers are announced every two weeks. The reference price of Hom Mali fragrant paddy this week is 13,696 baht a tonne and the state would pay 1,604 baht for the difference since the market price is higher.

The BAAC reported earlier that it would use about 32 billion baht to fund this year's program.

About 3.5 million rice farmers, 401,002 maize growers and 448,042 cassava planters are expected to apply for the schemes this year.

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Cassava industry gets boost

About P30 million will be infused monthly to cassava growers of Negros Occidental for their produce to be used for the production of alcohol by Ginebra San Miguel Inc. for its distillery in Bago City, Negros Occidental, GSMI business farming operations head Edmundo Yonque said yesterday.

Yonque said the Bago distillery needs 4,000 metric tons of dried cassava chips monthly as raw material for alcohol production. The company now buys dried and chipped cassava at P7.50 per kilo which translates to P30 million if produced by Negrense cassava growers, he added.

GSMI business procurement group head, Redentor Galura, said the company wants to make use of the idle and unproductive lands for a profitable alternative and regular source of income as well, he added.

He said the company’s cassava project will also allow the company to help rural development and alleviate poverty through sustainable agriculture and a way of diversifying the crop production in the province.

GSMI also invited the cassava growers to sell their produce to authorized GSMI buyers. They can also enter through the production purchase agreement with the company, Galura said.

Through PPA, the company will provide the cooperatives with free cassava planting materials and guarantee that they will buy the produce of fresh and dried cassava at a price agreed upon by both parties, he also said.

Galura added that farmers can also retain half of the planting materials that they can either re-plant or sell to other farmers.

The company is importing 20,000 tons raw material from Vietnam and Thailand that costs them P260 million. He said that if the local cassava growers can provide enough materials, this money will be redirected to Filipinos.

GSMI has planted 160 hectares of idle lands with industrial-grade golden yellow, KU 50, and Rayong 5 cassava varieties in the eight cassava demo farms in the province, Galura said.

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Ada Singkong Raksasa Seberat 100 Kg

Cassava belongs Tumarjo Gatot Kaca (65), Kebasen Village, District Kebasen, Banyumas, Central Java, really big.

One bunches weighing approximately 100 kilograms of cassava is different from the others. When compared with ordinary cassava, it will show if cassava Gatot Kaca this magnitude is more than 50-fold.

The length of cassava can also be reached one meter in size circle cassava reached fifty centimeters. Because of the large, even cassava can also be to sit a kid.

Cassava is obtained Tumarjo giant from his garden not far from his home. In the garden, Tumarjo currently approximately 20 trees to plant cassava Gatot Kaca.

According Tumarjo, cassava is an experimental combination of two types of cassava cuttings of cassava and cassava ordinary rubber. But he did not expect if the results of its cassava cuttings will be very big.

In fact he claimed to have harvested cassava weighing 150 kilograms with the planting period of one year.

"I have a few months ago even had time to harvest by weight reaches a half-quintal. Cassava cuttings is itself the result of my experiment, "said Tumarjo, cassava plantation owner.

cassava can be eaten in general. In fact, some neighboring villagers who eat cassava is admitted if it feels more comfortable and soft from cassava is usually

Head of Department of Agriculture Banyumas Wikanto Joko said, cassava is a big fast because the soil is fairly fertile planted location. Also, because cassava is not too deep in the soil, so the sun easily entered. As a result, cassava is easy to be great than usual.

"The land is fertile and sun that easily fit into the soil to be one factor is the amount of cassava," said Joko Wikanto.

Tumarjo pleaded not going to sell this giant cassava. But for local people who want to enjoy the cassava is welcome to direct Tumarjo fry in a stall in the village of Kebasen, Banyumas

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SRI-CSIR develops fertiliser for Cassava

The Soil Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (SRI-CSIR), has successfully conducted trials on fertilisers that can be used for increased cassava starch yield and quality cassava.

Dr Joseph Cobbina, a Technical Specialist at the CSIR, made this known to farmers and M.Phil. students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) who undertook a field trip to the Kwadaso Agricultural College in Kumasi.

He said the research was still underway and that results were expected to be shared by all member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The research is under the auspices of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP) and is being implemented in Ghana by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

DR Cobbina said WAAPP was being funded by the World Bank to strengthen research institutions in three countries — Ghana, Mali and Senegal — to generate improved technologies to increase agricultural productivity of important crops in line with regional priorities.

He said the aim of the project was to fund demand-driven technologies, generate and disseminate improved technologies in priority sectors of the region and facilitate regional collaboration and integration.

The field trip to the Kwadaso Agricultural College formed part of efforts to enhance the dissemination of increased cassava technologies, as well as to offer a platform to showcase the nature and efficiency of the new technologies for cassava.

Under the WAAPP project, Mali is conducting research into rice with Senegal researching into cereals, while Ghana focuses on improving root and tubers (cassava, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato).

Giving a background to the project, Dr Cobbina said in 2003, it was realised that although governments in West Africa were supposed to devote 10 per cent of their budgets to agriculture, that was not being done.

He said the WAAPP was then developed with a focus to improve the export competitiveness, biodiversity, land administration and management, technology diffusion, trade facilitation and market access.

He said in Ghana, although various varieties of cassava had been released by the CSIR, it was realised that lack of improvement in soil fertility, made it difficult for farmers to achieve the expected results.

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Global consultations on cassava as bio-fuel open

Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Monday noted that the commercial cultivation of cassava as an alternative source of bio-energy, would not compromise Ghana’s agricultural lands or threaten its food security.

The Minister argued that Ghana has a vast land area of about 23.8 million hectares out of which 13 million hectares are for agricultural purposes. However, only seven million hectares are currently under cultivation.

There is, therefore, more land for the cultivation of food crops as well as alternative crops for bio-fuel production.

Mr Ahwoi, who was addressing the opening session of a two-day Global Consultation to assess the impact of cassava as a potential crop for bio-energy production, explained that the Ministry of Energy is at the fore-front of carrying out studies on various forms of renewable energy to supplement hydro- power.

He said the Energy Ministry is also pushing for the passage of a Renewable Energy Law and also working on a draft Policy and Regulatory Regimes for bio-fuel production and use in the country.

Mr Ahwoi said even though Ghana would soon join the league of oil producing countries, government is eager to identify and promote the development of cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative fuel sources that could guarantee sustainable economic development in rural communities.

He said the high global demand for cassava in the bio-energy sector, therefore, presents a golden opportunity for farmers in many vulnerable countries including Ghana to improve upon their financial as well as foreign exchange earnings.

The consultation is being supported by Italian and Finnish governments, together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

It would identify issues including the breeding, production through to processing and the treatment of wastes of cassava and also develop the potential of the crop to meet both food and fuel needs of the rural poor without compromising food security and environmental considerations.

Mr Ahwoi noted that with large populations and limited production of cassava, many Asian countries are looking to Africa for agreements to supply their ethanol industries with feedstock to develop their mandatory gasoline lends.

He, however, stressed that while welcoming these developments for their potential to provide rural African farmers additional incomes, all necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that cassava did not become a major source of bio-fuel for foreign countries at the expense of food security in Africa.

The Minister suggested an initiation of special programmes to at least double cassava yields in Africa, increase funding of research to study cassava genome of selected varieties with the view to sequencing of cassava genes to make the variety highly responsive to bio-fuel development.

He also recommended the use of biotechnology and nuclear research methods to develop new varieties of bamboos capable of producing biomass of 100 tonnes per hectare or more for the production of bio-fuels and charcoal.

Mr Rodney Cooke, Director, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), explained that the Consultation which was the third in the series, is expected to guide future research that IFAD and its partners in the Programme for the Development of Alternative Biofuel Crops, may finance to develop appropriate technologies to intensify bio-fuel feedstock production.

It was also meant to study the economics of rural energy provision and assess its impact on poverty.

He said cassava was selected because the crop had been accepted globally as one of the most important food crops for most underprivileged communities and had remained beneficial to tropical regions as its roots and leaves provided essential calories and incomes to the people.

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Solomon Islands exploring possibility of cassava export

Solomon Islands is exploring the possibility of exporting cassava, one of its staple food crops, to Canada.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter Shanel Agovaka, says he’ll be visiting Canada towards the middle of next year to tee up trade arrangements.

He says after that a group of Canadian officials will visit Solomon Islands to assess the quality of cassava grown there.

Agovaka says the Canadians are after a container of the root crop a month.

“On Guadalcanal itself cassava grows easily and if you can tee up all the farmers to plant and harvest cassava and sell to an agent who can export, I think that’ll be what I’m looking at.”

Peter Shanel Agovaka says the other islands are also interested in contributing to the export market so he hopes there would be enough cassava left over for the local market.

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Will New Gluten-free Cassava Flour Rock

American Key food Products (AKFP) has announced a patent application for the production process for a gluten-free cassava flour. The company also announced that it has begun initial production of this new gluten-free flour at its manufacturing facility in Brazil.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten provides the structural elasticity in kneaded dough products, permits leavening, and supports the crumb structure and chewy texture of traditional baked goods.

In the last few years, a number of manufacturers have produced gluten-free flour and starch products for gluten-free baking. However, creating baked goods without gluten is challenging, and the resulting baked goods can often be dry, crumbly, or gummy products.

Cassava, or tapioca flour, has been one of the more promising ingredients for gluten-free baking. However, most traditional cassava flours have a coarse texture, similar to corn meal.

According to AKFP technical sales director Carter Foss, the company has spent more than a year developing the flour to have baking characteristics that closely mimic wheat flour in structure, texture and taste.

The result of the AKFP process, which uses the complete root, is a fine, soft flour that contains both protein and fiber. The patent application covers various aspects of the manufacturing process, including particular milling and drying procedures, as well as the resulting flour itself.

“During the processing of it, we have to get the physical characteristics made correctly or the flour fails. It over-bakes and turns to dust,” Foss said.

Foss says that AKFP cassava flour can replace combinations of flours, starches and hydrocolloids in gluten-free baked goods, allowing for a simpler ingredient statement.

After the pilot runs are completed at its new Brazilian facility, AKFP intends to have continuous production on line by the beginning of 2011.

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Rivers cassava initiative attracts partnership

Rivers State government cassava initiative has attracted the government of Netherlands and other business concerns towards developing rural cassava farmers from subsistence to commercial income generating entrepreneurs in the state.

This followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dutch government represented by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Berth Ronhar, International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Union Bank to actualize the vision.

After signing the MoU for the establishment of a 30,000 tons of cassava processing factory at Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, urged the partners to go beyond signing of the MoU to ensure proper actualization of the project because Rivers people are expecting to see the outcome of the event.

Amaechi commended the Dutch government for identifying with the initiative, assuring that the state government was prepared to partner with them anytime they wish and expressed happiness with their readiness to assist the state in alleviating poverty and ultimately reduce crime in the area.

He thanked all the partners for their interest in the project and enjoined them to work together to achieve the purpose, while calling on Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) to increase its cassava farm holding because of the availability of a processing plant.

The state chief executive said it takes a lot of courage for European ambassadors to come to Niger Delta, but the presence of Ambassador Ronhar shows the kind of importance attached to the project by the Dutch government, especially with the poverty alleviation component of it.

On behalf of the partners, the Ambassador of Netherlands, Dr Berth Ronhar, said the discussions leading to the MoU started about a year ago when the Embassy undertook to coordinate and facilitate the partners by bringing them together through the Ministry in the Hague with financial assistance.

He explained that the signing of the agreement was an example of the support given by his government to Nigerian Small Farmers in Cassava production, noting that they were happy to sign the documents because it offers opportunity for self-employment, food security, peace and stability through the development of the rural areas.

According to him, “We are therefore contributing to the unprecedented development of the rural communities by creating income, peace and stability,” adding that the Dutch government is supporting what the Rivers State Government is doing in the state. It would be recalled that the 30,000 tons of cassava processing factory is to be sited at Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area as an initiative of the state government to improve the socio economic status of the rural areas.

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Global consultations on cassava as bio-fuel open

Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Monday noted that the commercial cultivation of cassava as an alternative source of bio-energy, would not compromise Ghana’s agricultural lands or threaten its food security.

The Minister argued that Ghana has a vast land area of about 23.8 million hectares out of which 13 million hectares are for agricultural purposes. However, only seven million hectares are currently under cultivation.

There is, therefore, more land for the cultivation of food crops as well as alternative crops for bio-fuel production.

Mr Ahwoi, who was addressing the opening session of a two-day Global Consultation to assess the impact of cassava as a potential crop for bio-energy production, explained that the Ministry of Energy is at the fore-front of carrying out studies on various forms of renewable energy to supplement hydro- power.

He said the Energy Ministry is also pushing for the passage of a Renewable Energy Law and also working on a draft Policy and Regulatory Regimes for bio-fuel production and use in the country.

Mr Ahwoi said even though Ghana would soon join the league of oil producing countries, government is eager to identify and promote the development of cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative fuel sources that could guarantee sustainable economic development in rural communities.

He said the high global demand for cassava in the bio-energy sector, therefore, presents a golden opportunity for farmers in many vulnerable countries including Ghana to improve upon their financial as well as foreign exchange earnings.

The consultation is being supported by Italian and Finnish governments, together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

It would identify issues including the breeding, production through to processing and the treatment of wastes of cassava and also develop the potential of the crop to meet both food and fuel needs of the rural poor without compromising food security and environmental considerations.

Mr Ahwoi noted that with large populations and limited production of cassava, many Asian countries are looking to Africa for agreements to supply their ethanol industries with feedstock to develop their mandatory gasoline lends.

He, however, stressed that while welcoming these developments for their potential to provide rural African farmers additional incomes, all necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that cassava did not become a major source of bio-fuel for foreign countries at the expense of food security in Africa.

The Minister suggested an initiation of special programmes to at least double cassava yields in Africa, increase funding of research to study cassava genome of selected varieties with the view to sequencing of cassava genes to make the variety highly responsive to bio-fuel development.

He also recommended the use of biotechnology and nuclear research methods to develop new varieties of bamboos capable of producing biomass of 100 tonnes per hectare or more for the production of bio-fuels and charcoal.

Mr Rodney Cooke, Director, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), explained that the Consultation which was the third in the series, is expected to guide future research that IFAD and its partners in the Programme for the Development of Alternative Biofuel Crops, may finance to develop appropriate technologies to intensify bio-fuel feedstock production.

It was also meant to study the economics of rural energy provision and assess its impact on poverty.

He said cassava was selected because the crop had been accepted globally as one of the most important food crops for most underprivileged communities and had remained beneficial to tropical regions as its roots and leaves provided essential calories and incomes to the people.

Mr Cooke said the IFAD’s new Strategic Framework recognised bio-fuel as an emerging market opportunity for the poor, especially those living in remote areas, where almost 70 per cent of IFAD’s projects are located.

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Nestle project a boon for cassava growers

The P4.35-billion non-dairy coffee creamer project of Nestle S.A. in Batangas is seen boosting the local cassava industry.

Nestle Philippines Inc. is expected to locally source glucose syrup, one of the main ingredients of coffee creamer. The syrup is usually processed from corn or tapioca coming from cassava roots.

Nestle is putting up its Greenfield non-dairy coffee creamer production facility on a 270,000-square meter lot at the First Philippine Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

Nestle will process glucose syrup and hydrogenated palm kernel oil to produce non-dairy coffee creamer. Commercial operation is slated to begin in June 2012, with a manpower requirement of 478.personnel.

Data from the Department of Agriculture shows that demand for cassava is expected to be around 5 million metric tons this year, with projections rocketing to 10 million tons by 2014. Cassava is currently used in the production of livestock feeds, starch, noodles, native pastries and as sweeteners and food seasoning.

It is an ingredient in some medicinal products. It is also added material for glue, plywood, paper, textile and biodegradable products. It is an essential component for bioethanol power plants.

Cassava starch popularly known as tapioca flour has an even wider multitude of uses in various industries. Extracted from the root, it is used in food, medicine, paper, adhesives, mining, textile, mining, biodegradable and other manufacturing industries.

In the food sector, it is an excellent alternative for wheat flour in baked products and it is also employed as a thickener for soups, sauces, baby food and gravies. It is also utilized as a filler to complement the solid contents of ice cream and is a reliable binder for hotdogs, sausages and other processed meat products to minimize dryness while cooking it.

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Chips are up with new cassava scheme

Sanguan Wongse Industries Co, a major producer and exporter of tapioca starch, is confident that government efforts to promote an integrated tapioca industry in Nakhon Ratchasima will ensure manufacturers a steady supply of cassava roots.

A programme that begins today features co-operation between the Agriculture, Energy and Industry ministries, manufacturers and planters in promoting the province as a main cassava source for the animal feed and alternative energy sectors.

A guaranteed steady supply will enable the company to maintain annual production at 250,000 tonnes, said Thidarat Tantiwong, the managing director.

"More importantly, stable production and reasonable prices will prevent our buyers from shifting to other kinds of flour," she said.

The competitiveness of Thai tapioca flour took a big hit this month, when the price soared to US$600 a tonne, prompting users to turn to other ingredients, especially corn flour, which is cheaper at about $500 a tonne.

"The paper and sweetener sectors have opted to use tapioca flour because of its low price, but if our products are more expensive, users will choose other products," said Ms Thidarat.

The price of tapioca starch declined somewhat last week, but production of field corn is expected to increase, pulling down the price of that crop. This year's cassava output will also suffer from drought and mealy bug infestation.

A local industry study forecasts the coming season's output at only 21 million tonnes, down 4.55% from the previous crop and 30% from the 2008-09 season.

"Falling output is expected to intensify competition for supply among manufacturers for tapioca products _ starch, pellets and chips," said Ms Thidarat.

About half of last year's total crop of 22 million tonnes of cassava was acquired by the starch industry and the rest used in chips and pellets for animal feed. This year's shortage will be exacerbated by strong demand from a new major user, ethanol plants.

Of the 30 million tonnes of cassava roots produced in 2008-09, only 2.42 million went to ethanol plants, and the volume will be much lower this year. The price of roots soared to more than 3 baht a kilogramme in recent months, dropping back to 2.20 last week as the new harvest began.

To obtain more of the supply, Ms Thidarat said tapioca flour producers would offer a higher price to planters, 2.50 baht. The Northeast is a major hub for the flour industry, home to 80 of the country's 148 factories that together shipped 2.5 million tonnes of native and modified starch last year.

The Agriculture Ministry said the integrated industry programme would ensure satisfactory prices for farmers under the contract-farming model. Besides a guaranteed price, the estimated 1,000 planters participating will receive assistance including dissemination of high-productivity strains and management training.

"This is a long-term project aimed at promoting a sustainable cassava industry in which planters can earn sufficient income and manufacturers can conduct their business," said Ms Thidarat.

The programme will turn Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand's biggest cassava production base with about 25% of output, into a prototype supply destination for the food and fuel industries.

It will also attract new investment from Sanguan Wongse in the form of a 200-million-baht biomass power plant that uses waste from the flour production process.

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Brazilian university to build cassava processing factory in Angola

A cassava processing factory is due to be built in the location of Zâmbia, Amboim municipality, in Angola’s Kwanza Sul province, by Brazil’s Santa Cruz do Sul University (Unisc/Brazil), the advisor to the university’s chancellor said Thursday in Sumbe.

Silmo Schuler told Angolan news agency Angop that the execution of the project would benefit 1,000 families, which would ensure the supply of cassava produced in an area of 2,000 hectares, as well as 80 direct jobs at the factory.

The project includes installation of fruit juice industries, construction of a mini hydroelectric dam and primary and middle schools, a hospital and 1,700 homes, via partnerships with private entities.

"The factory will have a processing capacity of 100 tons of cassava per day, which will lead to 25 tons of starch and 35 tons of husk, which will be used for animal feed," he said.

The beneficiaries of this project will receive training in drawing up and managing budgets, use and protection of water sources and preparation of soil, amongst other matters, both in Brazil and locally.

Schuler also told Angop that Santa Cruz University had broad-ranging experience of cassava production.

With four campuses, Santa Cruz do Sul, Sobradinho, Capão da Canoa and Venâncio Aires, the University of Santa Cruz do Sul currently has 525 professors and over 11,000 students. (macauhub)

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Solomon Islands Looks to Cassava

Solomon Islands are exploring the possibility of engaging in large scale export of cassava to the Canadian market.

Speaking during a media conference this week Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Shanel, has confirmed holding bilateral talks with Canada on the possibility of exporting cassava.

Peter Shanel, who arrived early this week from New York, said that instead of selling cassava at local markets, farmers will be able to sell their products for much better returns overseas.

The cassava export markets are primarily in Europe and North America, which includes Canada. There are a number of important but smaller markets in Asia, such as Japan, Korea and China.

An expert in agricultural export says that there are certain barriers the Solomon Islands should be aware of should it choose to enter the cassava market.

"There are issues such as quality requirements, variability in price, and the established contacts between European and North American importers such as Canada with other major exporters such as Thailand and Indonesia."

"This is not to say that other cassava producing countries cannot enter these markets, but they need to realize that the export market is not for all cassava producing countries."

The expert says that for the Solomon Islands, one of the key requirements that must be considered carefully is that of quality, "they have to meet internationally accepted standards in order to enter the Canadian market."

"I think one of the first step government should do is to set up its own testing facilities, to ensure that cassava and other crops qualify for these markets, it is a hugely lucrative market not just for cassava but other root crops, but the barriers to entry is quite high - but not impossible to reach."

Research has shown that the annual growth rate of fresh cassava imports into Canada is 30%, proving it to be one of the more lucrative markets for cassava.

In recent times Canada imported well over 2,900 metric tonnes of fresh, dried, chilled and frozen cassava.

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Cassava exports decline by 18%

Viet Nam exported 70,000 tonnes of cassava and cassava-based products worth US$30 million in September, according to a report published by the General Statistics Office.

Last month's figures brought the country's total export value during the first nine months to $384 million, a year-on-year decrease of 18.1 per cent.

Director of the Information and Statistics Centre under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Viet Chien attributed the decline to waning Chinese consumption.

"China consumes 90 per cent of Viet Nam's cassava and cassava-based exports products. They have stopped importing the goods due to the products' high price," said Chien.

The national cassava export market last year was hectic and it pushed up prices during the beginning of this year, said Chien.

According to a ministry report, about 87 large and 300 small-sized manufacturers process cassava in Viet Nam. Each year, the manufacturers produce 985,000 tonnes of starch and 150,000 tonnes of cassava.

In the past few years, cassava plantation shrank because of the crop's low demand. However, cassava demand has increased because the crop is used to produce feed and ethanol.

Viet Nam is the second leading cassava exporter in the world.

The ministry wants to create national quality and manufacturing standards to further develop the cassava-export sector.

Setting up a cassava manufacturers' association should also be launched, reported the ministry.

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Agro2 Pioneers Ethanol from Cassava in Panama

Agro2 announces it will be the first company to research and produce ethanol from cassava in Panama, thanks to funding from FACT Foundation and the Global Sustainable Biomass Fund of NL Agency, a division of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We are very excited about this project and are eager to stimulate cassava as a sustainable biomass source,” said Maartje op de Coul, Global Sustainable Biomass Fund Coordinator.

Dutchman Frans van Hulle, Agro2’s founder, has been growing cassava for three years, and is constructing a demonstration ethanol plant in Veraguas and will begin testing this year.

Agro2 is exploring cassava’s feasibility as a sustainable ethanol feedstock for the Panamanian market. The project aims to provide income for local farmers who produce cassava. Agro2 has been collaborating with local farmers, businesses and NGOs to research and analyze local and foreign cassava varieties.

The company, which is a member of CLAYUCA—the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium to Support Cassava Research and Development and part of CIAT— is organizing a farmer’s association to organize farmers for the roll out of the planned 1,000 ha. in the next 3 years.

Van Hulle says his goal is to become a sustainably certified supplier of ethanol for local markets. “In Panama, all of the fuel we use is imported, but what I would like to see is cars in Panama City powered by locally grown, sustainable cassava.”

Agro2 is a private Panamanian company founded in 2007 and is passionate about growing and processing cassava for export as well as for the local market and plans to start producing ethanol from cassava in Q4 2010. Agro2 uses sustainable agriculture practices and works to promote positive socio-economic impacts in the Veraguas province of Panama.

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Creating more markets for cassava

The Cassava Value Chain Development Project has again inaugurated a cassava processing center in Sierra Leone, bringing the number of processing centers commissioned under the project in that country to six, thanks to the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC)the initiator and financier of the project.

The center which is located in Walihun, about eight hours drive from the capital Freetown in the southern part of the country, will help resource poor farmers in that region to process cassava roots to several products including gari, and fufu.

It will also ease the pains associated with the traditional or manual system of cassava processing, says Mr. Olu John, President of the National Association of Farmers in Sierra Leone.

In December 2009, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)the implementing agency, and the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), commissioned five cassava processing sites to ease the burden of processing, create additional markets for cassava products and more importantly generate wealth in local communities through increased cassava production.

The five centers were Gbotima processing center in Bo District; Njala Agricultural Research Center, in Moyamba District; Adamaris cassava processing center in Bombali District; UPWARDS cassava processing center in Port Loko District; and another center in Waterloo in the Western Rural District.

John said farmers were glad over these projects but added, we request for more to process and boost cassava production.

Beneficiaries of the project commended IITA-CFC West Africa for putting the project in their community.

Mr. Samuel Konde, leader of Walihun Farmers Association, said the project would turn around the fortunes of cassava farmers in the community.

We are happy because help has finally come, he said.

In Sierra Leone, cassava is a key crop because of its ease of cultivation and culinary qualities such as straightforwardness of preparation. Usually, the roots are either boiled or eaten in raw form. Cassava leaves are also a delicacy that is served with several dishes.

The project, which seeks to diversify and make more products from cassava, will allow farmers access to more money, says Prof. Sanni Lateef, Project Coordinator, IITA-CFC West Africa.

Our project beneficiaries now have the opportunity to process quality cassava products and make more money, he stressed.

Lateef called on beneficiaries to jealously monitor and to tap the enormous potential of the enterprises.

According to him, IITA, the Food and Agriculture Organization, SLARI and other partners will continue to train stakeholders in areas such as effective hygienic practices, equipment maintenance, and enterprise management to ensure that beneficiaries get sustainable income and nutritious foods.

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Impact from cassava price

Increasing tapioca starch prices will likely delay some cassava-based food additive projects, say manufacturers.

Domestic prices of tapioca starch have been rising strongly in line with costly cassava roots, as output has dropped due to drought and an invasion of pink cassava mealybugs. Starch prices hit 19.50 baht a kilogramme on average this month, driving export prices above US$600 per tonne, compared with 12 baht per kg and $400 a tonne earlier this year and eight baht a kg and $280 a tonne last year.

"Considering these high prices, we might opt to wait and see before investing in making cassava-based maltodextrin," said Chanchai Chaodee, managing director of Chaodee Starch Co.

Chaodee, a producer and exporter of tapioca starch, plans to invest 200 million baht to produce maltodextrin, a polysaccharide used as an additive in food and medical products.

Strong starch prices decrease the competitiveness of cassava-based maltodextrin compared with imported products produced from other kinds of flour. Corn-based starch from China is now 23-24 baht per kg, compared with 27-29 baht for cassava-based maltodextrin made here.

Cassava production is estimated to drop to 20-21 million tonnes this year, or 30% from the previous season.

The company, located in the Northeast, uses about 2,000 tonnes of cassava roots a day to make 500 tonnes of starch for local paper makers such as Siam Cement and for export to China, India and Japan.Plans to produce ethanol from cassava have also been put off until production returns to normal levels, he said.

The maltodextrin project received support from the Industrial Technology Assistance Programme (iTAP). iTAP has teamed up with the Suranaree University of Technology to provide technical support for the project, which plans to produce about 50 litres of maltodextrin a day.

The agency is also helping the company to turn cassava waste into bio-fertiliser.

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Davao region pushes cassava production

DAVAO CITY -- The Davao Region is looking at taking advantage of the growing demand for cassava, an official of the regional Agriculture office said.

Herna M. Palma, Department of Agriculture regional coordinator on corn and cassava, said the domestic demand for cassava has risen to five million metric tons a year and the figure is expected to double by 2014.

In some hinterland areas, particularly in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the plant has become a main crop for farmers.

Ms. Palma said that getting adequate supply has gotten tougher in recent years as Luzon-based companies start to buy in commercial quantity from Mindanao.

Cassava is used for feeds, confectionery, medicines, glue, liquor and ethanol fuel, among others.

For food requirements alone, demand for cassava will increase to 1.3 million metric tons by 2014 from 654,000 metric tons this year, Ms. Palma said. For feeds, demand will reach 8.2 million metric tons four years from now, from just about half of the demand this year.

Norlito P. Agduyeng, regional technical director of the Department of Agriculture, said the increasing demand for cassava has offered a window of opportunity for farmers.

"We have a ready market for our cassava products, which includes San Miguel Foods, Inc., and other small and medium buyers. All we have to do is to produce high quality and quantity cassava," said Mr. Agduyeng. The government will help farmers increase production by providing them with planting materials that yield better, technical assistance and even post-harvest facilities, he added.

In a related development, Datu Gabriel Sayad, leader of the Council of Elders of the Ata-Manobo tribe, said his community has signed with a consolidator that buys cassava for giant food conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

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10,000 acres of cassava to support the Ayensu Starch Factory

The Ayensu Starch Factory at Bawjiase in the Central Region, which has remained idle for almost four years, will soon be given a new facelift by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mahama Ayariga, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said during a visit on Friday.

He said the ministry was aware of the numerous challenges facing the factory and would map out strategies to ensure that the factory became fully operational early next year.

He said one of the key elements of the industrial policy of the ministry was to have a strong industrial material base to feed growing industries in the country.

Mr. Ayariga said the ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to cultivate about 10,000 acres of cassava to support the factory to reduce the importation of starch into the country.

Samson Abbey Armah, Logistics Coordinator of the factory, said the plant had been grounded since 2006 due to inadequate supply of cassava, the raw material needed to feed the factory.

Mr Armah appealed to the ministry to expedite plans to restore its operations.

Mr. James Biitir, the farm supervisor, said "the Ayensu Starch Factory does not produce poisonous cassava, and our cassava is good for food and industrial starch in all circles".

He appealed to the ministry to help improve the working conditions of the workers on the cassava farm.

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Cassava processing centers

The Cassava Value Chain Development Project has inaugurated two additional processing centers in Lanta and Adjahonmey in Benin Republic, bringing the total number of processing centers in that country under the project to four, thanks to the Netherlands–based Common Fund for Commodities (CFC)—the initiator and financier of the project.

The additional two centers will help resource_poor farmers in Benin to add value to the root crop and create more markets for its products.

In 2009 the Cassava Value Chain Development Project, which is being implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, commissioned two cassava processing centers in the Republic of Benin . Impressed by the work done, CFC approved the upgrade of two additional processing sites for the smallholder communities.

Beneficiaries of the project commended IITA and CFC for citing the project in their communities.

Mrs. Kodo Lydia , a women leader, whose group benefited from the project at Lanta said the processing center was a dream come true.

“When we were told of the assistance, we never believed but today we are glad and the processing center will ease our burden and increase our incomes,” she said.

The commissioning attracted the attention of policy makers, non governmental organizations, and other stakeholders.

Coordinators from other CFC_West Africa countries; Nigeria and Sierra Leone also attended the commissioning and thereafter, participated in the experience_sharing meeting among the countries.

The three country coordinators lauded the CFC for the livelihood_boosting project.
According to Dr. Sahr Fomba, the Country Coordinator for Sierra Leone , the project’s focus on the rural population and medium scale farmers is turning around the fortunes of cassava in Sierra Leone .

“Already the model setting up the processing centers is attracting other donors to the project. They want to adopt the same approach,” he added. Fomba said farmers now have more hygienic cassava products such as garri and cassava bread that are widely consumed in Sierra Leone .

For Mrs. Omololu Ope_Ewe, the Country Coordinator for Nigeria , the project is adding value to cassava and opening new markets for cassava products especially in the northern part of Nigeria .

“One of the centers is now processing odorless fufu flour that is in high demand. We are presently assisting the center to get government approval for commercialization,” she said.

“To us in Nigeria , the project is timely and we are glad CFC invested in Nigeria ,” she added.
For David Agbewonu, Country Coordinator for the Republic of Benin , the project is a reference point to other donors in the country. “This is because of the impact it is already having on the communities,” he said.

With its relative ease of cultivation backed by research activities at IITA, cassava has gained appeal from farmers ranking among the most preferred crops for cultivation in Africa .

Breeding work at IITA and national partners has equally boosted the production of the crop with some countries doubling yield.

Prof. Lateef Sanni, IITA_CFC Coordinator, said apart from building and equipping the processing centers, the project would provide the necessary trainings to make it sustainable

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Davao region pushes cassava production

The Davao Region is looking at taking advantage of the growing demand for cassava, an official of the regional Agriculture office said.

Herna M. Palma, Department of Agriculture regional coordinator on corn and cassava, said the domestic demand for cassava has risen to five million metric tons a year and the figure is expected to double by 2014.

In some hinterland areas, particularly in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, the plant has become a main crop for farmers.

Ms. Palma said that getting adequate supply has gotten tougher in recent years as Luzon-based companies start to buy in commercial quantity from Mindanao.

Cassava is used for feeds, confectionery, medicines, glue, liquor and ethanol fuel, among others.

For food requirements alone, demand for cassava will increase to 1.3 million metric tons by 2014 from 654,000 metric tons this year, Ms. Palma said. For feeds, demand will reach 8.2 million metric tons four years from now, from just about half of the demand this year.

Norlito P. Agduyeng, regional technical director of the Department of Agriculture, said the increasing demand for cassava has offered a window of opportunity for farmers.

"We have a ready market for our cassava products, which includes San Miguel Foods, Inc., and other small and medium buyers. All we have to do is to produce high quality and quantity cassava," said Mr. Agduyeng. The government will help farmers increase production by providing them with planting materials that yield better, technical assistance and even post-harvest facilities, he added.

In a related development, Datu Gabriel Sayad, leader of the Council of Elders of the Ata-Manobo tribe, said his community has signed with a consolidator that buys cassava for giant food conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

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Cassava Saving Millions Starving Africans

“We must sing for you, great cassava, we must sing,” wrote Flora Nwapa, a Nigerian novelist and poet, in praise of cassava during the 1967 Nigerian civil war.

Many would not have deciphered the important message contained in this phrase but it has come in handy since cassava has been touted as the only staple food that could get Africa out of hunger bondage.

Ukambani is a place where the great cassava is getting such praises, the hardy tuber will save millions of residents who have survived through perennial droughts.

It is not only Ukambani where the crop has found its way back to the farms, other regions in the country prone to hunger and famine are giving it a shot.

Field trials have begun in a bold effort to make cassava, the primary source of calories for 800 million people worldwide, a better provider of nutrition and increase its revenue-producing potential, especially for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

The three-year-old BioCassava Plus project, funded since 2005 by more than 12.1 million U.S. dollars in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has attracted a team of international scientists that is genetically engineering a range of valuable traits into the low-protein, virus-prone root crop that has a short shelf life and long processing time.

According to Richard Sayre one of the scientists who spoke to Xinhua, the project has eight objectives five of which are nutritional. The scientists sought to put the minimum daily allowances of protein, vitamins A and E, iron and zinc into a single 500-gram adult meal of cassava.

They also plan to make the crop more resistant to viral diseases, which reduce yields by 30 percent to 50 percent in many areas of sub-Saharan Africa; extend the plant’s shelf life from one day to two weeks; and reduce cyanide toxicity.

The cassava plant requires a three- to six-day processing regimen that must begin immediately after harvest to remove compounds that generate cyanide.

“Where we stand now,” says Sayre, “We’ve demonstrated proof of practice for all the target objectives in three years.”

The scientists have created individual plants with each trait, and ultimately they will combine most or all of the traits into a single plant.

Cassava is grown widely in tropical Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is the developing world’s fourth most important crop, with production in 2006 estimated at 226 million metric tons, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Cassava is the staple food of nearly one billion people in 105 countries where the root provides as much as a third of daily calories. However, average cassava yields are barely 20 percent of those obtained under optimum conditions. To engineer a better cassava plant, the scientists began with a model cultivar from Africa, a variety of a plant that is created or chosen and maintained through cultivation.

For each targeted trait, the team transferred into the cassava plant genes from other plants, including cassava, and sometimes bacteria, that could confer the desired traits. The transgenic plants then went through a rigorous biosafety approval process in the United States and were tested in model systems, like human cell lines and sometimes animals, before they were allowed to be grown outside in field trials.

BioCassava Plus now has field trials in progress at a US Department of Agriculture site in Puerto Rico and is working with partners from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.

“We have at least three traits in the field and we anticipate having two and maybe more coming by the end of the year,” Sayre said.

The next step is to hold field trials in Africa with partners in Kenya and Nigeria in 2009. After these trials, the scientists can begin the process of combining traits into a single plant.

“Africa is in the process of establishing biosafety regulations for transgenics in most of the countries,” Sayre said. However Kenya and Nigeria, have rules in place.

A preliminary cassava product release, potentially within five years, will have four or five traits, including virus resistance, higher protein, iron and vitamin A.

In Kenya, cassava is grown on more than 90,000 hectares with an annual production of about 540,000 tonnes. Cultivation is mainly in Western (60 percent), Eastern (10) and Coast provinces (30). The crop has been grown by peasant farmers for subsistence.

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Boosting cassava production

Cassava can be found in most parts of the world, but it is mostly found in Africa and Nigeria is the largest producer. But many people do not have the knowledge of how to plant and process it for export . It is often produced only for local consumption.

Against this backdrop, the Cassava Enterprises Development Project (CEDP), a Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme is being jointly sponsored by USAID and Shell Petroleum Development Company to promote cassava production and processing technologies in the South-South and South-East of Nigeria since June 2004. The project was funded with about US$11.9m. While Shell contributed 75 per cent of the total amount, USAID paid 25 per cent, with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as the implementing partner for the programme.

The projects were demonstrated in the key SPDC states such as Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Abia, Akwa- Ibom and Cross River. Though the project did not go without some challenges, it managed to scale through to achieve the aim for which it was designed.

To ensure the success of the programme, the IITA commenced a series of training courses in all the Shell states to educate core farmers on how to plant and process cassava. The training modules and activities included agribusiness and access to credit, competitive cassava production techniques, machine operation/product development, and community analysis. It was anticipated that the four courses/activities would be spread across 200 participants per state. However, it was later reasoned that it would be more cost-effective, and would generate a greater impact by allowing 50 participants per state to benefit from all the four modules. Participants were tested before and after each course to determine existing knowledge and knowledge gained.

The purpose of community analysis was to identify and analyse with community members, their constraints, opportunities, prospects, and priorities with respect to cassava enterprise development.

Participatory tools and techniques were used to explore relevant issues relating to livelihood, wealth and social status, crop production, processing, marketing and problem prioritisation as they affect cassava enterprises. The resource persons were Dr Udensi Udensi and Chyka Okarter.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, the Project Manager for CEDP, Dr. Gbassay Tarawali, explained that the four local government council areas that were involved in Delta State are Isoko North and South, and Ughelli North and South; all located within a radius of 10-50 km from Otor Owhe where the analysis was conducted. 42 participants were selected from across 17 communities, comprising 21 men, 11 women and 10 youths (six males and four females) who were involved in focus group discussions.

Crop production and general farming activities were identified as the prominent sources of livelihood involving men, women and the youth, with more than 50 per cent of the women engaged in cassava production. Cassava, yam, plantain, banana, maize and sweet potato were the priority food crops, while oil palm, pineapple, sugarcane, and paw-paw were the major cash crops.

Among the cassava enterprises, the priority activity of the men was the production of stems (30 per cent) and tubers (50 per cent). Making gari was a major enterprise for 80 per cent of the women and 30 per cent of the youth, while trading was the major non-farm livelihood activity for all the three groups.

The major problems with cassava production, common to men, women, and the youth were weeds, high cost of fertilizer, lack of capital/credit, lack of improved varieties, and technical know-how, the land tenure system, and the high cost of labour.

The common problems with cassava processing for all (men, women and the youth) were lack of machines/equipment, high transport costs for moving tubers from the farm to processing points, and poor access to clean water. Proximity to market as well as low and fluctuating prices, poor access roads and trade unionism were the major problems of marketing the produce.

Speaking about the programme, the project coordinators in the South-South and South-East, Dr Udensi Udensi and Chyka Okarter, told the Nigerian Tribune that the project was an intervention for poverty alleviation for farmers on the field and not just farmers who are not practising. It was being used to keep the women, youths and some of the men busy and be able to improve their lives and those of their families. Something that had been a bit difficult hitherto.

The project also afforded the communities to have some corporate farmers unlike the poor farmers of those days who could not even provide enough to eat, talk less of having something to sell to others.

However, today it is a success story for both the farmers and the sponsors of the projects, because they have achieved something from what they learnt about the new improved cassava.

The Nigerian Tribune spoke with some of the beneficiaries of the CEDP project in Warri, Asaba and Port-Harcourt zone who attended a workshop to display the products they derived from cassava and the cassava stems that could be purchased by farmers to get a better cassava plant during harvest time.

Dr. Amoudou, who was part of the training team, stated that, “We teach people how to make a number of products from cassava and today we are proud of what they are making of it. We also ensure they just don’t bag them in any kind of sack as they used to do, like the use of cement, fertilizer or even chemical sacks to bag edible products. Now they package with the name of the company, the address and NAFDAC registration numbers.”

According to him, people have started exporting cassava products for sometime because they now have hygienic methods of packaging. Up till 2009, Africa was the largest producer of cassava with Nigeria as number one followed by Cote D’Ivoire, but unfortunately, Nigeria was the smallest exporter of cassava.

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Wasps to Fight Thai Cassava Plague

BANGKOK — Entomologists deployed the first wave of an army of 250,000 tiny wasps over the weekend in a campaign to eradicate a plague of mealybugs that threatens to devastate Thailand’s $1.5 billion cassava crop.

The wasps, each smaller than a pinhead, home in on the mealybugs, piercing and laying their eggs inside them. The larvae devour the mealybugs from within, emerging in a few days from their mummified shells to seek new hosts.

It is the latest battle in a competition between farmers and predators for the crops that sustain them both, with this species of mealybugs feeding exclusively on cassava and the wasps feeding exclusively on the cassava-eating mealybugs.

“In that sense, it’s the perfect biological control,” said Rod Lefroy, regional research coordinator in Asia for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, a nonprofit group that has coordinated the release.

The use of wasps, which has been effective in Africa, is expected to also succeed in Thailand, the world’s leading exporter of cassava, which is also known as manioc, tapioca and yucca.

In Africa, where the use of wasps to kill mealybugs was pioneered, a new plague is already threatening vast cassava plantations: a disease known as brown streak, for which no cure has yet been found.

“It’s going to be an international game of cat and mouse,” said Tony Bellotti, an entomologist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia who is a specialist in wasps and mealybugs. “As the cassava mealybug finds its way to new countries, we can send in the wasps.”

Early signs of mealybug infestation have been reported in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, Thailand’s neighbors. “Cassava production in Southeast Asia has enjoyed an extended honeymoon, relatively free of major pest and disease outbreaks,” Dr. Bellotti said.

Thailand, the third largest producer of cassava, after Nigeria and Brazil, accounts for 60 percent of worldwide exports of the root, which is used in foods like noodles, the flavor-enhancer monosodium glutamate and products including toothpaste.

Much larger areas are cultivated in Africa, but Dr. Lefroy said that about 50 percent of production there was consumed locally as food.

Most of Thailand’s exports go to China, which produces 40 percent of its own huge demand for the plant. China’s consumption is expected to double in the next few years, making cassava an increasingly lucrative crop.

The mealybugs, with a life cycle of about a month, can spread quickly, with each insect laying an average of 440 eggs and producing 10 generations in a year. The bugs feed on the tips of cassava plants, stunting their growth with a toxic saliva.

The threat to Thailand’s industry emerged in force last year, when 20 to 25 percent of the crop was destroyed, frightening farmers and driving up prices.

Hundreds of farmers attended the ceremonial first release Saturday in Khon Kaen, some of them gathering up handfuls of wasps for themselves, Dr. Lefroy said.

The tiny wasps neither buzz nor sting, he said. “You’ve got to be an entomologist to even think of them as wasps.”

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Trade in cassava stems hits N150million

Researchers estimate that farmers in Nigeria traded improved cassava stem worth more than N150 million in five years.

Lateef Sanni, a professor at the International Institutes for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said this at the Food and Culture lecture organized by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate General, Lagos and IITA in Ibadan. Mr Sanni said that this increase came between 2003 and 2008, and attributed it to the cassava revolution in Africa. He added that the cassava stem is a part that is often neglected for having no commercial value. The lecture brought together experts in the food and agricultural sector. Stakeholders reviewed the US agricultural experience and brainstormed on areas that Africa could tap into. In his presentation, ‘Roots and Tubers: Food Security Crops in Nigeria,’ Mr Sanni said cassava was a food security crop in Nigeria and a major provider of employment and income. He said the crop appeals to farmers because of its affordability, ease of cultivation, and high return on investment. “Apart from the stems, cassava roots and leaves are now offering additional income streams to farmers,” he added.

More funds

Despite cassava’s role in the food web, Mr Sanni said more attention by way of support to research was still needed; more importantly, in cutting down post-harvest losses through investment in processing technologies and the creation of an appropriate policy framework were necessary to sustain cassava’s role in ensuring food security in the future. William Masters, professor from Tufts University said that the US government was reviewing its commitment to African agriculture with plans to increase funding for the sector and to achieve productivity growth. Mr Masters, an agricultural economist, explained that consumers in wealthy societies no longer need higher farm productivity for their own prosperity, but instead are seeking foods that embody their cultural values. Giving a scenario of killing the ‘golden goose that laid the golden eggs,’ he, however, expressed fears that consumer preferences for organic, local and traditional foods in the US might limit their support for the kind of agricultural innovations that are needed in Africa.

Agricultural revolution

According to him, the agricultural revolution in America and Europe which sustained industrialization was a product of technological improvement in agriculture and that campaigning against new advances that hold the key to cutting down hunger and poverty in Africa was synonymous to killing the golden goose that laid the golden eggs of new crop genetics and agronomic methods.

Notwithstanding the limiting preference of the US market, African experts at the session agreed that taking Africa’s agricultural sector out of the woods would require the adoption of new technological tools. Paul Ilona, IITA Senior Cassava Trials Manager, said farmers needed improved seeds, fertilizer and other farm inputs such as pesticides to boost productivity. “Anything to the contrary was a disservice to farmers in Africa,” he said.

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Cassava Becoming Mainstay Of Ghana’s GDP

Government will from next year ensure that the cultivation of cassava in the country is given a major boost to help address the challenges bedeviling the sector and help placed the Ghanaian economy on a sound footing.

The Minister for Environment and Science, Mrs. Shirley Aryeetey, disclosed this when delivering an address at a conference organized by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) last Friday.
The conference, which was under the theme “Improving Cassava Yields in Africa Drought-Prone-Environment”, was aimed at discussing how cassava yields can be improved in drought-prone environments like Africa.

She welcomed the idea of improving upon the production of the crop adding that “cassava has undergone transformation from being a resource poor farmer’s crop to industrial crop”.

The Minister, on that score, labeled the move as a “laudable idea because Cassava has contributed about 22% of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ever since it was introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th Century”.
“The improvement in the cultivation methods will help the nation to improve upon its food needs and also bring foreign exchange into the country,” she added.

The conference brought together researchers from advanced Agricultural Institutes and National Agricultural Researchers across the globe and was organized by the Centre under its Generation Challenge Program (GCP).
The GCP was created in 2003 with the aim of establishing a global network of partners from advanced agricultural institutes and national agricultural research programs to collectively work to improve crop productivity in drought-prone environments.

The partners, since the inception of the program have been able to work together to create public goods from the raw materials of plant genetic diversity and the advanced tools of genomics science for use in plant breeding programs.
Cassava as a crop, according to GCP, was introduced in the 16th Century by the Brazilian-Portuguese culture and has over the years become a major staple for Sub-Saharan Africa because of the many advantages gained from the crop.

The estimated worldwide production of cassava is about 300 million metric tons of fresh roots. The largest producers are Nigeria, Brazil, Congo (Zaire), Thailand, Indonesia and China. High domestic consumption of cassava in Nigeria, Congo and Brazil means their net exports is negligible.

Thailand and Indonesia are the largest suppliers of cassava chips into the world market covering about 80% and 10% of global exports respectively. In 1996 for example Thailand exported about 5 million tons of cassava products. In that same year, Ghana’s total production of fresh cassava was about 5 million tons. Local demand was 3 million tons, leaving a surplus of 2 million tons, which can yield about 700,000 tons of dry cassava products, like chips or starch.

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Tiny wasps, Mealybug and Cassava

An army of a quarter million South American tiny wasps (Anagyrus Lopezi), released into Thailand’s mealybug affected cassava crops, began their work on a silent way.

According to Thailand’s Agricultural ministry, the experiment has worked successfully to thwart a pest decimating one of the country’s largest food exports.

Entomologists deployed the first batch over the weekend in a campaign to eradicate a plague of mealybugs that threatens crops in Khon Kaen province in northeastern Thailand.

The mealybugs, a recognized enemy of cassava crops in South America and Africa from three decades ago, have arrived in Asia.

Scientists confirmed the spread of the cassava mealybug to about 200,000 hectares of farmland in eastern and north-eastern Thailand in late 2009.

The wasps, each smaller than a pinhead will be released in pairs, home in on the mealybugs, piercing and laying their eggs inside them. The larvae devour the mealybugs from within, emerging in a few days from their mummified shells to seek new hosts.

The use of wasps, which has been effective in Africa, is expected to also succeed in Thailand, the world’s leading exporter of cassava, which is also known as manioc, tapioca and yucca.

Early signs of mealybug infestation have been reported in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, Thailand’s neighbors.

Thailand, the third largest producer of cassava, after Nigeria and Brazil, accounts for 60 percent of worldwide exports of the root, which is used in foods like noodles, the flavor-enhancer monosodium glutamate and products including toothpaste.

The mealybugs, with a life cycle of about a month, can spread quickly, with each insect laying an average of 440 eggs and producing 10 generations in a year. The bugs feed on the tips of cassava plants, stunting their growth with toxic saliva.

The threat to Thailand’s $1.5 billion cassava industry emerged in force last year, when 20 to 25 percent of the crop was destroyed, frightening farmers and driving up prices.

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Donat Cassava

Material:
350 gr high protein flour
200 gr of cassava flour
50 gr milk powder
15 gr instant yeast
250 gr potatoes, steamed, mashed
100 gr sugar
75 gr butter
¼ teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
100 ml ice water
oil for frying

Topping:
100 gr dark cooking chocolate
100 g white cooking chocolate
50 gr almond slices, toasted briefly

How to Make:

  1. Mix the cassava starch, flour, sugar, milk powder, instant yeast, mix well. Enter a smooth potatoes, eggs and ice water and knead until blended and smooth.
  2. Add butter and salt. Knead again until smooth. Dough rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce dough, the dough of each 10 gr. Round it off. Let stand again for 20 minutes, until fluffy double that of the original.
  4. Heat oil over low heat, grab a donut dough, then form rings, enter in the cooking oil while inverted until cooked and golden brown color. Lift.
  5. After chilling, dip the donuts into the white chocolate or dark cooking chocolate cooking, sprinkle with almond slices wait until hard.

For 25 pieces

Tips:
cassava flour used in these recipes are not the same as tapioca flour. Cassava flour is made from dried cassava roots into flour and mashed so. In the market is usually called cassava flour.

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Cassava starch processing factory

Starch is an important raw material that is widely used in the food, textile, paper and pharmaceutical industries. Interestingly, recent a research by the Food and Agricultural Organisation shows that almost all starch varieties can be replaced with cassava starch.

In its latest report on the Global Cassava Market Study, published in www.fao.org/dorcrep, the FAO declares that global demand for cassava starch will increase at an annual rate of 3.1 per cent, while regional growth rates are expected to rise by 4.2 per cent in Asia; 3.4 per cent in Latin America; and 2.3 per cent in Africa.

The report notes,” Local processing of native cassava starch is an attractive option because it offers a means of converting a relatively low cost raw material into a high value product, which can readily substitute for imported starch.

“The market opportunity for cassava starch exists in every country that is consuming more starch in various industrial processes.”

Currently, Nigeria is the world‘s largest producer of cassava, with production capacity estimated at over 49 million metric tonnes per annum. Experts say that the Federal Government’s makes cassava starch processing a worthwhile venture for any enrepreneur.

The National President, Cassava Produce Promoters and Exporters Association of Nigeria, Mr. Markus Magaji, says small and medium scale entrepreneurs are currently investing in various cassava starch processing projects across the country due to availability of raw materials, with prospects of high returns on investment.

He says, ”Today, cassava starch is in high demand in the country. A lot of people are building cassava processing plants across the country. Due to the high prospects, in terms of returns on investment, most of them are acquiring more machines to expand their existing facilities.”

National President, Nigerian Cassava Processors and Marketers Association, Mr. Ayo Olubori, also notes that the growing interest in cassava starch processing is as a result of the wide application of the product, which lends to its profit-generating potential.

According to him, investment opportunities in starch production go beyond the shores of Nigeria.

“ Investors and government agencies from West African countries are already wooing entrepreneurs in Nigeria to their countries. Nigeria is undoubtedly more advanced than many other African countries in cassava starch processing. The recent lifeline given to the textile industry will further boost cassava starch production in Nigeria,” Olubori says.

He says that the technology for processing cassava starch is affordable and can be sourced within the country, adding that functional cassava starch processing machines are currently being fabricated locally.

The main challenges, according to him include insufficient land for cassava cultivation in commercial quantity, limited funding sources and poor power supply, which may raise its cost of production.

He, however, stresses that the choice of equipment, factory location and supply of raw materials and scale of production are critical factors that must be considered before investing in the business.

Olubori says, “A large cassava starch plant requires about 250 tonnes of freshly harvested cassava per day, while a mini plant requires about 20 tonnes per day. Both scales have the potential of producing the same quality. The yield is, however, a function of the age of cassava, variety of cassava, season of production (dry or wet season) and, of course, the efficiency of the equipment. Such a plant is usually fully automated, sometimes with computer controlled devices. Hence, total quality requirement is easier to manage.”

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Cassava Production at the Kalinago

Kalinago (A district on the north east coast now more popularly called the Carib Territory)
It is believed that people Kalinago transported to Dominican cassava plants from South America more than 1000 years ago. Cassava is one of the most respected food Kalinago people, and always an important part of their daily food.

There are various methods of preparation of Cassava in accordance with the purpose to be used. The Yams can be baked, boiled or roasted. It is most often used to make cassava bread. It is also often used to make Farine, which is the fiber of the Cassava after the starch has been removed from it.

When Cassava has reached maturity stage were then harvested and cleaned of all soil and external fibers, including skin before the land use of Cassava Mill.

The Mill Cassava designed and built by people Kalinago own. Grinding the surface of the filter plant consists of aluminum in the wheel. To grind the cassava, the foot is used to turn the wheels of the board is attached, while being fed with cassava grater.

Cassava soil mixed with water in the bath and then squeezed to separate the starch from the fiber. starch that settles at the bottom of the container in which the excess water is squeezed. Dry fibers and then filtered to remove the hard fibers, which make the fibers are ready for baking. Fiber can be incorporated into Farine or fibers with a mixture of starch can be baked into bread Cassava.

When making cassava bread, cassava fiber and starch mixture converted into a dough. This is then followed by placing it into the pan and allow to bake until cooked. Likewise, when making Farine, Cassava fibers are placed in a saucepan and stir until cooked.

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Shrimp and Creamy Cassava Sauce

I made this recipe for the bobo Cybercook. I added red bell pepper, I removed the skin and seeds of tomatoes and not used to puree the tomatoes on the original recipe, also decreases the amount of palm oil.
Funny, I make this dish often, but still had not posted. Cassava is from my backyard that I have planted a few feet and whenever I need a hole and get the piece that I use.

Shrimp Bobo

500g cleaned shrimp
Cassava 250g peeled and cut into chunks
6 tomatoes peeled and seeded, chopped
a handful of chopped chives and parsley
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
1 red pepper sliced
400ml coconut milk
a handful of chopped fresh coriander
1 x milk
100ml palm oil (less if you prefer)

Place the cassava into a pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer for about 30 minutes, until soft. Then, drain and blend in a food processor with the coconut milk and milk until a smooth paste. Reserve.
Heat palm oil in a pan, saute the onion for 3 min. Add garlic, tomatoes, peppers and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and chives, season with salt. Place the mashed cassava and cook stirring constantly until mixture is warm. Add the shrimp and wait until they are completely cooked (do not overcook or they will be stiff). Taste and add more salt if needed. In the end, add the cilantro. Remove from heat and serve with cooked rice.

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Cassava turns into source of cash

Nicholas Olum has been running a fabricating business for many years but it is only recently that his patience paid off— he was contracted to fabricate cassava-processing machines by two organisations that plan to change the fortunes of cassava farmers.

At Sh60,000 for every machine, not many cassava farmers could afford it.

Cassava is almost exclusively grown by small-scale farmers in Kenya with little disposable income.

In areas where it grows, the cooperative movement is weak, dashing the possibilities of group-owned small processing machines.

But Mr Olum’s change in fortunes has come from a new initiative that is helping farmers to grow cassava exclusively for semi-processing.

It is funded and co-ordinated by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Kenya Agriculture Research Institute and Farm Concern International.

The semi-processed cassava is sold to cattle feed manufacturers.

The aim is to use the dried chips as a raw material, together with maize, to make cattle feeds.

Feed manufacturers said their main raw material, maize, has become scarce and expensive, raising the cost of the animal feeds.

Maize is Kenya’s staple food so there is competition from humans for the same grain.

Connecting cassava farmers to feed manufacturers will provide a reliable source of raw materials to the feed industry since the crop is available throughout the year.

Feed manufacturers need consistent quality supply to maintain the feed formula and stabilise prices.

“Our members have been looking for reliable quality and consistent supply of alternative carbohydrate sources. Pressure on maize is forcing us to think of partial substitutes cassava chips will fill this gap,” said Martin Kinoti, Secretary General of the Association of Kenya Feeds Manufacturers.

Most recently, Kenya has suffered poor weather conditions that have resulted in below average production of maize, opting for imports.

While imports are cheaper, the cost of transport, especially from the port of Mombasa makes the imported maize even more expensive than the locally grown variety

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