Cassava stems sow seeds of discontent

Farmers in Kamwenge District, who were given cassava cuttings, have rejected them, saying they are too dry and unfit for planting.

Over 200 sacks of cassava cuttings worth Shs7 million were reportedly bought from Luweero District by Tamsaka Contractors for farmers in Nkoma Sub-county, Kibaale County.

However, after discovering that the cassava cuttings were dry, the beneficiaries mobilised themselves and carried the cuttings to the office of the Resident District Commissioner, Mr Ignatius Basisisra, to register their dissatisfaction.

Punishment awaits
The deputy RDC, Mr Elijah Biryabarema, said whoever is found to have caused the mess will face the law.“I have already summoned all the officers implicated in this mess and we are continuing with investigations to find out whether the cassava cuttings were procured dry or they dried at the sub-county headquarters, or in the hands of the beneficiary farmers,” said Mr Biryabarema.

The area councillor, Mr George Tunanukye, who was one of the beneficiaries, said action must be taken against the contractor and the procuring team.

Efforts to get a comment from the contractor, Mr Moses Kwesiga, were fruitless as his phone was switched off. But the sub-county chief, Ms Harriet Niyigira, blamed the farmers for not responding on time when called to collect the cassava cuttings.

The cuttings were procured with funding from the National Agricultural Advisory Services in December last year and were given to farmers two weeks ago.

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Bondowoso `tape', sweeter than its business

It's 6.30 a.m. when Iwan Susanto (alias Liong Kuy Tjen), 44, opens the "Sukses" store his family owns on Jl. Teuku Umar 66, Bondowoso, a small town located 200 kilometers East of Surabaya, East Java.

In the light green shop facing Bondowoso market, about 30 piles of bamboo boxes containing sweet tape - a snack made from fermented steamed cassava - produced two days earlier, are neatly arranged and ready for sale.

Iwan is the fifth child of Liong Khiam Shin and Giam Giok Ing. The man from China and his wife from Bondowoso were the first family to popularize this traditional snack as the town's favorite food and signature delicacy.

However, apart from the East Javanese or those visiting the town, people are more familiar with peuyeum, the same snack from Bandung, West Java, than Bondowoso tape. So business is still quite slow for the "Sukses" family.

According to Iwan, the family tape business dates back to the 1960s. At the time, young Liong Khiam Shin arrived from China and married Bondowoso-born Giam Giok Ing, later raising eight children.

They initially resided in Beringin district, an area famous for its yellow cassava, better known as singkong mentega (butter cassava), one of the varieties only grown in Bondowoso.

"Yellow cassava later became the main ingredient for Bondowoso tape production. White cassava doesn't make such a good tape," Iwan told The Jakarta Post at the end of December.

The Liongs used to run a general goods store in Beringin at the time. They noticed people in the neighborhood making tape for their own consumption, and selling it at the market when their stomachs couldn't fathom another one of those snacks.

When the family relocated to the center of town in 1965, the prevailing domestic political upheaval put pressure on members of the ethnic Chinese community, forcing Liong Khiam Shin to abandon his store and try his hand at producing tape.

"Iced syrup vendors were initially my parents main customers, who said the cassava snack we made was delicious if mixed with iced coconut milk," recalled Iwan, who used to help peel cassava while still in primary school.

Gradually, the family's tape became increasingly popular with townspeople because Giam Giok Ing painstakingly maintained the quality of the product, using special yeast from Solo, Central Java.

The fermentation produces a yellow and attractive cassava tape, with a soft texture and sweet taste as well as a tingly feeling from its moderate alcohol content.

Unlike other fermented cassava snacks, Liong's tape is moist. Buyers who have tasted his tape, which comes in one-kilogram, 1.25-kilogram and two-kilogram boxes, almost always come back for more. At Rp 6,000 a kilogram, who wouldn't?

And so Liong called the shop "Sukses", after his popular tape product. Liong painted the name himself on a wooden board.

"But residents of Bondowoso call our product tape 66, because our house is on Jl. Teuku Umar 66," said Iwan.

Bondowoso tape is different from peuyeum, says Iwan. The Bandung product undergoes an aerobic process, where the fermentation is exposed to air, whereas Bondowoso tape applies the anaerobic method, without the help of air.

"The steamed cassava is tightly wrapped in banana leaves in boxes to ensure full fermentation," Iwan explains, adding he uses up 1.2 tons of cassava for two days' worth of tape production.

This popular snack has nutritious value too. Professor Fleet, a microbiologist from New South Wales University, said in a lecture at the International Workshop on Food Fermentation in 1990 that compared with yoghurt and cheese, tape was nutritionally quite satisfactory.

It contains carbohydrates, vitamin A - which is good for the eyes, and vitamin B1 for nerves and the brain. The high vitamin A content is noticeable when the fermentation process produces yellowish tape.

Vitamin B1 deficiency causes lethargy, indigestion, nervous dysfunction and fatigue due to a lack of energy.

In Bondowoso, the other brands of tape besides "Sukses" or 66 are tape 31 from Wringin village, tape 82 on Jl. PB Sudirman, and tape Manalagi on Jl. RE Martadinata.

In addition to the usual tape, the snack is also modified into various other forms such as tape-based dodol (fudge), suwar-suwir (sweets), cakes and brownies.

Bondowoso regency has 6,552 hectares of cassava plantations in 21 of its 23 districts, producing more than 120,000 tons of cassava a year, or 3 percent of East Java's annual production.

In all the years Iwan's tape business has been operating, he says his family has never received any business management assistance from the regency administration.

"We need help with developing our business, but such assistance has never come. We've been working on our own, without the help of the Bondowoso regency administration. The fate of this business isn't as sweet as Bondowoso tape itself," said Iwan with a sour smile.

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U.S.$2 Million Bid to Fight Cassava Disease.

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania and Uganda are set to benefit from a US$2.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help the two countries fight cassava diseases and improve breeding varies.

Cassava feeds millions of people in sub Saharan Africa and some of its uses are not well tapped.

The money will specifically go towards identifying some cassava diseases and buying molecular markers for faster and more accurate breeding of cassava varieties that are resistant to Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD).

However, the grant has been directed to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and its partners, the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI), Tanzania, and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda, have received the grant that may see cassava production increase.

The disease that is caused by the Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV) and results in a dry rot in the tuberous roots rendering them inedible, is one of greatest threats to food security in sub-Saharan Africa, as cassava is an important staple food from which over 200 million people derive over 50% of their carbohydrate intake.

IITA and ARI have identified a few varieties with some level of resistance to the disease. The four-year project aims to identify the DNA markers associated with the resistance genes in these varieties and integrate marker-assisted selection into cassava breeding programs.

Marker-assisted breeding will enable the breeders to determine whether or not the desired genes of CBSD resistance have been successfully transferred from the parents to the offspring at the seedling stage using DNA testing. This will dramatically reduce the size of the working populations and the time taken to develop improved varieties. According to Dr. Morag Ferguson, an IITA scientist and team project leader, breeding for disease-resistant cassava is the most cost-effective and sustainable way to control the effects of the virus.

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Making money from Cassava

Farmers and private investors play an important role in redefining the profile of crop production. They have found cropping activities as economically viable areas of investment because of the huge income and other benefits they assess from it. There are several agricultural production intervention programmes, most of which are in the crop production sub sector, established by the federal government in conjunction with the states and the world food bodies.

They include programmes such as the toot tuber expansion programme and the National special programme on food security. Since the return to democratic governance in 1999, the nation has witnessed a positive cassava revolution which is aimed at achieving self sufficiency in food production and for export to increase the foreign exchange earnings from the agricultural sector in relation to the oil sector.

The price of cassava in the raw and processed stages has appreciated and there has also been added value to cassava products as investment for private and local farmers engaged in the cassava business. The demand for cassava has recently increased the awareness of its domestic and industrial uses.

Apart from cassava being important in the international market, it ranks first of the top 10 Nigerian crops. Nigeria could very well be the largest producer of cassava worldwide. Government’s intervention in support of production, processing and marketing of cassava dated back to the 1970s, through National Accelerated Food Production Programme, Operation Feed the Nation, Agricultural Development Projects, the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, National Agricultural Research Systems all contributed to growth of cassava production.

Production and processing

The production areas in Nigeria include the South west, South east and some Northern parts of the country. Fresh cassava tubers cannot be stored for long because they rot within three to four days after harvest and because they are also bulky.

The transportation of tubers from interior farmlands to urban centres where they are processed or marketed has contributed to the cost of the crop in recent time.

Cassava can be processed into many bye products, such as garri, fufu, chips and starch. It can also be used in the industrial sector in the making of baby foods, biscuits, bread, starch, furniture, textiles, paper and in pharmaceuticals.

Last year, the House of Representatives made it mandatory for all flour millers to include cassava in the production of flour for bread baked in the country. At present, there exists a large local market for cassava and its by-products to reduce the rot of the fresh. Processing is done by mechanical to reduce drudgery.

There are lots of entrepreneurial opportunities in cassava because cassava can be processed in to different by-products.

Garri, a by-product, is one of the staple foods in Nigeria, and quite a sizeable quantity is now being exported to Europe and the United States of America, to meet the growing demand of Nigerians living in those parts of the world.

In addition to Garri, cassava starch and chips offer trade opportunities in foreign countries. South Africa, which is well known for the production of large quantities of corn starch, now imports very large quantities of cassava starch to make up for the demand of 90,000 tonnes of corn starch per annum.

Cassava starch and chips can also be easily marketed in ECOWAS states. Many entrepreneurs are currently into the business of exporting cassava starch.

Processing it into products like chips, flour and starch can increase Nigeria’s revenue significantly.

Modern processing technology has also added value to cassava starch and all other cassava by-products, thereby improving their competitiveness with similar products from sources like soya beans and cocoa.

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Organized it, it’s easy

In continuation with my second renovation of my coffee shop, still I need more stuff to organize my kitchen tolls. Decision will be thought if you have no idea for setting up the tools. Even the equipment and cabinetry for your cafe can be ordered directly from the Design & Layout Services. But you will need enclume pot racks.

Because it will suitable to make a cafe function successfully. enclume pot rack, need to considered it to make your job easy,it will make your time more efficient and useful for other activity.

Just trust to it, enclume potracks easy to order and it will organized the stuff, the café will running smoothly and will become a great place to hang out and given more revenue, you will never believe that to arranged kitchen stuff will no longer difficult.

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All round sweet potatoes

Available in at least three colors, cream, red-orange and purple, the sweet potato or in Indonesian, ubi or ubi jalar (creeping tuber) is a potential staple alternative in many regions in Indonesia. The people of Central Java and Irian Jaya even call sweet potato the stuff of life. One of the sweetest varieties is the Ubi Cilembu from West Java.

Discussing sweet potatoes is interesting. My Peruvian friend said in her country, sweet potatoes are used daily and people enjoy them very much. Well, sweet potatoes are indeed globetrotters and are native in South America.

Whereas, the South Americans enjoy sweet potatoes cooked, steamed or grilled, we sometimes enjoy them raw. The rujak serut ceremony, is one that requires seven kinds of fruit and sweet potato combinations.

For example, when families celebrate their daughter's seventh month's pregnancy, a grated rujak serut is performed for the expectant mother. The event is joyful with relatives and friends gathering to watch the rujak serut made by elderly relatives. Sometimes, they don't want the rujak too spicy.

Others advise to omit pineapple from rujak because they say it could cause miscarriage.

The expectant mother then invites her husband to help serve the rujak to the guests. If the guests think it's "too spicy" it is believed the mother will give birth to a baby boy. If the response is "too sweet" it is believed to be a baby girl.

The seventh month rujak ceremony is different in many areas. An interesting one is the Betawi ceremony.

South Kalimantan has interesting purple colored ubi (oubee) used in many dishes and Irian Jaya harvests large purple-colored ubi. Sweet potatoes vary in size from small finger-length tubers to giant ones.

Ubi water content also varies. Some contain 70 percent water. Others only 50 percent, making it popular. The quality of ubi is deciphered by its skin.

Pale-skinned ubi is mostly watery whereas more distinctive-colored ones, whether yellow, pink or purple are less so and more suitable for cooking because of its chunkier consistency, being best for baking and mashing.

Ubi is remarkable for its sugar content reaching 3 to 6 percent, which can increase depending on how it's stored. Ubi is usually stored for about a week after harveste. The sugar content also increases by cooking it.

Ubi is very versatile, a great accompaniment to meat or fish dishes. Sliced and fried it is an enjoyable snack. Coarsely or finely grated it is a great item for sweet and sour, and chili dishes such as rujak serut from East Java.

It can be grated into pancake batter, along with sliced apple. This pancake is reminiscent of Dutch cuisine. "Pankuk Ubi Merah" is sprinkled with powdered sugar.

In Central Java, sweet potato is incorporated into porridge called biji salak or candil.

Sweet potato is steamed or boiled then mixed with tapioca flour in a 1:1 ratio into a dough, formed into marble sized balls (called candil) or rather long, (2 centimeter) pointed pieces (called biji salak, or snakeskin fruit pits) and immersed in boiling water.

When they float to the surface, the balls are ready and put in distilled, cold water to become solid. Served in a sweet coconut sauce, the chewy balls are teatime porridge favorites or served at certain selamatans.

Another yummy concoction is kolak (koulaq). Large chunks or cubes of raw, sweet potato are cooked in a thick, coconut-milk sauce, sweetened with palm sugar and accompanied with pine leaves.

Sweet potato is also eaten raw in many parts of Indonesia. In Bogor, sweet potato is thinly sliced. It is an important ingredient in asinan buah-buahan, or fruit pickle, one of Bogor's delicious fruit salads.

But sweet potato is more than a great ingredient for sweet snacks. According to many health food capacities such as Jean Carper, the author of many health-food books, sweet potato is a potent source of the antioxidant beta carotene, which deters macular degeneration.

The young leaves of sweet potato are also used as a vegetable in many regional dishes. In Eastern Java, sweet potato leaves are made into a coconut-milk broth. Sometimes sweet potato leaves are cooked and eaten with a fiery sambal. Sweet potato plants picked for their leaves tend to have smaller and less tender tubers.

Eating habits in Indonesia differ from region to region. In Java or Sumatra, sweet potato is mostly eaten as a sweet dish, however people in North Sulawesi prefer their sweet potato savory. Sweet potato on Eastern islands is a staple.

A favored accompaniment to boiled or steamed sweet potato is various sambal. For instance, sambal terasi, sambal with smoked fish, or sambal tomat, chopped tomatoes in finely-ground chili.

Like other tubers, sweet potato is also made into chips. Fried, the chips are seasoned with salt.

Another snack is grated sweet potato fried crispy. Make a caramel sauce of brown sugar until it forms a hairy texture. Mix in the fried sweet potato. After slightly cooled, form small balls known as kremes (crunchy). A typical snack in Jakarta.

Sweet potato gives people a living for those coming in from villages, seeking fortune in big cities. Pushcarts of fried ubi (sweet potato), singkong (cassava) and pisang (banana) are everywhere.

Near large building sites, even at Jakarta's Golden Triangle, the vendors enjoy a modest profit. If they save, the money can be used to build a house in their hometown.

According to history (On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Harold McGee) the sweet potato is native to Central America, but may have spread to Polynesia before the arrival of Westerners.

Columbus brought ubi to Europe and by the end of the 15th Century, it was established in China, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian regions, including Indonesia.

Have a bowl of cold water on hand when peeling and slicing sweet potatoes, or put drops of a souring agent on slices to prevent browning.

Top mashed white potato on your favorite casserole. Red-orange sweet potato (ubi merah) has a sweeter taste compared than other colors, and better for sweet foods or accompanying sweet-sour fish dishes.

When grilling over charcoal, cover small potatoes (do not peel) with hot ashes. When done, peel and spread butter on them. Delicious sprinkled with parmesan or dipped into sweet-chili sauce.

Avoid wrinkled sweet potatoes or those that have sprouts - they are less sweet. Sometimes large-sized sweet potatoes taste blander. Store in a cool, dry place and because they bruise easily, handle carefully.

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Cassava Production Gets U.S. $1.6 Million

The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said it is now in a better position to increase cassava production and boost food security in Africa after commissioning five new processing centers in Sierra Leone.

The centers are part of a $1.6 million Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) project that involves Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Benin Republic funded by the IITA for increased cassava production to ensure food security and reduce poverty.

According to a statement released from the institute and signed by the Corporate Communication Officer Godwin Atser, the CFC project is aimed at adding value to cassava and to boost its production for wealth creation.

Coordinator of the program Prof. Lateef Sanni, said the project, "would improve the livelihood and income of farmers and stakeholders in the Cassava enterprise but more importantly, it would create market and drive the production of cassava."

The statement also revealed that the production of cassava has been on the increase in Sierra Leone since 1990 climbing from 178,200 metric tons in 1990 to 1, 236, 852 metric tons in 2007.

The Director General of the Sierra Leon Institute Agricultural Research Institute Dr. Alfred Dixon explained that the various uses of cassava is put to use in the country have created high demand for the product.

He said products like Garri, a Nigerian introduced staple food has actually increased the demand for cassava, making it second to rice in terms of staple food demand because both its roots and leaves are used as food.

IITA said the establishment of the processing centers in local communities Waterloo, Bo District, Njala Agricultural Research Center (NARC), Makeni city and Teko and Hamdalai, all in Sierra Leone has created interest in cassava production.

A local farmer Dorris Kargbo, who benefited from the Cassava center in Hamdalai village, said more than 40 farming groups have been formed for cassava production.

She said each of the groups consists of not less than 30 farmers and the formation of the groups is to ensure a steady supply of cassava tubers to the processing centers for conversion into Foofoo, Garri, Cassava Cake and Cassava Doughnut among others.

"This would create jobs to our people, generate wealth and reduce poverty. It is our own strategy for contributing to in Sierra Leone", she said

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Build $110m cassava ethanol refinery

An indigenous firm, Crown Agro-Allied Industries Limited, has concluded plans to build an integrated cassava ethanol fuel refinery in Ikole, Ekiti State, at an estimated cost of $110m.

The Chairman, New Partnership for African Development’s Pan African Cassava Initiative, and director, Crown Agro-Allied, Mr. Boma Anga, said this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja.

According to him, the project is made up of a 10,000- hectare cassava farm, 200,000 litres per day fuel ethanol refinery, 60 tonnes per day carbon dioxide plant, and a waste treatment bio-gas plant for the production fertiliser.

He said that the projected would be completed within 18 months, adding that arrangements had been concluded with technical partners from China to ensure the completion of the project as scheduled

Anga said, “The project is an integrated project comprising a 10,000-hectare cassava farm, 200,000 litres per day fuel ethanol refinery; a 60-tonne per day CO2 plant and waste treatment and bio gas plant that will generate fertiliser.

“We have already finalised arrangements with our technical partners from China and they have assured us that within the next six months, the first phase of the project will be completed, while the entire project is expected to be completed within 18 months.

“The cassava farm that will feed the factory will take between 18–24 months to be established because it will be the largest cassava farm the world. It will cover about 12,900 hectares. Systematically, we have commenced the establishment of a seed nursery to ensure we have enough capacity to produce the highest grade and quantity of ethanol per yield.”

He also said, “With the Federal Government showing interest in the development of fuel ethanol, there is now a revival of interest from the financial sector to back up the project.

“Initially, the banks were a bit reluctant because they did not know whether the Federal Government will follow up with policy, which started with the former President Obasanjo administration.

“The government is showing enormous interest now. We will be benefiting from the Agricultural Credit Scheme, especially from the feedstock aspect.”

Already, we have placed a demand of N2bn with a leading commercial bank in Nigeria, and have got a no objection from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“All other things being equal, and God helping us, the cassava ethanol refinery will come on stream within18months. The project, estimated to cost about $110m is the brainchild of Crown Agro-Allied Investment Limited, an indigenous private sector consortium.”

Analysts say fuel ethanol, an anti-knock additive in gasoline, is set to emerge as an important motor fuel in view of the Kyoto Protocol agreement which Nigeria is signatory to.

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New concept for my cafe

What a find! Patrons seated at the tasting bar salivate while viewing the beautifully plated desserts circling on the counter table. I just creates a new looks at 2010 for my café, creates the decadent new ambient and other high-quality foods in the new on-site kitchen. All this stuff you will find it at wasserstrom restaurant supplies.

Professional cookware filled with people sipping hot chocolate and espresso surround one side of the tasting counter, while the other side is filled with a large display of Local chocolates supply from local cocoa.

Chain restaurant supplies around in Indonesia for many years, but they are new to my local city.There are several non-affiliated cafes in my city but soon this yummy trend should spread to major cities throughout the city. The concept is unique, as it tries to meld the atmosphere of local ambient with the popularity of chocolate. Traditionally, chocolate shops had little room if any to consume the treats they sold.

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