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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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