Botanical name: Manihot esculenta
Family -- Euphorbiaceae
Cassava also known as yuca is a tropical starchy common tuber highly sustainable, widely grown in various part of the world today, it’s a sweet, crunchy underground tuber that is popular since early centuries in many part of Africa, Asia, Europe and the South American indigenous people. In most cases organically its grown alongside with the underground root tubers and starchy foods like Yam, sweet potato and ginger, it can also be grown in a practice of intercropping with other vegetables like melon, rice, maize, and other leguminous crops in crop rotation. It is an indispensable part of carbohydrate food for millions residence in various region of the world today.
PLANTAION, SELECTION AND STORAGE IN CASSAVA
Planting of cassava is season and also can be done anytime but to get the best result, provided there is enough moisture for sprouting the best time to plant in West Africa is between MARCH and OCTOBER.
Planting material are the stem cuttings. It is advisable to use mature stems but not very lignified basal part or the tender unlignified apical section. The middle stem should be used and cuttings should be used and cuttings should be 20cm to 40cm long each containing 3 – 4 nodes or more. The stems should be kept in a cool shady place for about two weeks before planting. The best material for cutting is obtained from cassava stands that are 12 – 18 months old for late maturing cultivars.
Weeding is an essential practice in making cassava plantation a success.
Cassava does not store well after harvesting, hence it is advisable to harvest the crop piece meal. The best way to store cassava is in a processed form like Garri or starch or cassava flour after the cassava has been processed. One of the most effective ways of storing the starch or flour after processing is to store it in a customized metal building designed for storing such items.
Avoid getting the old stocks of cassava for eaten or processing purpose as they are out of flavor and palatability.
The cassava is a perennial group that grows best in tropical rain forest, moist, fertile and well-drained soils. But the peculiar characteristic of cassava is the high resistance ability which makes it to survive advance weather condition and virtually could be grown in various part of the world, indirectly making it more of a universal food.
When mature each tuber weighs one to several kgs. Depending on the species that was cultivated it features brown, rough-woody textured skin. The flesh features a pure white looking starchy rich and sweet appearance which must be eaten only after cooking.
Cassava as a tropical tuber well known in various part of the world with various names attached to it culturally and traditional as unlimited benefits. Both to health, society, industrially, agriculturally, biologically and lots more few out of the unlimited uses of cassava will be discussed below; just stay put and read along.
BENEFITS OF CASSAVA INCLUDE;
Cassava can be processed into Garri (cassava flakes), and a typical food eaten in the west in Nigeria known as lafun and fufu. Cassava processed into flour form can be used for bread, cake, starch, chips, ethanol and some other confectionaries.
Processed cassava can be used industrially as raw material in the manufacturing of finished goods like Adhesives, dextrin, dextrose, glucose, Lactose and sucrose.
Dextrin is used as a binding agent in the Paper making industry and adhesive in cardboard, plywood and veneer binding.
Ethanol is an inorganic compound gotten from cassava and it is used extensively in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry for production of cosmetics and drugs.
Cassava and cassava products are highly utilized in the food and beverage industries in the manufacture of Jelly, caramel and chewing gum. The products are used in the manufacturing of dry cells, textiles and chalk used in schools and lots more.
Cassava leaves serves as a good fodder for livestock (most especially ruminant animals). Garri (Cassava flakes) are in high demand in the foreign countries.
Cassava has nearly twice the calories than potatoes; perhaps the highest for any tropical starch tubers and their calories is basically gotten from sucrose forming the larger sugars in the tuber.
Cassava is low in fats and oil much more than other cereals and pulses, even though it as more protein content than other tuber food crops.
It is a little bit therapeutic as it is free from gluten. Which makes it to be used in the preparation of meal for the celiac disease patients?
The young cassava plants leaves are a good source if dietary proteins and vitamin K. which also help in limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
The root of cassava is the major source of some important minerals like zinc, iron, copper, magnesium and manganese for many inhabitants in the tropical zones.
The peeled hard brown layer of cassava can be feed to animals as fodder.
Cassava contains a good quantity of dietary fiber which helps to prevent constipation both in man and animals, it also help in weight lose. It also helps in reducing the unhealthy cholesterol level.
With this feasibility course on the general knowledge, production, benefits and uses of cassava we can see this tropical crop is incredibly great and numerous in use this is a very good reason why you can make use of cassava as a means of food sustainability in various part of the world if there are any other knowledge and benefits you want to include you are free to share your view at the comment box below.