Wednesday, February 24, 2010


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Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also called yuca or manioc, is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. The flour made of the roots is called tapioca.

Cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the world.Cassava is classified as "sweet" or "bitter" depending on the level of toxic cyanogenic glucosides; improper preparation of bitter cassava causes a disease called konzo. Nevertheless, farmers often prefer the bitter varieties because they deter pests, animals, and thieves.

World production of cassava root was estimated to be 184 million tonnes in 2002. The majority of production is in Africa where 99.1 million tonnes were grown. 51.5 million tonnes were grown in Asia and 33.2 million tonnes in Latin America and the Caribbean. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava. However, based on the statistics from the FAO of the United Nations, Thailand is the largest exporting country of dried cassava with a total of 77% of world export in 2005. The second largest exporting country is Vietnam, with 13.6%, followed by Indonesia (5.8%) and Costa Rica (2.1%). Worldwide cassava production increased by 12.5% between 1988 and 1990

Its cultivation in Nigeria depends on the part of area of the county. Example, it is profitably grown in the Southern Part of the country between the month of June and August – inclusive.
Many procedures are observed in the process of its cultivation.

They are:

Land Citation: This is the first work to be done because in Nigeria loamy soil is the suitable soil for effective growing of cassava.

Bush Clearing: The bush on the land to be cultivated should be cleared. This may be done using matchets or machines and left for some days before burning to help facilitate burning. This burning can be done by gathering the trash (the cut off plants) at any corner before burning. It is better to get them burnt at a corner than burning them scattered throughout the whole land.
Land Tilling: In Nigeria, land tilling is done by the use of hoe or machine. This land tilling can be organized into mounds or ridges.

Planting: Since cassava cannot be planted using its seed like as in yam, rather it is planted using its stem cuttings (cut stems). This can be obtained from the stems of matured cassava plant. When these stem cuttings are ready in the length ranging from 20cm to 30cm long. Planting can be done by placing the right position of the stem cutting inside the tilled soil.

Weeding: First, weeding is the process of removing unwanted plant from the farm. For this reason that this should be done in the farm therefore care must be taken in order not to destroy what has been planted in the farm. Therefore hoe or matchets or herbicide can be used. The herbicide in used is been carefully added in order not to affect the crop (cassava) negative. Weeding can be started when the weed must have started sprouting. This should be about three weeks after cultivation.

Manuring: In Nigeria, fertilizers and farm yard manure are commonly used. Fertilizers used in Nigeria for effective yield of the crop (cassava) are NPK with high content of potassium. Harvesting: Some types of cassava get fully matured within nine months. Some stays for twelve months before they get matured while some last up to two years before they get fully matured. And this harvesting can be done by uprooting with hand or using other suitable harvesting implements in digging out the tubers.

Storage: There is no other means to store cassava without been processed into cassava floor, processing it into what Nigerians called garri or soaking it in the water and allowed it to ferment and then sieve using a sieve.

The ethanol programme by NNPC aiming at exploring sources of biomass that can be used to produce fuel ethanol to improve automotive emissions in the country, to reduce domestic use of petrol, free up crude for export and position Nigeria for the development of “Green Fuel” which is embedded in the “Automotive Biomass Ethanol Programme” began in august 2005, which focused on the establishment of 20,000 hectares of sugarcane and 10,000 hectares of cassava, which are the two active ingredients in ethanol production. The core aspect of the initiative, is aimed at producing fuel grade that would be blended with petrol or gasoline in proportions not exceeding 10 percent volume, the new product will reduce the volume of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, thereby improving air quality and reducing health hazards associated with environmental pollution.

In addition, the energy sector reform plan of the Nigerian government is targeting 735 megawatts of electricity to be generated from renewable energy as part of the nation’s energy mix by 2015 by stimulating large scale implementation of renewable energy based power project using non-conventional sources, including biomass. However, certain analysts have argued that diverting locally produced crops (cassava in this case) will have dire effects on the food demand of local consumers because the ethanol market would mop up the products meant for consumption by the masses. It is believed that such move may lead to more hunger among Nigerians (Africa as a whole).

It is reported that 200 million people in Africa are chronically hungry, meanwhile in 1998 and 2000, more than a quarter of the population were seriously undernourished (202 million people). In sub- Saharan Africa, it is expected that the number of undernourished will increase from 180 million in 1995/97 to 184 million. This is a sharp contrast to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving hunger and poverty in 2015. The picture depicts above, welcomes us into the awesome opportunities inherent in cassava, the most staple crop and a source of food to virtually all Nigerians, I stand to be corrected. The NEPAD Pan African Cassava Initiative referred to it as a powerful poverty fighter by driving down the price of food to millions of consumers.

In any way one looks at, the current wave of national prominence roaring thorough the country about cassava which was prompted by the presidential initiative of 2002, intending to use the crop as the engine of growth in Nigeria and to put the nation in the global context for competition.

However, the country needs to upgrade the use of cassava into an industrial base for further diversification of the country’s economy with a categorization into the farm level by farmers processed into chips, flour and pellets by processors, used by agro industries to produce other products like ethanol, dextrin/adhesives, native and modified starch for the other industrial set-up (e.g. textiles, paper, wood, etc) and consumer (food and beverage) markets.

As at the time of writing these report the local price from ready ,willing and able buyers is N9000/MT and we can provides of the buyers to interested parties.

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