Cassava is a staple crop and food source for millions of people in Nigeria, Ghana and other parts of Africa. It has many uses in addition to providing nutrition to humans. The leaves can be eaten as a vegetable or cooked as a soup. They can also be dried and given as feedstuff to animals for extra protein.
The roots can be processed into many things:
- Cassava can be processed into starch
The cassava starch can be added to the ingredients for making paper and clothing textiles.
- Cassava can be processed into flour
The cassava flour can be added to expensive imported flour (provided the quality of the cassava flour is good enough) to make cakes, bread and biscuits.
- Cassava can be processed into chips
Cassava chips can be used for animal feed
- Cassava can be processed into ethanol
The ethanol produced from cassava can be used as biofuel when combined with additives.
- Cassava can be processed into fructose
Fructose is used in industry for sweetening fizzy drinks.
Cassava is usually grown for human consumption. Fufu is a traditional way to consume cassava. There are 14 steps to the process of making fufu including grating and washing so it is very time consuming and labour intensive.
Gari is another traditional way of eating cassava. The cassava is grated and put into weighted sacks for the water to drain out and for the cassava to ferment slightly.
Cassava flour has been turned into a variety of snack foods. You can purchase cassava snacks that are promoted as “healthy Snacking” in the UK in a variety of flavours.
Written by Fiona Johnson