Cassava is cultivated widely in the tropic and sub-tropic parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America at altitudes from 0 to 2,000 m above sea level. The roots are the principal economic product, whereas the leaves are widely processed for human consumption and animal feed.
Cassava roots are processed into a diverse range of food and animal products, and industrial raw materials. The most important primary product is starch, which is used in many industrial applications such as food, textile, paper, pharmaceutical and other industries. In Africa, cassava is produced almost exclusively for food.
Current challenges related to cassava production include pest and diseases as well as storability of the roots, food safety (potential cyanide release) and suitability of newly bred varieties for food and industrial uses. Future increases in cassava consumption in Africa will depend on advancements in its processing into diverse food forms, or in using it as an alternative to imported wheat, rice and corn starch targeting the urban consumers.
text: Abass Adebayo