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Stats: 17,991 Members, 73,296 Topics, 15,958 Comments. Date: Sep 21 2019, 8:15 pm

QUESTION: Why Is Cassava More Cosumed In Our Community? [Solved]

Nigeria Student Forum / Questions / Agriculture / Why Is Cassava More Cosumed In Our Community?

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Mathew Oluwaseun
University of Ilorin (Unilorin)
Mechanical Engineering
500Level, Nigeria.

Cassava has the potential to increase farm incomes, reduce rural and urban poverty and help close the food gap. Without question, cassava holds great promise for feeding Africa's growing population. Cassava can be produced with family labour, land and a hoe and machete, making it an attractive and low-risk crop for poor farmers. Also, cassava is available to low-income rural households in the form of simple food products (for example, dried roots and leaves) which are significantly cheaper than grains such as rice, maize and wheat. Similarly, urban households in many parts of West Africa consume cassava in the form of gari2 (Nweke et al., 2001).

Cassava has several other advantages over rice, maize and other grains as a food staple in areas where there is a degraded resource base, uncertain rainfall and weak market infrastructure. It is drought tolerant; this attribute makes it the most suitable food crop during periods of drought and famine.

Cassava has historically played an important famine-prevention role in Eastern and Southern Africa where maize is the preferred food staple and drought is a recurrent problem.

However, cassava has been neglected for numerous reasons by researchers, African policy-makers and by most donor and international agencies. Cassava is a marginalized crop in food policy debates and burdened with the stigma of being an inferior food, ill suited and uncompetitive with the glamour crops such as imported rice and wheat because of several long-standing myths and half-truths. Many food policy analysts consider cassava as an inferior food because it is assumed that its per capita consumption will decline with increasing per capita incomes (Nweke et al., 2001).

Until the late 1980s, information was very scarce on cassava in Africa. However, in 1989, a Collaborative Study of Cassava in Africa (COSCA) was initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation and based at IITA. During an eight-year period (1989 to 1997), COSCA researchers collected information from 1 686 households in 281 villages in six countries: the Congo, Côte d'lvoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

The goal of the Global Cassava Development Strategy (GCDS) is to analyse cassava production and utilization trends; identify constraints and opportunities in the cassava sector with emphasis on poverty alleviation, equity, food security and environmental protection; and develop a set of priorities for future intervention in the cassava sector (Spencer and Associates, 1997). This review is based on information from the six COSCA study countries supplemented with secondary data from FAO and various information collected from African farmers, researchers, traders and processors throughout Africa from the beginning of the COSCA study in 1989 to 2001.

This review shows how the planting of new Tropical Manioc Selection (TMS) cassava varieties developed and released to farmers in Nigeria in the 1970s by IITA, has transformed cassava from a low-yielding famine-reserve crop to a high-yielding cash crop. The review also shows that with the aid of mechanical graters to prepare gari, cassava is increasingly being produced and processed as a cash crop for urban consumption in Ghana and Nigeria. The next stage in the cassava transformation is from a food crop to a raw material for livestock feed and industries in order to raise farm income.

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