Cassava

What is Cassava?

Cassava, also known as manioc or yuca, is a starchy root vegetable that is a staple food in many parts of the world. It is native to South America but is now widely cultivated in tropical regions across Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Cassava plants are typically small, with thick stems and large leaves, and can grow up to several meters in height. The cassava root, which is the part of the plant that is consumed, is cylindrical and has a tough, brown outer skin.

Cassava is an important source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber for millions of people worldwide. In many developing countries, it is a crucial crop for food security and is often used as a substitute for wheat, rice, and other grains. Cassava is also a key ingredient in many traditional dishes, such as cassava bread, cakes, and dumplings.

Cassava is a hardy crop that can grow in poor soils and tolerate drought and other harsh conditions. It is relatively easy to cultivate and requires little maintenance once established. However, cassava is susceptible to several pests and diseases, which can significantly reduce yields if left untreated. As such, many farmers and researchers are working to develop more resistant varieties of cassava that can better withstand these challenges.

Overall, cassava is an essential crop for many communities around the world, providing a vital source of sustenance and income for millions of people. While it may not be as well-known as other root vegetables, its unique qualities make it an important food source and a valuable resource for sustainable agriculture.

Cassava Production in the World

Nigeria is the top country producing cassava in the world. As of 2022, Nigeria produced 60,835,540 tonnes of cassava, accounting for 18.41% of the total production. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the world's second-largest cassava producer, with 48,774,623 tonnes, which represents 14.76% of the total production. In terms of cassava yield, Guyana is the most productive country on the planet with 414,543. Thailand, Ghana, and Cambodia are the top three leading countries with '34,068,005', '25,592,014', '17,698,784', and '17,648,564' tonnes respectively. Maldives has the lowest production of cassava in the world with only 6 tonnes in 2022. The world's total production of cassava was estimated at 330,408,752 tonnes in 2022.

Source: FAOSTAT

Top 10 Countries by Cassava Production in 2022

Top Countries by Production of Cassava in 2022

Rank Country production(Tonnes) acreage(Hectare) Yield
1
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Nigeria
60,835,54010,029,84460,655
2
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Democratic Republic of the Congo
48,774,6235,983,90881,510
3
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Thailand
34,068,0051,587,369214,619
4
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Ghana
25,592,0141,048,061244,184
5
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Cambodia
17,698,784758,607233,306
6
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Brazil
17,648,5641,181,482149,376
7
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Indonesia
13,574,000499,104271,967
8
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Vietnam
10,626,862528,891200,927
9
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Angola
10,547,5061,038,833101,532
10
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Mozambique
6,466,857910,82671,000
11
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The United Republic of Tanzania
6,354,439993,50063,960
12
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Côte d'Ivoire
6,300,0001,130,61255,722
13
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Cameroon
6,267,574465,097134,758
14
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Malawi
6,239,912245,498254,174
15
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India
6,213,000172,000361,221
16
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Lao People's Democratic Republic
5,286,000194,900271,216
17
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China
5,040,474304,172165,711
18
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Benin
4,350,054388,908111,853
19
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Zambia
3,497,601298,940117,000
20
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Guinea
2,978,621325,53291,500
21
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Paraguay
2,617,980184,000142,282
22
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Philippines
2,560,043216,289118,362
23
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Burundi
2,555,954303,97984,083
24
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Madagascar
2,407,263308,75177,968
25
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Uganda
2,184,706810,08426,969
26
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Sierra Leone
1,941,190129,346150,078
27
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South Sudan
1,599,61199,347161,013
28
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Congo
1,551,074157,93498,210
29
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Peru
1,389,831111,503124,645
30
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Rwanda
1,375,14093,913146,428
31
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Senegal
1,322,80396,746136,729
32
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Togo
1,224,641305,16040,131
33
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Central African Republic
1,094,000157,16669,608
34
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Colombia
1,019,02196,206105,921
35
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Kenya
775,00065,769117,837
36
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Cuba
717,810116,75761,479
37
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Haiti
647,317144,18744,894
38
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Liberia
637,81977,01382,819
39
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Niger
434,79716,114269,820
40
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Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
378,87330,696123,428
41
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Gabon
314,58059,73452,664
42
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Sri Lanka
307,99621,091146,032
43
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Chad
290,31634,78183,470
44
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Nicaragua
275,31018,896145,694
45
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Myanmar
275,15022,850120,414
46
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Zimbabwe
271,72755,60448,868
47
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Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
216,59029,42873,599
48
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Argentina
201,00220,057100,216
49
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Dominican Republic
176,40636,35748,520
50
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Papua New Guinea
158,63216,25097,622
51
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Ecuador
146,30017,69782,670
52
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Mali
123,0017,845156,789
53
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Costa Rica
108,3399,230117,372
54
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Somalia
97,91310,26695,377
55
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Fiji
93,8375,690164,916
56
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Guyana
87,2142,104414,543
57
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Equatorial Guinea
74,41024,65430,182
58
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Comoros
58,0479,76459,449
59
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Guinea-Bissau
53,9624,940109,233
60
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Malaysia
42,5282,381178,633
61
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El Salvador
38,6072,313166,879
62
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Panama
27,5851,656166,533
63
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Mexico
26,8922,074129,677
64
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Honduras
26,2683,00487,453
65
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Jamaica
21,6071,037208,361
66
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Timor-Leste
17,1074,88035,053
67
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Burkina Faso
17,0811,091156,604
68
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Gambia
12,0092,84342,247
69
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Micronesia (Federated States of)
9,037846106,839
70
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Taiwan
8,558397215,510
71
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Tonga
7,148467153,102
72
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Suriname
5,241189277,249
73
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French Polynesia
3,740203184,035
74
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Solomon Islands
3,223197163,896
75
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Guatemala
3,1583,1759,947
76
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Cabo Verde
2,44426891,194
77
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Saint Lucia
1,30860421,642
78
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Mauritius
1,27688145,000
79
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Sao Tome and Principe
1,27022556,500
80
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Belize
90365138,923
81
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Trinidad and Tobago
85514459,441
82
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Bahamas
82032253,759
83
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New Caledonia
79523833,357
84
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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
60417350,284
85
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Barbados
56028198,122
86
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Bhutan
49111243,681
87
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Samoa
46638124,022
88
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Brunei Darussalam
37421177,270
89
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Puerto Rico
2517234,704
90
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Seychelles
23819122,758
91
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Antigua and Barbuda
1442752,939
92
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Dominica
79898,886
93
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Niue
44766,783
94
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Maldives
6415,000

cultivation of Cassava

Cassava is a hardy crop that is relatively easy to cultivate, making it an important source of food and income for many farmers worldwide.

Here are some key points to consider when cultivating cassava:

  1. Site selection: Cassava grows best in tropical or subtropical regions with a long growing season and temperatures between 25°C and 30°C. It requires well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 and adequate moisture throughout the growing season.
  2. Planting: Cassava is usually propagated using stem cuttings, which are taken from mature plants and planted directly in the field. Cuttings should be about 20 to 30 cm long and planted at a depth of 10 to 15 cm, with a spacing of 1 to 1.5 m between rows and 0.5 to 0.8 m between plants.
  3. Fertilization: Cassava is a heavy feeder and requires regular applications of organic or inorganic fertilizers to maintain good yields. The recommended fertilizer rates vary depending on soil fertility, but a general guideline is to apply 60 to 120 kg/ha of nitrogen, 30 to 60 kg/ha of phosphorus, and 30 to 60 kg/ha of potassium.
  4. Weed control: During its initial growth stages, cassava is particularly vulnerable to weed competition. To prevent weeds from impeding its growth, it is crucial to keep the field weed-free through means such as manual or mechanical weeding methods or the use of herbicides.
  5. Pest and disease management: Cassava is vulnerable to several pests and diseases, including mealybugs, cassava green mites, and cassava mosaic disease. To minimize the impact of these pests and diseases, it is essential to use disease-resistant varieties and adopt appropriate cultural practices such as crop rotation, sanitation, and proper plant spacing.
  6. Harvesting: Cassava is usually harvested between 8 to 18 months after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. The crop is ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow and begin to dry out. The roots can be lifted from the soil manually or using mechanical equipment and stored for several months before consumption or processing.

In summary, cassava cultivation requires careful attention to site selection, planting, fertilization, weed control, pest and disease management, and harvesting. By following these best practices, farmers can achieve good yields and ensure the success of this important crop.

Health Benefits of Cassava

Cassava is a starchy root vegetable that is a dietary staple in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa, South America, and Asia. It is rich in nutrients and has several health benefits.

Here are some of the health benefits of cassava:

  1. Good Source of Carbohydrates: Cassava is an excellent source of carbohydrates, providing sustained energy to the body. It is also a low glycemic index food, meaning that it doesn't cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.
  2. High in Fiber: Cassava is high in fiber, which helps to promote digestive health by preventing constipation, reducing the risk of colon cancer, and improving overall gut health.
  3. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Cassava is a good source of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, all of which are essential for maintaining good health. It is also a good source of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
  4. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Cassava contains flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammation in the body, thereby reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis and heart disease.
  5. Boosts Immunity: Cassava is rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, which helps to boost the immune system and prevent diseases.
  6. Gluten-free: Cassava is a gluten-free food, making it an excellent choice for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
  7. Supports Weight Loss: Cassava is a low-calorie food, making it an excellent choice for people who want to lose weight. It is also high in fiber, which helps to promote feelings of fullness and reduce appetite.
  8. May Help Manage Diabetes: Cassava has a low glycemic index and is rich in fiber, making it a good choice for people with diabetes. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Overall, cassava is a nutritious and healthy food that can provide many health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet. However, it should be noted that cassava contains naturally occurring cyanide compounds, which can be toxic in large quantities. Therefore, it is essential to process cassava properly before consuming it to remove these compounds.

Nutritional Information of Cassava.

Cassava is a starchy root vegetable that is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and some vitamins and minerals.

Here are some of the key nutrients found in cassava per 100 grams:

  • Calories: 160
  • Carbohydrates: 38 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Protein: 1.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 27 mg (30% of the daily value)
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1): 0.087 mg (7% of the daily value)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 0.048 mg (4% of the daily value)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 0.854 mg (5% of the daily value)
  • Folate (Vitamin B9): 27 μg (7% of the daily value)
  • Calcium: 16 mg (2% of the daily value)
  • Iron: 0.27 mg (3% of the daily value)
  • Magnesium: 21 mg (5% of the daily value)
  • Potassium: 271 mg (6% of the daily value)

It is important to note that cassava is low in protein, fat, and several other essential vitamins and minerals, so it should not be relied on as the sole source of nutrition. However, it can be a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet, especially for those who need to consume more carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Additionally, cassava is often processed into flour, starch, or other products that may have different nutritional profiles.

Structure of Cassava

Cassava is a root vegetable that has a unique structure with several distinct parts. Here are some of the key points about the structure of cassava:

  1. Roots: The roots are the main edible part of the cassava plant and are typically long and cylindrical. They have a brown or dark brown outer skin that is tough and fibrous and white or yellowish flesh that is starchy and slightly sweet. Cassava roots can range in size from a few centimeters to over a meter in length and can weigh several kilograms.
  2. Stem: The stem of the cassava plant is typically short and thick and has a woody texture. It is used to anchor the plant in the ground and transport nutrients and water from the roots to the leaves.
  3. Leaves: Cassava plant leaves are typically large and palmate, with multiple lobes radiating from a central point. They can grow to several meters in length and are generally green in color. These leaves serve as a vital source of food for livestock and can also be consumed by humans, although they tend to be bitter and require cooking to eliminate toxins.
  4. Buds: Small buds that are commonly located at the stem's base are present in the cassava plant. These buds can be utilized to propagate new plants by cutting them from the stem and planting them in the soil.
  5. Flowers: Cassava plants can produce small, white, or yellowish flowers, but these are relatively rare and usually do not develop in cultivated varieties.

In general, cassava possesses a unique structure with multiple distinct components that play a vital role in the plant's growth and productivity. While the roots are primarily consumed by humans and are the most significant part, other portions of the plant, such as the leaves, can also serve various purposes.

Types of Cassava

There are several types of cassava, each with its unique characteristics, flavor, and uses. Here are some of the common types of cassava:

  1. Sweet Cassava: Sweet cassava is a type of cassava that is sweeter than other varieties. It is commonly used to make desserts, such as cassava cake and pudding.
  2. Bitter Cassava: Bitter cassava is a type of cassava that has a high level of cyanogenic compounds, which can be toxic if not processed correctly. It is commonly used to make traditional dishes in Africa, such as fufu and eba.
  3. White Cassava: White cassava is a type of cassava that has white flesh and is rich in nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium. It is commonly used to make cassava flour, which is used in many recipes as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.
  4. Yellow Cassava: Yellow cassava is a type of cassava that has yellow flesh and is rich in beta-carotene, a nutrient that is converted to vitamin A in the body. It is commonly used in Africa to make cassava fufu and other traditional dishes.
  5. Red Cassava: Red cassava is a type of cassava that has red or purple flesh and is rich in antioxidants. It is commonly used in South America to make bread and other baked goods.
  6. Wild Cassava: Wild cassava is a type of cassava that grows wild in the Amazon rainforest. It is smaller than other varieties and has a higher level of cyanogenic compounds. It is commonly used by indigenous communities in the Amazon to make traditional dishes.

These are just a few of the many types of cassava that exist. Each type has its unique flavor, nutritional profile, and culinary uses, making cassava a versatile and essential food in many parts of the world.

Uses of Cassava

Cassava is a versatile root vegetable that is used in a variety of ways around the world. Here are some of the most common uses of cassava:

  1. Food: Cassava is a staple food in many parts of Africa, Asia, and South America. It can be boiled, baked, fried, or mashed and used in a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, and porridges. Cassava is also processed into flour, which is used to make bread, pancakes, and other baked goods.
  2. Animal feed: Cassava leaves and stems are a good source of nutrition for livestock, particularly pigs and poultry. They are often used as a feed supplement or as a substitute for other types of feed.
  3. Industrial uses: Cassava starch and flour are used in a variety of industrial applications, including paper and textile production, as well as the manufacturing of adhesives, coatings, and other products.
  4. Fuel: Cassava can be used as a biofuel to produce ethanol, which is a renewable source of energy.
  5. Medicine: Cassava has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including fever, diarrhea, and skin disorders. It contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
  6. Household products: Cassava starch is often used to make biodegradable bags, plates, and other environmentally friendly household products.

Overall, cassava is a versatile crop that has a wide range of uses. Its importance as a food source, particularly in areas where other crops are difficult to grow, cannot be overstated. Additionally, its industrial, medicinal, and other uses make it a valuable commodity in many parts of the world.