Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people. It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava.
Cassava is harvested by hand by raising the lower part of the stem and pulling the roots out of the ground, then removing them from the base of the plant. The upper parts of the stems with the leaves are plucked off before harvest. Cassava is propagated by cutting the stem into sections of approximately 15 cm, these being planted prior to the wet season.
Starch is one of the most abundant substances in nature, a renewable and almost unlimited resource. Starch is produced from grain or root crops. It is mainly used as food, but is also readily converted chemically, physically, and biologically into many useful products to date, starch is used to produce such diverse products as food, paper, textiles, adhesives, beverages, confectionery, pharmaceuticals, and building materials. Cassava starch has many remarkable characteristics, including high paste viscosity, high paste clarity, and high freeze-thaw stability, which are advantageous to many industries.
High Quality Cassava
Cassava root is essentially a carbohydrate source. Its composition shows 60–65 percent moisture, 20–31 percent carbohydrate, 1–2 percent crude protein and a comparatively low content of vitamins and minerals. However, the roots are rich in calcium and vitamin C and contain a nutritionally significant quantity of thiamine, riboflavin and nicotinic acid. Cassava starch contains 70 percent amyl pectin and 20 percent amylase Cooked cassava starch has a digestibility of over 75 percent. Cassava is a perennial woody shrub with an edible root, which grows in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Cassava originated from tropical America and was first introduced into Africa in the Congo basin by the Portuguese around 1558. Today, it is a dietary staple in much of tropical Africa. It is rich in carbohydrates, calcium, vitamins B and C, and essential minerals. However, nutrient composition differs according to variety and age of the harvested crop, and soil conditions, climate, and other environmental factors during cultivation.