Cassava – crop of the future?

  • Cassava in market

    Copyright luigig

    Cassava is being hailed as the crop of the future for African farmers trying to deal with the impacts of a changing climate. A recent study from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture reported that cassava appears to thrive in climate stressed conditions, where other crops suffer, outperforming six other crops in 24 climate- prediction models.

  • The crop is now the second most important source of carbohydrate on the continent, consumed by around 500 million people every day.
  • Cassava is often grown as a subsistence crop, however thanks to the high national and international demand; cassava can also be sold for a good price at market.
  • FARM-Africa is helping around 2,000 farmers to grow a bigger, higher quality cassava crop, as well as connecting them to SABMiller (an African-originated, global, fast moving consumer goods company) who will provide a suitable and reliable market for their cassava crop and help them to set up bulk storage facilities and processing centres to add value to their raw cassava.
  • Starch extracted from the cassava will be used in the beer brewing process and any  surplus cassava can be processed into flour and dried cassava chips and sold to local food industries and livestock enterprises.

Both reports highlight the importance of the crop in contributing to climate adaptation and for food security in Africa, which may mean reduced reliance on other less tolerant crops and the possibilities for making the crop profitable as well as for subsistence.

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About Julia Chatterton

Systems modeller with a particular expertise in food, farming and agricultural systems. Working with life cycle assessment methods for over 4 years to assess and analyse the environmental burdens associated with food and other production systems.
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