Cover image for The cassava transformation : Africa's best-kept secret
The cassava transformation : Africa's best-kept secret
Nweke, Felix I.
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Publication Information:
East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, [2002]

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xix, 273 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm
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SB211.C3 N84 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Cassava is Africa's "poverty fighter" and second most important food crop. This book discusses Cassava's real role and traces research over the past 65 years. The "Cassava transformation" that is now underway in Africa has changed this traditional, reserve crop to a high-yield cash crop. However, Cassava is being neglected by governments and donor agencies because of myths and half-truths about its nutritional value and role in farm systems.

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Nweke (Michigan State Univ.) and colleagues offer one of the few books on cassava as an important food product in Africa. Cassava is the second most important food in African diets, very adaptable to marginal soils and erratic rainfall, high yielding per unit of land, and an ideal crop for many farming systems in Africa. New varieties have increased yields tremendously. Cassava is often consumed as a dry cereal (gari); in the Congo and Tanzania, cassava leaves are also eaten as a vegetable. It can withstand drought conditions and diseases and yields more calories per acre than any other crop. However, critics note that cassava contains large quantities of poisonous cyanogens (prussic acid). Chapters treat cassava and Africa's food crisis, myths and half truths, cassava's multiple roles, production overflow, genetic research, agronomic practices, new TMS varieties, preparation of cassava products, mechanized processing, gender surprises, consumption, new uses of cassava, and cassava transformation; an appendix contains cassava studies, contributors, reports, cassava demand and function, and specifications. Notes; references; author information. Recommended for all libraries interested in cassava and the African food supply as well as those interested in preventing starvation. All levels. H. W. Ockerman Ohio State University

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. xi
List of Tablesp. xiii
Prefacep. xvi
1. Cassava and Africa's Food Crisis
Why Cassava?p. 3
Cassava: Introduction and Diffusion in Africap. 5
The Cassava Transformationp. 10
The Collaborative Study of Cassava in Africa (COSCA)p. 13
Plan of This Bookp. 15
2. Myths and Half-Truths
Cassava as a Subsistence Cropp. 20
Cassava as a Soil Nutrient-Depleting Cropp. 21
Cassava as a Women's Cropp. 23
Cassava as a Lethal Foodp. 27
Cassava as a Nutritionally Deficient Foodp. 29
3. Cassava's Multiple Roles
Famine-Reserve Cropp. 36
Rural Food Staplep. 39
Cash Crop and Urban Food Staplep. 40
Industrial Raw Materialp. 42
Livestock Feedp. 43
4. Production Overview
Varieties Grownp. 47
Pests and Diseasep. 51
Area Cultivatedp. 57
Yieldp. 60
Productionp. 63
5. Genetic Research and the TMS Revolution
Farmer-Led Researchp. 68
Government Researchp. 70
Insights and Research Challengesp. 79
6. Agronomic Practices
Three Types of Fallow Systemsp. 86
Cassava Plantingp. 88
Cassava Productionp. 92
Cassava Harvestingp. 95
7. Diffusion of TMS Varieties
TMS Diffusion in Nigeriap. 101
The Delayed Diffusion of the TMS Varieties in Ghanap. 110
TMS Diffusion in Ugandap. 112
8. The Preparation of Five Cassava Products
Fresh Cassava Rootsp. 116
Dried Cassava Rootsp. 116
Pasty Cassava Productsp. 120
Granulated Cassava Productsp. 123
Cassava Leavesp. 124
Lessons and Challengesp. 126
9. Mechanized Processing
Types of Cassava Processing Machinesp. 129
The Rise and Fall of Private Large-Scale Processingp. 134
Nigeria: Cassava Processing Research and Developmentp. 135
Lessons and Challengesp. 137
10. Gender Surprises
Cassava Productionp. 143
Access to Improved Technologies by Men and Womenp. 148
Cassava Processing and Marketingp. 149
Gender Surprises: Policy Implicationsp. 150
11. Consumption
Cassava Consumption Patternp. 154
Pre- and Post-Harvest Lossesp. 157
Food Expenditure Patternsp. 158
Income Elasticity of Demandp. 161
12. New Uses for Cassava: A Nigerian Case Study
Expanding the Use of Cassava in the Livestock Industryp. 168
Expanding the Use of Cassava in Food Manufacturingp. 170
Expanding the Use of Cassava Starch as an Industrial Raw Materialp. 173
Beer Malt: A New Use for Dried Cassava Rootsp. 177
Developing a Cassava-Based Ethanol Industryp. 178
13. The Cassava Transformation: Synthesis
Cassava and Africa's Food Crisisp. 185
Genetic Research and the High-Yeielding TMS Varietiesp. 189
The Diffusion of the TMS Varietiesp. 190
Post-Harvest Issues: Food Preparation and Mechanized Processingp. 192
Gender Surprisesp. 194
New Uses for Cassavap. 195
Policy Implicationsp. 198
Appendix 1 Methods of the COSCA Study
The Study Teamp. 204
Sampling Proceduresp. 204
Survey Instrumentsp. 208
Logistics and Supervisionp. 211
Data Processingp. 212
Appendix 2 List of COSCA Collaboratorsp. 215
Appendix 3 List of COSCA Reports
Working Papersp. 219
Ph.D. Dissertationsp. 221
Appendix 4 Demand Function Specifications
Variable Description and Constructionp. 225
Notesp. 227
Referencesp. 239
About the Authorsp. 259
Indexp. 261