Trends and prospects for cassava in the developing world.

Cassava is a relatively neglected tropical root crop. Important in the economy of poor households, cassava is one of the major sources of subsistence and cash income to farmers in agroclimatically disadvantaged regions. It is a major staple food in several countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Besides its direct use as food, cassava is also used as feed for livestock and poultry and as raw material for manufactured starch, tapioca, and snack foods. Exports of cassava pellets and dried roots earn considerable foreign exchange, particularly for Thailand. Cassava can adapt to diverse climatic conditions, survive long dry spells, and be harvested on a flexible schedule; it should therefore be treated as a food security crop. Apart from the farmer’s own labor, cassava requires few purchased inputs and is thus inexpensive to produce. Its genetic potential is large and untapped, and the adoption of improved technology could make cheaper calories available per hectare.

Sarma, J. S.
Kunchai, Darunee.
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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