A longer shelf-life for fresh cassava
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CTA. 1992. A longer shelf-life for fresh cassava. Spore 42. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45880
Fresh cassava roots deteriorate fast after harvesting.
Fresh cassava roots deteriorate fast after harvesting. This puts them at a disadvantage when compared to other fresh foods that are not so perishable. This short shelf-life, lust two to three days, is the main reason why consumers have been turning away from fresh cassava. But this trend is being reversed in Colombia where farmers have found a simple method of extending its shelf-life. Several years ago scientists at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in Colombia, found that cassava roots did not deteriorate so quickly if they were kept in air tight bags. But this was counteracted by the rapid growth of fungi and bacteria which proliferated in the higher temperatures inside the bag. It was the roots with the fungicide thiabendazole, before they were put into bags, cassava roots can be kept fresh for two weeks or more. If this technique is to be effective, the cassava roots must be treated within a few hours of harvesting. Because this is too short a time in which to transport the cassava to a central processing site, the farmers themselves, or their cooperatives, have to undertake the treatment process. They are therefore better placed to deal directly with retailers. Cutting out the wholesaler means better prices to the farmers despite the fact that the treated cassava is selling at a lower price than untreated fresh cassava. In fact many shops had refused to stock fresh cassava because it deteriorated so quickly. The new technique has changed the attitude of the shopkeepers. CIAT Apdo. aereo 6713 Call COLOMBIA