Safe storage of cassava
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CTA. 2005. Safe storage of cassava. Rural Radio Resource Pack 05/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57321
Grinja Chitowe, an agricultural field assistant from Blantyre, Malawi, describes how cassava is dried and stored, and a method for removing toxin from the bitter varieties.
Safe storage of cassava Cue: Cassava is a very valuable food crop, especially in areas with low rainfall. However, some bitter varieties of cassava contain high levels of hydrogen cyanide, a natural poison which can be very damaging to human health. Fortunately, the poison can be removed by careful processing, for example by cutting the cassava into small pieces and soaking it in water. Afterwards, the cassava can either be cooked and eaten, or else dried and stored. Farmers need to ensure that when the crop is drying, it is protected from sources of dirt, such as chickens, dogs or other animals. Using a raised drying rack can be a good method. And as Patrick Mphaka recently found out, farmers also need to protect their stored cassava from insects and moulds. He sent us this report. IN: ?Cassava is one of the root ? OUT: ? or the moulds, for future use.? DUR?N 4?42? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Patrick Mphaka, speaking to Grinja Chitowe, an agricultural field assistant in Blantyre, Malawi. Transcript Mphaka Cassava is one of the root and tuber crops which is of vital importance to the food security of over one billion people in developing countries including Malawi. However, not every tuber which is harvested is utilized. Some is lost to moulds and weevils, among other post harvest deterioration causes. The protection, storage, and processing are some of the steps that ought to be looked at in order to improve the amounts of the harvested crop for the actual consumption. I learnt some of the ways which can be used to preserve the crop when I talked to Mr. Grinja Chitowe, an agricultural field assistant in Blantyre. Chitowe There are so many varieties which are grown in the rural areas. These are sweet and bitter varieties. When you want to process cassava, these sweet varieties, you make chips which we call Makaka in Chichewa. And for the bitter varieties, what is recommended is: when it has reached maturity stage, that is around 12 to 15 months, we uproot the cassava and then we submerge it in water for about a week to remove the bitterness. And, we make the chips and we heap them into a heap and then after about 24 hours we put the chips into the water, wash them, clean them, and dry them in the sun. After the chips are well dried, we apply the actellic super and store them in a cool dry place. The actellic is applied at the rate of 25g of actellic super to a 50 kg bag of cassava chips. Mphaka What is the purpose of cutting the cassava into small pieces which you are referring to as chips here? Chitowe As you know, it needs the chips not to take long to dry. So, the purpose of slicing them is to fasten the drying process for it not even to grow the moulds. Mphaka Would you like to explain a bit why most of the times we see that the cassava pieces which have been stored have got a lot of moulds, what happens? Chitowe A lot of cassava gets moulds because of the weather pattern. When it is cloudy and the farmers have already made the makaka, they are not dry. If it takes long without any sunny days, sunny periods, it grows moulds. So, after the farmers have experienced these moulds, they have to wash those moulds in clean water, and then re-dry the cassava chips. Mphaka Is there a difference in taste between the chips which are mouldy and one which is not? Chitowe The taste is different, because when it grows mouldy, it is rotting. It tastes bad. But if the makaka is processed very well, dried very well, the taste is good. It is palatable. So it is proper to process the makaka or the cassava in a proper way. Mphaka Surely you don?t use actellic to control the moulds, what do you use the actellic for? Chitowe When you make makaka it can be attacked by the pests like the weevils. So, when the weevils attack cassava chips, it means it is destroying. So to control these weevils, we have to apply actellic super. Mphaka Is there any traditional way, other than the use of actellic super? For example in the villages, what can people do? Chitowe Sometime back, they were just keeping them in a smoking kitchen, but it was not helpful to the farmers because even the weevils were attacking while those bags are kept in a smoked area. Mphaka What is your advice to farmers who grow, or are planning to grow cassava? Chitowe We encourage farmers to grow the cassava as a security crop, as you know it needs less moisture. But we need farmers to process it properly because of the bitterness or the moulds, for future use. End of track.