Cassava in Africa: The root of development in the 21st century. (89)
Keywords:Africa, Food crisis, Food security, Poverty alleviation, Income generation
AbstractIn the last 20 years, per capita food production in the sub-Saharan Africa has been declining, and this trend is likely to continue into the 21st century. However, production of root crops particularly, cassava, has been increasing faster than the population growth rate. In some countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, cassava production has doubled in 10 years. Cassava in Africa is used mainly for direct food consumption by householders. However, there is a new trend to use cassava as a raw material for the formal food industry (fast food, snacks, and bread) and for other industries (animal feed, starch, chemical, and pharmaceutical). A pilot project to disseminate the production of high quality cassava flour for the baking industry has revealed that farmers participating in such projects experience significant income increase and are motivated to try new technologies. There is need to identify technologies that meet the resource-poor farmer or processor conditions while producing the quality products required by the consumer at a price they are prepared to pay. Such technologies will enable cassava to play a major role in the development of the rural areas where cassava is grown. This study will present scenarios for the use of cassava as a commodity for the poverty alleviation and empowerment of the rural areas in cassava-growing countries in Africa.