Raufu Olusola SanusiFederal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria
Title: Relevance of cassava in nutraceuticals and food science
Cassava, a tropical root crop, provides staple food for millions of people around the world. It is one of the tuber crops that could be cultivated on a small-scale in an environment with erratic rainfall, and without necessarily needing heavy equipment and machineries. Cassava could be successfully cultivated by resource-poor farm family. Farmers’ productivity could be as much as 70 tonnes per hectares under favourable conditions. However, smallholder farmers do among other things improve productivity through proven cultural practices and a mix of organic and inorganic measures. Irrigation is very necessary for achieving bumper harvest in areas with shortage of rainfall and insufficient soil moisture content. Global economic meltdown has inspired nations and organisations to seek for cheap substitute for Wheat and Corn as sources of flour and starch respectively. Cassava flour, a veritable source of carbohydrate is very useful in food industry. Also, different parts of cassava plant, its starch and other by-products are very useful in nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals industries. Practices that combine traditional knowledge with modern technologies that are adapted to the needs of small-scale farmers are on the increase around the world. Depending on the purpose, cassava could be harvested anytime from eight month. The longer it stays in the soil before harvesting, the higher the starch concentration. Cassava leaves could serve as vegetable and the stems use as fire wood and substrate for growing mushroom.
Keywords: cassava, farmers, food, nutraceuticals, smallholder
Raufu Olusola Sanusi working in Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Abeokuta, Nigeria