Cassava Plantation

A Cassava Plantation

In my village, cassava was traditionally considered the okoa jahazi during hard times of hunger. Okoa jahazi is a Swahili word for that which can be gotten when all the others have failed. During times of food scarcity cassava was always there and as a result most of us in the village ate cassava for breakfast, cassava for lunch and cassava for super. We ate cassava all the time till we started joking about our stomachs becoming white (the color of cassava) as a result of eating too much cassava – and we even swore never to eat cassava when we grow. But was the only crop that could survive very harsh conditions such as drought and so it was the only food we could access.
Far from this unattractive side of cassava, cassava remains an important crop due to its ability to tolerate prolonged draught when others fail. Therefore, there is need to make it attractive, diversify it and make it delicious to people like me who have given up of cassava. This article is about that value adding and diversification of cassava.
After harvesting, the cassava can be dried and mixed with maize to grind flour for making Ugali. This ugali is said to be stronger than the Nigerian foufou and one can go for days without feeling hungry. The drying is beneficial in that it serves as a way of preserving cassava. Another way of diversifying this crop is to have it roasted, fried, boiled and eaten with stew at least to diversify the taste.

Cassava Plantation

A Delicious plate of Cassava

With these varied uses for the cassava, there come trade opportunities for youths. The varied uses of cassava increase its consumption and thus more buyers of the same. Cassava is mostly known as poor man’s food but in my opinion, it has a huge potential of being everyone’s food given the many products it can be converted to. Before I forget, cassava flour can be used to bake cakes, bread and even make chapatis. And on industrial scale, the cassava flour can be used in plywood production as a glue-extender and as a base for paperboard adhesive. This is a opportunity that can be embraced by the youth as they venture into agriculture.

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