Cassava is a woody shrub (Manihot esculenta) that is grown in the tropical regions. It is also called Yuca and is associated with Tapioca in South America. The starchy tuberous root of this tropical tree is used as foods of different kinds in Nigeria. It thrives well on mid dry to clay and loamy soil. Being a perennial crop, it has also become a major staple food in other tropical regions and as well as a good export earner for farmers in Nigeria, Indonesia, Philippines, and Brazil.
To get the best of your production as a cassava farmer, you should plant the resistant veriety so as to get the maximum harvest and prevent damages from pests. Cassava is the source of the following food staples in Nigeria:
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1. The Cassava tuber as food - A cassava tuber veriety could be cooked and enjoyed with verieties of stews also, it could be pounded and enjoyed like the usual pounded yam. But not all variety of cassava can be eaten that way as many are known to be highly toxic when eaten in such form.
2. Garri - This form of cassava food is processed by grinding and squizzing out the starchy content. The residue is left for three day to ferment (Ijebu Garri) thereafter, it is fried with into sand-like grains and the quality is determined by the dryness. That is, the drier the better. Other types like the popular Bendel Garri is fried immediately after grinding and squizzing out the water without leaving it to ferment.
3. Fufu - Fufu is obtained by soaking the tuber into water for between four to five day to get it softened, then manually remove the chaff. The preparation follows similar process to garri but instead of frying, it is cooked and pounded into a pulp of verious hardness and eaten with Nigerian soups such as the popular Igbo's Egusi soup.
4. Amala - Cassava is processed into amala first by cutting it into pieces, soak it for two or three days, drying and grinding it into flour, the flour is then prepared similar to fufu and enjoyed with the popular Yoruba's Ewedu soup.
5. Starch - The startch is usually a by-product in the garri process. Apart from being useful in other domestic application the cassava starch is a favourite food among the Urhobo people of Delta State. And they eat it just like Amala and Garri.
6. Abacha - This is obtained by boiling the cassava tuber, peel off the back and cut the remaining into tiny pieces. Thereafter, it is soaked in a clean water over the night to get the starch out, the slippy deposit is washed off the actual food which then cooked as a local salad.
7. Vegetable - The cassava leafs is used to prepare vegetable soup by some in Nigeria. However, it must be cooked properly to detoxify before eating.
8. Cassava Bread - Recently, the baked version of the cassava foods was introduced into the Nigerian cassava food staples and people are having fun with it. So baking is another way that cassava in now eaten in Nigeria.
These are the reasons why Cassava crops production is a money spinner in Nigeria which smart investors can take advantage of and make million.
Do you know any cassava food in your locality that is not mentioned here? Let us know by making comments below.