Cassava, or tapioca (Manihot esculenta) has traditionally been grown in tropical countries of the world as a domestic food source. While this remains important for lower income countries, over the last decade cassava has grown as an important industrial crop as new uses are found for this versatile tuber. Current industrial uses include; animal feed, alcohol, starch used in food production, bioethanol, sweetener for food, glue, mixing pharmaceutical materials, textiles, MSG and mixing with bio-degradable polymers.
ASEAN member countries provide a significant portion of the world cassava supply, with Indonesia and Thailand being two of the larger producers. With increasing importance as an industrial crop, the focus remains on yield (i.e., basically tubers with the highest starch content). There is good opportunity for collaboration within ASEAN on cassava as the major producers have limited land resources due to competition with other crops, but they could contribute much to improving yields in the lower volume countries who are more likely to have available land. Considerable resources have been expended on cassava research and the opportunity now exists for ASEAN members to share their knowledge and experience. This web site is one step towards that goal, helping to link research institutes, private sector producers and commercial associations. In Thailand, efforts are underway to link this knowledge directly to cassava farmers through the Smart Farm concept. Following trial, an English version will be developed for potential application in other member countries.
Cassava is unique as an industrial crop as it is mainly produced by smallholders, often as a second crop. If this trend continues, sustainability is assured.
When the ASEAN Economic Community becomes a reality in 2015, it is expected that Chinese demand for dried cassava chips for ethanol production will reach 12m tonnes.
This web site provides news and biographical profiles of researchers on cassava and cassava-related topics in the ASEAN region, as well as full-text technical articles, proceedings and presentations. If you have an interest in cassava we urge you to sign and join our group. Signing in is easy using your email address and you may be assured that any personal details are not provided to any other parties. Signing in is necessary to access all areas of this site. Otherwise feel free to browse any areas that are open to all.