By : admin, 28 January 2015
Cassava, Manihot esculenta, also known as yucca, mandioca, manioca, tapioca and cassada is a shrubby perennial crop of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop for its edible roots in tropical and subtropical regions, mainly in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Edible roots derived from this crop have a very high starch content, consequently it is employed as a major staple food crop for billions of people, in particular for those who live in developing countries. That is why cassava is recognized as the “food of the poor”. Nevertheless, due to improved world average root yields and multipurpose-use crops, cassava has been proclaimed to be “the crop for the 21st century” by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Cassava roots are long and tapered, with a firm homogeneous, chalk-white or yellowish flesh covered with a rough, brown peel. The dimensions of the roots vary depending on the variety, growing conditions and age. Typically, the roots are 5 to 10 cm in diameter and 50 to 80 cm long. The roots are very rich in starch and have a low content of protein, lipids and minerals. This composition can vary, depending on genetics and growing conditions.