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Saturday, April 16, 2016

What is Cassava?

Cassava is very versatile root vegetable and is used the main ingredient in bread, fries, roasted veggie stews and soups, chin-chin, fritters, sweet cakes and fufu.


What is Cassava?

Portuguese traders introduced cassava into Africa from Brazil in the 16th century. Currently, about half of the world production of cassava is in Africa. The plant is known under many names: ubi kettella, kaspe, manioca, rumu, yucca, mandioca, aipim, manioc, tapioca and cassada.

Cassava was introduced into Africa by Portuguese traders

Cassava was introduced into Africa
by Portuguese traders

Cassava is cultivated in around 40 African countries, stretching through a wide belt from Madagascar in the Southeast to Senegal and to Cape Verde in the Northwest. Around 70 percent of Africa's cassava output is harvested in Nigeria, the Congo and Tanzania.

Traditionally, cassava is produced on small-scale family farms. The roots are processed and prepared as a subsistence crop for home consumption and for sale in village markets and shipment to urban centers.

Grown throughout the tropical world, cassava is second only to the sweet potato as the most important starchy root crop of the tropics. Throughout the forest and transition zones of Africa, cassava is either a primary staple or a secondary food staple.

Cassava produces bulky storage roots with a heavy concentration of carbohydrates, about 80 percent and is rich in carbohydrates, calcium, vitamins B and C, and essential minerals. Cassava roots are rich in protein and can be toxic if grown in poor soils and in dry conditions. 


Praises for Cassava

Flora Nwapa was a groundbreaking Nigerian author and poet who passed away in 1993. She is best known for her novel Efuru and as Africa's first published female novelist. During the Nigerian civil war also known as the Biafran War from 1967-1970 Flora Nwapa poet wrote in praise of cassava because of its importance feeding a starving nation during civil war.


We thank the almighty God
For giving us cassava
We hail thee cassava
The great cassava

You grow in poor soils
You grow in rich soils
You grow in gardens
You grow in farms

You are easy to grow
Children can plant you
Women can plant you
Everybody can plant you

We must sing for you
Great cassava, we must sing
We must not forget
Thee, the great one

-Flora Nwapa Praises For Cassava

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