We all know cassava tuber. But if we are asked what are the uses of cassava, the major things that will come to our mind is gari, cassava flour, akpu and tapioca.
Off course we are right. But have we ever considered why cassava is always in demand despite that millions of people are running into cassava?
Nigeria is one if the major producer of cassava. Our main production are concentrated on the above items which are for direct consumption.
But other major cassava production countries mainly converts their cassava into industrial products which we end up importing from the other countries.
The largest produce of cassava which has find its way into many uses in industry is STARCH.
Yes . Starch
Starch is known in the world as tapioca flour
It is used directly, made into a group of baked or manufactured into glucose, dextrins and other products.
Starchy foods have always been one of the staples of the human diet.
Starches are made in many countries from many different starchy raw materials, such as wheat, barley, maize, rice, white or sweet potatoes and cassava
Starch and starch products are used in many food and nonfood industries.
Industrial Uses of Starch
* Food Industries
Large quantities of starch are sold in small packages for household cooking eg cooked starch food, custard, thickener, filler, binder etc
* Bakery Products
Starch is the major constituent of flours. It is used in biscuit making, to increase volume and crispness.
Starches are used in the manufacture of many types of candies such as jellybeans. toffee. hard and soft gums, boiled sweets (hard candy). fondants and Turkish delight.
* Canned fruits, jams and prederves
Recent advances in these industries include the partial replacement of sucrose by dextrose or sulfur-dioxide-free glucose syrup.
* Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
This product is used extensively in many parts of the world in powder or crystal form as a flavouring agent in foods such as meats, vegetables, sauces and gravies.
* The production of commercial caramel
Caramel as a colouring agent for food, confectionery and liquor is extensively made of glucose rather than sucrose because of its lower cost.
* Glucose industry
The commercial manufacture of glucose sugars from starch began several years ago
* Starch hydrolysis
Two methods for starch hydrolysis are used today for the commercial production of glucose: acid hydrolysis and partial acid hydrolysis followed by an enzyme conversion.
With so much uses of cassava starch, you will definitely agree with me that cassava will always be in demand.
However, government policy of importing anything importable has not really favour farmers in the production of cassava.
Its a known facts in Nigeria that imports products are usually cheaper than the one produce at home because of the high cost of production.
Hence producers prefer to import the cheap finished products than buying from the expensive made in
Nigeria finished goods.