Fresh Cassava

Cassava is the basis of a multitude of products, including food, flour, animal feed, alcohol, starches for sizing paper and textiles, sweeteners, prepared foods and bio-degradable products. The products are derived from a number of forms of cassava, ranging from fresh leaves and roots to modified cassava starch. The degree of processing and the technical requirements tend to increase from the fresh form to the modified starch form.

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Given that cassava represents a valuable subsistence and cash crop in many countries, its agricultural potential in South Africa needs to be fully exploited. Cassava was introduced into Africa by sixteenth-century Portuguese slave traders and has been cultivated in the rest of Africa for several hundred years. While cassava has had a long history in the rest of Africa, cassava is not a well-known crop in South Africa.

All of the above products represent potential market development opportunities for cassava. While some cassava is sold as fresh roots or leaves, even these products usually receive some special post-harvest handling or treatment before they are consumed. As cassava normally requires some form of processing before it can be consumed or sold, the processing is of central importance in the future of the crop. While the market potentials are great, it must be remembered that these opportunities are location and time-specific. Because of the specificity of market opportunities, it is impossible to compile a list of priority market opportunities. The following section, however, does attempt to highlight some of the benefits and challenges that might be encountered when attempting to develop different types of cassava markets.



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