Thursday, 22 October 2015

6 Cassava Value Chains That Can Make You Rich

Cassava is one of the root crops grown in abundance in Africa. Before now, it was not cultivated as a commercial crop or traded internationally; it was relegated to the background as an orphaned crop, despite the role it could play in food security.
However, with the efforts of several Agricultural development projects, focusing on cassava value chain growth, the root crop has found multiple applications in diversified industries. Today, cassava is not only traded commercially, it remotely plays a vital role in the economy of Africa.
Below is a list of profitable cassava commodity value chains, which could generate substantial income for entrepreneurs, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and large companies.
High quality cassava flour (HQCF) which is a product of cassava is used in the production of confectionaries such as bread, chin-chin and other pastries. More interesting, the realisation by many, that HQCF is gluten free has made the flour more popular to consumers looking for gluten free products. HQCF is also used as a composite flour by several food companies for the production of noodles and pasta.  
Starch made from cassava is preferred in many industries because of its viscosity which is stronger than that of other forms of starch. Cassava starch has anti-freezing properties which gives it superiority over other forms of starch; more so, processed starch from cassava is currently a viable export product.
In the pharmaceutical industries, starch is used as an excipient contributing to solidifying of drugs and tablets. When processed adequately, cassava starch can be used to produce glue and adhesives. The industrial use of cassava also extends to the paperboard and paper industries where it is used as a binder. In the production of paperboard, the layers of boards are glued together with a suspension of starch which binds the layers together. Besides its use in the paper industries, it is an important raw in textile industries.  
Coming down to the energy sector, increase in the price of crude oil and global warming emissions have stirred a clamour for renewable energy around the world. Ethanol made from cassava is currently the most popular biofuel in the world. Ethanol is used in Nigeria, Brazil and America as an additive to petrol on a blend of 10 to 20 percent.  In fact, a majority of cars running in America run on gasoline blends containing up to 10 percent ethanol. Many African countries are beginning to cash out on ethanol production.
Typically, beer is produced using malted cereal grains such as barley and wheat; however these grains are mainly grown in temperate regions. Since African region lacks the favourable agronomic characteristics for cultivation of barley and wheat, local alcohol companies had to use cassava as a substitute for barley and wheat in production of beer. Today, multinational alcohol companies are cashing out on the root crop; interestingly, cassava-based beer is preferred by consumers.
With the global demand for sugar rising on daily basis and its price hitting the roof, there is a growing need to find an alternative to sugar. Consumers are now looking the way of artificial sweeteners such as glucose and high syrup fructose made from cassava.  High sweetness attribute of cassava based starch gives it an edge over other types of starch used for sweeteners.
Animal feed
Well processed cassava chips and grits is commonly used as an energy source in animal diet. Cassava is considered a high energy crop because of its high starch content. The root crop is high yielding, less expensive and widely available for use in the animal feed industries.

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