Expert says proper post-harvest management, processing will boost cassava marketability
Dr Sekinat Farinde of the Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, says proper post-harvest handling of cassava as well as processing will increase the marketability of cassava.
Farinde, a food scientist, who said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Tuesday, stressed that proper storage and processing of cassava tubers would reduce their post-harvest losses.
She underscored the need to adopt good post-harvest handling practices of cassava and technologies to preserve the produce.
“These good practices will increase palatability of the developed cassava products, while boosting the income and improving the livelihood of the populace.
“This is because cassava is one of the major staple food crops in Nigeria,” she said.
The food scientist emphasised that careful harvesting and selection of cassava tubers, prior to their storage was a good strategy for post harvest handling of cassava.
Farinde, therefore, stressed the need for the development of effective and simple machines, tools that could reduce cassava processing time, labour and production losses.
According to her, such machines can help reduce losses by 50 per cent and labour by 75 per cent.
“Cassava can be preserved via various ways such as freezing or drying; plant breeding has resulted in cassava species that are tolerant to Primary Physiological Deterioration (PPD).
“Traditional marketing and storage systems could be adapted to avoid root perishability.
“Cassava can be stored in boxes lined with sawdust and covered with another set of sawdust; wood shavings can also be used.
“However, the packing material must be moist but not wet, physiological deterioration occur if the material is too dry and microbial decay accelerates when it is too wet,” she said.
Farinde, however, stressed that fresh cassava roots could not be stored for a long time because they could start to deteriorate within 48 hours of harvest.
She said that cassava must, therefore, be processed into various forms in order to increase the shelf-life of the products, facilitate transportation and marketing, while reducing its cyanide content and improving its palatability.
She said that the processing methods included peeling, boiling, steaming, slicing, grating, soaking or steeping, fermenting, pounding, roasting, pressing, drying and milling.