With a per capita consumption of 152.9 kg/year, cassava is a significant starchy staple crop in Ghana. Cassava is a major food crop that may also be used as a raw material to make ethanol and industrial starch. Although there is great promise for cassava as a commercial crop for industry, there are concerns that it depletes the soil. In Ghana, cassava is grown as a single crop or in rotation with other food crops, either as a primary crop or a supplementary crop. Cassava is Ghana’s most significant root crop in terms of quantity produced, followed by yams and cocoyam.
Over 70 per cent of farmers in Ghana grow cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), which contributes to about 22 per cent of the agricultural GDP. With an average yearly production of 16 million metric tonnes, Ghana is one of the top five producers of cassava in Africa. There are several cassava varieties, including “Queen,” “Gari,” “Williams,” Nkabom, IFAD, Afisiafi, Abasafitaa, K357, K162, K680, CRI-Amansan bankye, Sika bankye, and K491 and “Ankrah,” which are produced in large quantities for a variety of uses.
Cassava tubers can be mashed, baked, or roasted before being consumed. Additionally, they can be boiled, pounded to “Fufu”, and then eaten with soups. The tubers can be crushed into flour or dried and used for the very popular “Kokonte”. Cassava is also edible in the form of grits, called “Gari,” a coarse flour.
Cassava can be used fresh or processed into starch and chips for the food or non-food industries, as well as for animal feed. Cassava flour is used to make adhesives, pasta, couscous-like goods, confectionery, bread, and biscuits, and tapioca, another cassava product. It is employed in the production of plywood and veneer adhesives, as well as in the paper and textile sectors. It is utilized in the pharmaceutical industry to make syrups containing glucose and dextrin. Alcohol can be made by fermenting cassava root extract. As a waste material, it can be converted into biogas.
In addition to vitamin C, thiamin, folic acid, manganese, and potassium, cassava is a significant source of dietary fibre and a good source of resistant starch, which helps maintain blood sugar levels and digestive health. Additionally, it contains vitamin C, an essential element that might improve collagen formation and immune function.
Although consuming more cassava has certain advantages, there are also drawbacks to take into account. Cassava contains a lot of calories and is risky to eat raw.
When prepared properly and consumed in moderation, cassava is generally regarded as safe and can be included in your diet.