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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA MINISTRY OF NON CONVENTIONAL ENERGY SOURCES Regional Office E1, B-Block, Rajaji Bhawan, Besant Nagar, Chennai Tele Fax : 044-4918742 / 4462158 E-mail :


This book is very quick response to examine the ever-growing importance of cassava as an industrial and commercial crop. The socioeconomic changes in the societies of various cassava cultivating countries are reexamining their traditional preferences to cassava as food in terms of cost and nutritive value. On average, the decline of cassava as a food crop is a recognized fact and similar trends are more pronounced in India. Inherent problems of cassava as a feed on its own without external nutrients addition has not yet over come and it is expected that the price structure and availability of minor cereals have a major say on this business too. Actual data on cassava utilization in various countries is lacking due to its nature of cultivation, harvesting and the like. It is seen that cassava introduced in countries adopted for industry & export are more successful than others. This phenomenon is clearly visible when cassava performance is evaluated with major player like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu when compared to Kerala. In India a number of factors like crop area, quality, productivity levels, transportation, process technology, efficiencies of plant & machinery, and post processing activities are contributing to the quality of the end products. This is further influenced by power tariff rates, pollution control measures and lack of assured support prices of the products. With this background, many industries fear that the scenario after 2005 seems grim and discouraging. However, a bold step is taken in this short preliminary examination of Cassava in India by proposing to the industry and policy makers to modernize their equipment and to derive maximum captive energy requirements from the crop itself to make the business attractive and remunerative. This helps in streamlining production levels and price structure of sago and starch. Small and marginal farmers can benefit and cassava appears as a kitchen garden crop in its various forms of application. Cassava as food and energy security has a greater relevance in the present context of energy scenario of the country and has a great future not only to the industry concerned by also to the dependent society and the country at large. Views expressed in this book are those of the author and does not purport of the Ministry. Dr P Radhakrishna Director 05-02-2002


World Scenario: -

Cassava (Mainhot esculanta sp or M. Utilissima sp & M.Aipi sp) is known popularly as Tapioca in world over and in India. This plant belongs to Euphorbiaceae family with known 160 varieties under cultivation. Various

governments in the world had attached adequate recognition to this crop. However, for the ever-changing scenario food demand & supply, and preference to a particular quality of food are demanding reorientation of the seriousness of R & D activities on crop production and related industrial activities.

With an annual output of cassava during early 1980's (126 million

Tons), the growth of cassava production is visibly impressive with 22%

registered by the turn of the '90s and further improvement of 14% growth over

the next decade with annual production pegged at 175 million metric tons

during crop year 2000. Sub-Saharan African countries account 50% of the

world's production whereas the productivity levels are stagnant over many

years. Cassava as a food is more prominent in sub-Saharan Africa, with an

estimated 60% of total world cassava production was consumed as food

during 1980's. However, these levels are coming down drastically due to

various issued linked to socio-economic aspects and some countries are


registering negative growth rate in cassava as food. The average annual

growth rate in cultivation, production levels always exhibit marked fluctuations.

A number of reasons are attributed to this, but it clearly indicates that cassava

crop required serious attention to examine its strengths as an energy option

also. Table I & II indicates the trends in the world and in Asian countries.


Sl.N Country o.

1979-80 1989-90 1999-2000 Area Producti Product Producti Producti Area Productio Productivit Area Million on ivity on vity Million Million n Million y Tons/ Hectare Million Tons/ Million Tons/ Hecta Hectares Tons Hectare s Tons Hectare Tons Hectare res 13.59 123.97 9.12 15.63 157.65 10.08 106.1 19 10.08















Africa Latin America & Caribbea n






8.2 11.09














TABLE II Cassava cultivation, production & productivity trends in important Asian countries.Unde S r l culti . C vatio N ou n o ntr 000 y ha+ 1 9 7 8 1 In . di a 1 9 8 8 1 9 9 8 Prod uctio ns 000 tons Productivity Tons/ha+

1 9 7 8

1 9 8 8 5 , 2 1 3 1 5 , 4 7 1 2 2 , 3 0 7 3 , 4 3

1 9 9 8

1 9 7 8

1 9 8 8


3 2 2 5 4 7 4 , 5 0 4 9 2 1 1 , 4 1 3 1 , 3 0 3 7 , 5 3 1 1 3 , 5 0 0 1 5 , 1 2 8

5 1 1 , 8 9 8 6 8 1 1 1 4 0 2 , 7 2 8 1 1 1 5 4 4 , 5 9 1 3 1 1 , 4 4 6 0


2 In . do ne sia


3 Th 1 . ail , an 0 d 5 3

1 , 5 4 7

6 , 5 2 7


4 C . hi na

2 2 2 3 3 3 3 , 1 7 0 3 9



0 5 0

INDIAN SCENARIO: This crop is introduced in India during 17th Century in Kerala and was

promoted by the erstwhile rulers of Kerala as a food crop to suit as a source

of carbohydrate. This crop became more popular in Southern States of this

country due to its tolerance to draught, grown on a variety of soils, low levels

of investments on comparison, similarly low levels of known pest and other

forms of damage. It is estimated that about 24 lakhs hectares are being

under this Cassava cultivation, with average production 5.1 million tons. Of

the total area under cultivation in India, 9% is contributed by Andhra Pradesh,

61% by Kerala and 29% by Tamil Nadu and the rest by States like Karnataka,

Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (UT), Pondicherry and others. On comparison, except Tamil Nadu (30-35 T/ ha+),

the rest of the Southern States and Union Territories record an average yields ranging from 10-13 T/ ha+, whereas other states as mentioned above range from 2T/ ha+ to 6T/ ha+.


The most attractive aspects of Cassava cultivation basically stems from

the fact that:


Per unit land on comparison, Cassava yields higher amounts of Carbohydrates, efficiency. with comparatively high photosynthetic

ii) iii) iv) v)

Cost of cultivation is comparatively cheaper. Less vulnerable to diseases. Suits for inter cropping with perennials. Short periods of harvesting and immediate processing. Just 40 years back a mere 4

Cassava in Andhra Pradesh (A.P.):

hectares of land under cultivation of this crop, rose to 20,500 hectares with average per ha+ production stood stagnant at 10-11 Tons. (Total production

2,07,183 tons of tuber as per 95-96 estimation) This crop is more popular in

Northern district of Andhra Pradesh with 95% of the area under cultivation

distributed in East Godavari District alone.

Out of 10 districts found to

cultivate this crop, except Visakhapatnam district, the remaining other districts

recorded 10-tons/ ha+ yields on average. In Andhra Pradesh, Cassava is

found also as an inter crop with mango, Coconut and vegetables.

It is

estimated that the cost of cultivation per acre stands between Rs.3500-5000


depending on additional features like irrigation, pest control and the quality

seed material. Cassava is grown in Andhra Pradesh. basically as a rain fed

crop. Sandy loam soils are generally used for cultivation. All the practices

required for transplanting the seed material will be kept ready by June and

transplantation takes place once rains set in. It is observed that inorganic

fertilizers are used in sufficient levels to support the crop. To suit the crushing

season ending by middle of March, the harvesting starts accordingly. As a

result the availability of tuber is limited to 2 months only.

Cassava as a primary food has no special recognition in Andhra

Pradesh. Most of the human consumption is in the form of snacks, cooked

fresh tubers and to some extent in pappads. It is estimated that the average

consumption of Cassava in season stands as low as 20gm/day mostly in

rural, among agrarian population. By and large, the cultivation of Cassava in

Andhra Pradesh is in the rich rice belt and this alone discourages it as a food

crop. Andhra Pradesh produces 25,000 tons of sago and out of this 20% is

consumed within the state and 80% being sent to West Bengal and

Maharastra. In addition to this about 35,000 tons of flour is produced from