Seine Bight, Hopkins, George Town, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Barranco, Cassava of the Carib GARINAGU and Ben Palacio,
Legacy of Balbino Palacio of Seine Bight, BELIZE
GARIFUNA Ereba Cassava of the Carib GARINAGU and Ben Palacio of Seine Bight
Seine Bight Cassava
- Common Names
- Scientific Names
- Crops Status
- GRAS Status
- Traditional Medicinal Uses
- Crop Culture (Agronomy/Horticulture)
- Production Practices
- Commercial Seed Sources
- Key References
- Selected Experts
Species: Manihot esculenta Crantz
Syn: M. ultissima Phol
Syn: M. aipi Phol
Cassava is grown for its enlarged starch-filled roots, which contains nearly
the maximum theoretical concentration of starch on a dry weight basis among
food crops. Fresh roots contain about 30% starch and very little protein.
Roots are prepared much like potato. They can be peeled and boiled, baked, or
fried. It is not recommended to eat cassava uncooked, because of potentially
toxic concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides that are reduced to innocuous
levels through cooking. In traditional settings of the Americas, roots are
grated and the sap is extracted through squeezing or pressing. The cassava is
then further dried over a fire to make a meal or fermented and cooked. The
meal can then be rehydrated with water or added to soups or stews. In Africa,
roots are processed in several different ways. They may be first fermented in
water. Then they are either sun-dried for storage or grated and made into a
dough that is cooked. Alcoholic beverages can be made from the roots.
Young tender leaves can be used as a potherb, containing high levels of protein
(8-10% F.W.). Prepared in a similar manner as spinach, care should be taken to
eliminate toxic compounds during the cooking process. One clone with
variegated leaves is planted as an ornamental.
Cassava originated in Brazil and Paraguay. Today it has been given the status
of a cultigen with no wild forms of this species being known.
Cassava is a perennial woody shrub, grown as an annual. Cassava is a major
source of low cost carbohydrates for populations in the humid tropics. The
largest producer of cassava is Brazil, followed by Thailand, Nigeria, Zaire and
Indonesia. Production in Africa and Asia continues to increase, while that in
Latin America has remained relatively level over the past 30 years. Thailand
is the main exporter of cassava with most of it going to Europe. It was
carried to Africa by Portuguese traders from the Americas. It is a staple food
in many parts for western and central Africa and is found throughout the humid
tropics. The world market for cassava starch and meal is limited, due to the
abundance of substitutes.
Cassava is famous for the presence of free and bound cyanogenic glucosides,
linamarin and lotaustralin. They are converted to HCN in the presence of
linamarase, a naturally occurring enzyme in cassava. Linamarase acts on the
glucosides when the cells are ruptured. All plant parts contain cyanogenic
glucosides with the leaves having the highest concentrations. In the roots,
the peel has a higher concentration than the interior. In the past, cassava
was categorized as either sweet or bitter, signifying the absence or presence
of toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides. Sweet cultivars can produce as
little as 20 mg of HCN per kg of fresh roots, while bitter ones may produce
more than 50 times as much. The bitterness is identified through taste and
smell. This is not a totally valid system, since sweetness is not absolutely
correlated with HCN producing ability. In cases of human malnutrition, where
the diet lacks protein and iodine, underprocessed roots of high HCN cultivars
may result in serious health problems.
Medicinal uses for cassava are not well-documented.
Early literature on cassava described the genus with two edible species, M.
ultissima Phol or sweet and M. aipi Phol, delineating species which
have high and low cyanogenic glucoside concentrations respectively. More
recently cassava was classified as all being the same species M.
esculenta. It is the only one of 98 species in its family that is widely
cultivated for food production. Cassava uniformly is 2n = 36. Other ploidy
levels are not utilized, but have been produced experimentally. There are
several closely related species found in the tropical and subtropical Americas
that can be crossed with M. esculenta.
Cassava is a tropical root crop, requiring at least 8 months of warm weather to
produce a crop. It is traditionally grown in a savanna climate, but can be
grown in extremes of rainfall. In moist areas it does not tolerate flooding.
In drouthy areas it looses its leaves to conserve moisture, producing new
leaves when rains resume. It takes 18 or more months to produce a crop under
adverse conditions such as cool or dry weather. Cassava does not tolerate
freezing conditions. It tolerates a wide range of soil pH 4.0 to 8.0 and is
most productive in full sun.
Before the development of national and international breeding programs with
cassava there were relatively few cultivars. This is because cassava is
propagated vegetatively as clones. Recent releases from breeding programs
include clones with resistance to many of the major diseases and pests.
Specific cultivar names are mostly regional, with the exception of
introductions from international research centers, which carry with them an
institutional code. This code is often retained as the name of the cultivar.
Cultivar classification is usually based on pigmentation and shape of the
leaves, stems and roots. Cultivars most commonly vary in yield, root diameter
and length, disease and pest resistance levels, time to harvest, cooking
quality, and temperature adaptation. Some clones require 18 or months of
growth before they can be harvested. Storage root color is usually white. A
few clones have yellow-fleshed roots.
Most clones were selected by farmers from chance seedlings in their fields.
Each growing region has its own special clones with farmers growing several
different ones in a field.
Cassava is planted using 7-30 cm portions of the mature stem as propagules.
The selection of healthy, disease-free and pest-free propagules is essential.
The stem cuttings are sometimes referred to as 'stakes'. In areas where
freezing temperatures are possible, the cuttings are planted as soon as danger
of frost has past. The cuttings are planted by hand in moist, prepared soil,
burying the lower half. When soils are too shallow to plant the cutting in an
upright or slanted position, the cutting are laid flat and covered with 2-3 cm
soil. Mechanical planters have been developed in Brazil to reduce labor
inputs. Observing the polarity of the cutting is essential in successful
establishment of the cutting. The top of the cutting must be placed up.
Typical plant spacing is 1m by 1m. Cuttings produce roots within a few days
and new shoots soon appear at old leaf petiole axes on the stem. Botanical
seeds are used only for breeding purposes. Early growth is relatively slow,
thus weeds must be controlled during the first few months. Although cassava
can produce a crop with minimal inputs, optimal yields are recorded from fields
with average soil fertility levels for food crop production and regular
moisture availability. Optimal growth and productivity of the plant is related
to its harvest index, root weight divided by total plant weight. The desirable
indexes range from 0.5 to 0.7. Responses to macro-nutrients vary, with cassava
responding most to P and K fertilization. Vesicular-arbuscular (VA)
mycorrhizae benefit cassava by scavenging for phosphorus and supplying it to
the roots. High N fertilization, more than 100 kg of actual N/ha may result in
excessive foliage production at the expense of storage root development and a
low harvest index. Fertilizer is only applied during the first few months of
growth. Commercially produced fungicides and pesticides are seldom used, with
none being registered for use in the U.S.A. There is no mature stage for
cassava. Plants are ready for harvest as soon as there are storage roots large
enough to meet the requirements of the consumer. Under the most favorable
conditions, yields of fresh roots can reach 90 t/ha while average world yields
from mostly subsistence agricultural systems are 9.8 t/ha. Typically
harvesting can begin as soon as eight months after planting. In the tropics,
plants can remain unharvested for more than one growing season, allowing the
storage roots to enlarge further. However, as the roots age, the central
portion becomes woody and inedible.
Most cassava is harvested by hand, lifting the lower part of stem and pulling
the roots out of the ground, then removing them from the base of the plant by
hand. The upper parts of the stems with the leaves are removed before harvest.
Levers and ropes can be used to assist harvesting. A mechanical harvester has
been developed in Brazil. It grabs onto the stem and lifts the roots from the
ground. Care must be taken during the harvesting process to minimize damage to
the roots, as this greatly reduces shelf life. During the harvesting process,
the cuttings for the next crop are selected. These must be kept in a protected
location to prevent desiccation.
The shelf life of cassava is only a few days unless the roots receive special
treatment. Removing the leaves two weeks before harvest lengthens the shelf
life to two weeks. Dipping the roots in paraffin or a wax or storing them in
plastic bags reduces the incidence of vascular streaking and extends the shelf
life to three or four weeks. Roots can be peeled and frozen. Traditional
methods include packing the roots in moist mulch to extend shelf life.
Dried roots can be milled into flour. Maize may be added during the milling
process to add protein to the flour. The flour can be use for baking breads.
Typically, cassava flour may be used as partial substitute for wheat flour in
making bread. Bread made wholly from cassava has been marketed in the U.S.A.
to meet the needs of people with allergies to wheat flour.
Fresh roots can be sliced thinly and deep fried to make a product similar to
potato chips. They can be cut into larger spear-like pieces and processed into
a product similar to french fires.
Roots can be peeled, grated and washed with water to extract the starch which
can be used to make breads, crackers, pasta and pearls of tapioca.
Unpeeled roots can be grated and dried for use as animal feed. The leaves can
add protein to animal feed.
Industrial uses where cassava is used in the processing procedures or
manufacture of products include paper-making, textiles, adhesives, high
fructose syrup and alcohol.
The largest germplasm collection is housed at the International Center for
Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. The International Institute for
Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria maintains a germplasm collection
for African needs. The largest national collection is in Brazil under the
direction of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Network (EMBRAPA). All three
institutions have breeding programs. Importation of cassava propagules into
the U.S.A. is prohibited. This is to minimize the spread of the pests and
systemic diseases of this important food crop. Where permitted, plants in
tissue culture can be safely exchanged if certified disease-free.
There are no commercial seed sources for cassava.
Pure Cassava Vitamin C
(Ereba) Vitamin C from Ben Palacio.
/ 100 Capsules / Vitamin C 1000 mg per serving
Derived from Pure, Hypoallergenic Cassava Root
| ... ... ..Click Here for MORE INFO |
Back To Seine Bight Village
Cassava: Garífuna Yucca Bread
Today, this traditional bread is
served at many Garífuna rituals, including the sacred dugü ceremony. The
preparation of casabe is a two-day labor of love. In this time, the Garífuna
women sing songs of hardship, of their husbands and sons departing and
being left alone to maintain their fields, families, and communities.
Through these songs, the Garífuna women release their pain and find renewed
strength in their solidarity as sisters united in a common struggle. Continue!
Learn more about this cultural
tradition and how Garífuna women sing during the grating process to
heal their pain.
Did you know that yucca is a poisonous root that contains cyanide? Learn
what ancient technique the Garífuna use to extract this poison and prepare
casabe. Accompany Garífuna community members as they show you
step-by-step how to make casabe. info
fresh cassva online!
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