Essentially every part of cassava is economically and industrially useful as there is no end to its commercial possibilities. In the past, cassava peels were usually discarded but now, it is being utilized as animal feed although predominantly processed on a small scale in the rural areas. However, there would be changes in no time as cassava peels would be on demand in commercial quantity in the very near future.
This is because work, aimed to draw a road-map for a cassava-based animal feed system that will highlight action plans for adding value to the cassava business in Nigeria has been done by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in hosting top international researchers, decision makers, business people, and other stakeholders working in the Nigerian cassava sector. The road-map will have a potential to serve as a model for all cassava producing countries in Africa.
“We need to seize this opportunity and harness the benefits of every part of the cassava crop for national development, income generation, nutrition enhancement, and poverty alleviation,” says Kenton Dashiell, IITA deputy director-general, Partnerships and Capacity Development in cassava.
Chief executive of Psaltery International, a firm producing high quality cassava flour on a relatively large scale, is cheerful about the possible use of cassava peels in industrial making of animal feeds. She says: “Currently, my company disposes the peels in our farm adjacent to the factory to rejuvenate the soil. But I shall be glad to have another income stream from commercial demand of cassava peels.”
A lecturer at the agric extension department of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), and his PhD student examined on the exploitation of cassava peels by West African dwarf goats. It was discovered from their results that feeding livestock with cassava peels escalated their digestibility and utilization of other feed forms. This is in addition to other health paybacks. The utilization of these materials in the feeding of livestock do not only reduce cost of production but also create wealth from wastes and reduce competition between man and animals for food. Cassava peels if processed right can act as a source of energy, a substitute for maize, which is in very high demand as food by humans.
Another researcher with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) based in IITA, also says the peels if converted to animal feed could contribute largely to the income of farmers and provide additional economic options for livestock and fish producers. He points out that additional benefits accrue to consumers due to increased production of milk, meat and fish, and the additional availability of maize and other grains that could otherwise have gone into the feed system.
Representatives from many international research institutes were involved in the IITA-hosted meeting on cassava peels utilization and was organised by the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), CGIAR Research Programme on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) and co-hosted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).