Sustaining World Food Security with Improved Cassava Processing Technology: The Nigeria Experience
Cassava is a very important food crop that is capable of providing food security. However, a lot of problems prevent the development and use of modern equipment for its production. Most of the cassava produced still comes from peasant farmers who depend on manual tools for their field operations and these farmers have made Nigeria the world’s largest producer of the crop. An increase in production of cassava to sustain the world food security needs improved machinery to allow its continuous cultivation and processing. Reasons for the low success recorded in the mechanization of cassava harvesting and processing were traced, and the attempts that have been made in the recent past by various engineers in Nigeria researching towards achieving mechanized harvesting and processing of cassava are well explained. The machinery required for cassava production in Africa, the development of new machines, and the need for more research and development in harvesting and processing machineries, which can reduce poverty worldwide and make food available and accessible for all, are also discussed. Research efforts made and the challenges facing the engineers, farmers, scientists and food processors towards achieving mechanical harvesting and processing of cassava are presented. Breeding a cassava variety with a regular shape for easy mechanization is one solution that could help the engineers worldwide.
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