cassava

Zambian cassava production hits 3m tons

Cassava production has increased to 3.8 million tons from 1.2 million in previous years.

The Zambia National Cassava Association (ZNCA) said the growth is driven by the use of tubers.

“There is a growing demand in food manufacturing and industry,” said Chairperson Brighton Mulonga, speaking at the third Cassava World Africa symposium in Lusaka.

In Zambia, Cassava – a climate change resilient tuber – is the most important crop grown after maize. It is produced by more than 500 000 small-scale farmers, concentrated in Northern, Luapula and Western Provinces.

The crop is used in the industrial processing of ethanol, sweeteners and starch and in the production of convenience foods. Sometimes, it is also used in making feed and composite flours.

Mulonga said government and donor-driven commercialization interventions also helped to increase production, as farmers are assured of ready market.

Last year, the Zambian breweries, a subsidiary of InBev, bought 1 300 tons of cassava at a cost of K3 million. This year’s investment will be about K6 million. Zambian breweries’ state of the art machinery at its Ndola plant on the Copperbelt has also increased the uptake of cassava. It is used in brewing the popular Eagle lager.

First Quantum Minerals, a mining company operating in Zambia, imports up to 12 000 tons of cassava from Australia for use in copper smelting.

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