|Traditional Storage of Yams and Cassave and its Improvement (GTZ)|
|5.6 The processing of cassava roots|
As stated in the preceding chapters, the storage ability of fresh cassava roots is very limited in time This can only be prolonged slightly by the use of technical processes which, in some cases, are very costly (e.g. refrigeration). In view of this it is not surprising mat processes to conserve cassava roots have been developed.
There is a great variety of such processes ranging from simple drying through to processes which have to be considered as foodstuff technology (GRACE, 1977; COCK, 1985). Traditional methods of processing which are typical for some regions, e.g. the production of gari in West Africa, have been completely mechanised during the course of time. This has contributed to relieving particularly women of work (NZOLA-MESO and HAHN, 1982).
The main purpose of processing cassava roots is to get a product which will keep and which can be stored. Numerous production processes achieve this by drying the cassava roots. A welcome side-effect of drying is the concentration of the contents which determine its value. The ability of the product to be transported is considerably improved.
In addition to conserving, processing also detoxifies the cassava. This is necessary since the bitter varieties of cassava in particular have very high concentrations of hydrogen cyanide which can lead to serious health hazards.