The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA), is also taking up the cudgels to demonstrate the potential of cassava as a cash crop.
Cassava used to be treated as an “orphan crop” or is planted in plots where traditional crops, like rice and corn, fail to grow.
In his lecture on the recommended practices in cassava production, Candido Damo, the DA’s technical consultant on cassava production, cited the different uses of this crop, “Apart from food products, cassava is often used in making animal feeds. It can also be used in manufacturing alcohol, medicine, textile, biodegradable products, monosodium glutamate, glue, and plywood,” he said.
To date, there are 48 registered varieties of cassava in the Philippines. Damo, however, stressed the importance of selecting the right variety, “For industrial products like starch, feeds, and ethanol, you can choose varieties with low to high levels of cyanide. But for food products, you should choose those with low cyanide content.”
Damo’s lecture is part of the ATI’s free seminar on cassava production and processing, that tackles planting materials, planting methods, fertilizer application, pest and disease management, and post-harvest practices.
He said that feed millers usually buy tons of cassava from farmers and the DA is also focusing on promoting value-adding ventures for the crop.
Margeuries House of Goodies owner Marie Grace Halibas also demonstrated how cassava can used as an ingredient in making different food products like cream cake with coconut custard topping, pichi-pichi, bibingka and suman.