Hardier cassava offers promise for hungry Africa

first_img Quick workouts for men Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   There have been successes, adding vitamins and making some more drought-resistant. Scientists even bred a cassava plant whose inner tissue is yellow, a color favored by Nigerians who enjoy it with a splash of palm oil, which makes the food spoil quicker when stored.Experiments continue at a kitchen at the institute, where chefs bake using a combination of regular flour and 40 percent of “cassava flour.” Loaves of white bread baked with cassava taste like wheat bread, while the sweet taste of the more exotic “ginger orange raisin muffin” masks the flavor.Every week, the kitchen bakes a batch of cassava bread that is taken to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and put on the tables of Aso Rock, the nation’s presidential villa. There, President Goodluck Jonathan made a stir last year when he held up a loaf and promised to eat only cassava bread while in office. He also ate some on national television and handed it out to his ministers, some of whom looked warily at it.“For us as a nation, for us to move forward, we must also tame our exotic tastes,” Jonathan said at the time. “Some of the things from outside are not even as good as the things we have inside.” The vital role family plays in society Associated PressIBADAN, Nigeria (AP) – From this field nestled among the lush rolling hills of Nigeria’s southwest, the small plants rising out the hard red dirt appear fragile, easily crushed by weather or chance.Looks, however, are deceiving.These cassava plants will grow into a dense thicket of hard, bamboo-like shoots within a year, with roots so massive a single planted hectare can provide three tons of food. The plants survive fires, droughts and pestilence, while offering a vital food source for more than 500 million people living across sub-Saharan Africa. Critics on social media and elsewhere flayed Jonathan, likening his cassava bread endorsement as Nigeria faced strikes and unrest to Marie Antoinette’s out-of-touch musings about cake prior to the French Revolution. Jonathan’s push for cassava flour could benefit the country, but it comes after a similar and failed attempt by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to do them same.But cassava can be used beyond the kitchen. Scraps of cassava feed farm animals in Nigeria, while Thailand produces chips and feed from whole cassava roots for animals. In industrial settings, cassava can be used to make starch, sweeteners and medical glucose for diabetics.Those other uses for cassava give scientists at the institute hope that their improved cassava plants will be able to help people both feed themselves and make a profit in Nigeria where most earn less than $2 a day. However, they say that the feeding those living in the country must remain the first priority.“Because it’s eaten in such large quantities, any big change that we can bring about in the nutritional quality is a big” gain, Asiedu said. “You need to diversify your diet _ have meat and fish and all _ but we know these are expensive. So for the average person, any mineral or nutritional element we can put in cassava is big improvement.” 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img

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