Researchers list economic uses of cassava peels
With innovations and technologies, cassava peels have moved from being an environmental nuisance to important economic materials used in animal feeds and mushroom production, among others.
Research has revealed that the peel constitutes 20.1% of the tubers, implying that about 4.2 metric tonnes of cassava peels per hectare are available annually for feeding ruminants such as goats, pigs, and poultry.
Professor Kolawole Adebayo, a lecturer at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), said, “Cassava peel is essentially fiber that contains a little starch from over-peeling by the rural farmers. One of the first areas we look at when we talk about economic importance of cassava peels is feeding the ruminants and livestock, particularly the peels that are in wet form which will be fermented a bit and then used as feeds to pigs.”
Another way to make use of cassava peels, according to Adebayo, is “when we make it a layer to grow mushrooms on. And mushrooms are high in fiber and protein, which are very nutritious. All of these are the primary importance of cassava peels.”
Adebayo added that cassava peels are said to be part of the ingredients in soap making if burnt, but he has not personally done it to confirm how effective it is, but he is sure it is theoretically possible.
He said: “Some of my colleagues have also added value to cassava peels by grating and putting it in other livestock feeds. But I consider it to be very expensive alternative.
“If you are conversant with the cassava-growing environment, you will note that about 10% of cassava is solid waste and this can be a nuisance if not properly managed. Over the years, I have done some groups of work with the World Bank to see how we can commercially convert this to products to yield income, especially for the poor.”
Similarly, according to a research led by Iheanacho Okike, a scientist with International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Ibadan, “the new process and innovation could also release about two million tonnes of maize for human consumption that would otherwise have been used for animal feeds, contributing significantly to food security efforts in the country.”
There are several existing technologies of drying, grating and preserving cassava peels which would hold the key to providing a readily available and sustainable source of feeding for domestic animals, which will increase income for farmers.
The use of cassava peels as a partial replacement of maize in young pigs’ diet was shown, according to research, to be cost-effective. It was also established in the research study that up to a 57% level of inclusion had no deleterious and harmful effects on the pigs.
Mrs Bola Adeyemo, a female farmer in Oyo State, testified also that the economic value of processing cassava peels is very high even though the equipment used in processing the cassava peels are very expensive
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