Existing technologies of drying and grading cassava peels could hold the key to providing a readily available and sustainable source of animal feeds, increasing incomes for women and boosting food security in West Africa.
Researchers and partners working with the CGIAR Research Programs on Livestock and Fish, Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics and Roots, Tubers and Bananas, have successfully tested a new and faster method of drying and preparing cassava peels as livestock feed.
A new 10-minute film by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) partner, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), explains how ‘if exploited to the fullest, the innovation would yield at least four million tonnes of high-quality animal feed ingredients valued at around USD 600 million per year.’
The research is led by Iheanacho Okike, a scientist with ILRI in Ibadan, Nigeria, who says the new process ‘could also release about two million tonnes of maize for human consumption that would otherwise have been used for animal feed, contributing significantly to food security efforts in the country.’
In Nigeria, nearly three million households (mostly women) produce fifty million tonnes of cassava annually. Most of the crop is used for human consumption, but about 14 million tonnes of its by-products, including peels and under-sized tubers are thrown away as waste.
The new innovation quickens the drying process by removing excess water from freshly processed peels; five hundred litres of water can be removed from a tonne of fresh peels in just 30 minutes,’ says Okike.
Through the technology, scientists have successfully reduced the drying of cassava peels from three days to one, and to just six hours in some cases. The resulting dry cake is then loosened, sun dried and divided into various grades for different animals, including large and small ruminants and poultry.
The researchers are working with commercial feed manufacturers who will constitute the major users of the technology and with small-scale food processors who are already using similar machines in their factories. They hope to scale up the innovation to the rest of Nigeria and to other cassava-producing countries in Africa if funding is available.
‘We hope the processors will add value to the waste peels and turn this into a sustainable business,’ says Graham Thiele, director of the Roots, Tubers and Bananas research program. The project is also working with some leading commercial poultry-feed producers in Nigeria to test the use of the high quality cassava peel mash in chicken feeds.
A commercial poultry feed manufacturer involved in a feeding trial in the project described the use of cassava peel mash (CPM) in broiler feedstuff as safe, adding that a 50-75kg inclusion of CPM in a tonne of poultry feeds does not affect their performance.
This research is a collaboration of ILRI, IITA, the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21 Century (GCP21).
Check this blog soon for more outputs from the project.