The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with its partners has developed a technology to turn fresh cassava peel into high quality livestock feed rich in nutrients.
Research conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) indicates that cassava peels contain about 8-10 per cent dry matter as well as 62 per cent soluble carbohydrates. It is low in fibre at 16 per cent, with about 6.5 per cent crude protein. However, the peels are rich in poisons and have to be dried slowly to reduce the toxicity.
Researchers say about 50 million tonnes of peels are currently being wasted and treated as environmental nuisance. It is believed the new technology will add about 50 million tonnes of quality feed creating a $2-billion-a-year industry in Africa.
It will also create employment and income for cassava processors along the value chains as well as clean the environment.
Developed in Ibadan, Nigeria, the technology has rapidly been disseminated to cassava growing regions in Kenya and other cassava growing nations.
It uses simple machinery and techniques that cassava processors are conversant with and is easily adopted by a wide range of entrepreneurs.
Abundant low-cost and year-round availability of cassava peels, appropriate technology and strong demand for quality livestock feeds due to high prices have allowed entrepreneurs to commercialise the technology.
Already, some local manufacturing firms have commercialised the feed production process. ILRI, in collaboration with local firms, have trained up to 750 women involved in cassava peel mash processing and business management – providing employment and partial ownership to at least three women groups.
Other organisations working with ILRI include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Potato Centre (CIP). ILRI has received enquiries from entrepreneurs in Ghana, India, Malawi and South Africa.