Thursday, June 20, 2024
Home Farming Tips How To Store Cassava Roots

How To Store Cassava Roots

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Traditional storage methods

· Cassava roots are left underground after maturity and harvested in piecemeal when needed. This practice is common when cassava is used for food security. However, it is not recommended for commercial practice.

  • Cassava roots are heaped under shade and watered every day.

Undamaged roots are stored in pits or trenches (usually 1 meter long and 30-40cm wide) dug in well-drained soils, sloppy and shaded areas. The trenches, with the long side directed downhill, are lined with straw and dried leaves before roots are arranged in them after which the roots are covered with soil, preferably river sand or sea sand. Water-logged areas and heavy clay for covering should be avoided.

  • Cassava roots are coated with clay or mud.

Freshly harvested or peeled roots are stored for 1 to 2 days by completely submerging them in water. The roots are simultaneously detoxified but may ferment or spoil after three days.

Storage by heaping or soaking, in pits, or by coating extends the shelf life of the roots by only 2–3 days. This is not suitable for commercial operations.

How to reduce postharvest losses

  • Harvest when the soil is wet or loose.
  • When harvesting, cut the roots from the stem leaving 2-5cm of the stuck on the roots.
  • Avoid bruises or damage to the roots during harvesting and transportation.
  • Select uninjured roots if the storage of more than 1 week is desired.
  • Treat unpeeled roots with fungicides before storage.

             Improved storage methods

  • Select a well-drained area, preferably shaded, and slightly sloping.
  • Dig trenches measuring 1 meter (m) wide and 30–40 cm deep.
  • The length varies according to the volume of the roots. A trench 1 m long can contain 70–80 kg of roots.
  • Dig the trenches in such a way that the length is directed downhill.
  • At the lower end of the trench, make a drainage ditch, at least 20 cm wide and 5 to 10 cm deeper than the storage trench.
  • Arrange mature, undamaged roots inside the trench. Cover each layer with soil, preferably river- sand or sea- sand. Clay-loam soil can also be used if it is not too wet.
  • Do not use heavy clay. Soil of this type could speed up root deterioration.
  • Do not keep cassava in a waterlogged area because roots will rot easily.

Storage in clamps

  • The method is practical where fresh (sweet) roots are marketed over many days for fresh uses or transported over long distances. The storage period is about 1 month.
  • Choose a dry spot in the farm or processing area and dig a shallow trench.
  • Place a layer of straw, and add a layer of selected undamaged roots to form a cone or mound shape.
  • Add 20 cm of straw, then cover the clamp with soil, leaving openings at the bottom for ventilation, to maintain the temperature below 40°C for curing wounds and for storage.
  • Ensure proper ventilation and that the floor remains dry.

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