Experts Promote Cassava Enterprise in ATI’s Free Seminar

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Marie Grace Halibas from Iligan City shows participants of the free seminar on cassava the correct way of wrapping cassava suman.

DILIMAN, Quezon City – What are the uses of cassava? Apparently, there are many.

In his lecture on the recommended practices in cassava production, Dr. Candido Damo, Department of Agriculture’s (DA) technical consultant on cassava production, cited the different uses of this crop, "Apart from food products, cassava is often used in making animal feeds. It can also be used in manufacturing alcohol, medicine, textile, biodegradable products, monosodium glutamate, glue, and plywood."

To date, there are 48 registered varieties of cassava in the Philippines. Dr. Damo, however, stressed the importance of selecting the right variety, “For industrial products like starch, feeds, and ethanol, you can choose varieties with low to high levels of cyanide. But for food products, you should choose those with low cyanide content.”

Dr. Damo’s lecture is part of the Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) free seminar on cassava production and processing. Also part of his lecture is on the preparation of planting materials, planting methods, fertilizer application, pest and disease management, and post-harvest practices.

Dr. Damo also briefly showed a cost and return analysis of one-hectare cassava production, sharing that feed millers usually buy tons of cassava produce from farmers. He furthered that DA is also focusing on promoting the value-adding ventures on cassava.

Margeuries House of Goodies owner Marie Grace Halibas, on the other hand, demonstrated the steps in making different food products using cassava. With the help of three participants, Halibas talked about preparing cassava cream cake with coconut custard topping, pichi-pichi, cassava bibingka, and cassava suman, stressing that the variety she usually uses is Lakan.

One of Halibas’ assistants was 24-year-old Jayson Cajurao from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office. He shared that it was his first time joining ATI’s free seminars, “This is a great endeavor because it’s free and very useful to ordinary people.”

It was also Cajurao’s first time cooking in front of a crowd but he said that he enjoyed the experience since he is interested in cooking and that Halibas was very accommodating.

Meanwhile, 52-year-old Imelda Gandia shared that she joined the seminar as she plans to expand her food business, saying that she has the basic materials needed for making cassava-based food products.

Around 130 people came to the free seminar on cassava held on August 11. Filipino inventor Ernesto Labuntog also dropped by to discuss his portable water treatment device which can be used during disasters and emergencies.