Post-harvest management and associated food losses and by-products of cassava in southern Ethiopia
Improved (high yield and disease resistant) cassava varieties were introduced into Ethiopia around the onset of the twenty-first century, as a potential food security crop. At present, limited information is available from the country on post-production aspects of the value chain (VC) and related food losses. The lack of such data prevents policymakers and VC actors from taking steps towards improving VC efficiencies, which can have a significant impact on livelihoods and food security. The focus of this study was to examine the prevailing post-harvest practices in the cassava VC in southern Ethiopia and quantify the extent of food losses and associated by-products in the framework of the recently developed ‘food loss and waste protocol’. The majority of the cassava in the study area was processed into dry chips and milled into a composite flour with teff and maize to prepare the staple bread (injera). ‘Critical loss points’ were during sun-drying (4%) and stockpiling at farm and marketplace (30–50%). Insect pest damage was primarily responsible for food losses at farm and market level. The most important insect species infesting dry cassava were identified during the survey. As far as the by-products were concerned, the ratio of leaf:wood (stem and stump):starchy root on a dry matter basis at harvest was 1:6:10. Further emphasis should be on improving processing and storage technologies to reduce food losses and the better recovery and utilisation of by-products, especially the leaves of cassava, which could be a potential source of protein in human diets.
KeywordsCassava Ethiopia Food losses Inedible parts Value chain Insect-pests
The authors thank German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) and the project RELOAD (Grant No. 031A247A-D) for funding this study. This work would not have been possible without the support of the local partner organisations especially the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research (EIAR) and Hawassa University, Hawassa.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.
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