This study was conducted to investigate on the nutritional content of the cassava based food consumed in Alabata community of Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo state.

This study was carried out among 100 households. Information were collected using a structured questionnaire for their socio-demography. Among the consumption of cassava, the three most common forms of consumption are Lafun, Fufu, Garri (Eba) 11.4% are head of Household, 22.8% are Spouse (mothers), 28.4% are sons, 32.2% are daughters and 2.6% are relations.

Further more, it was observed that amongst the three cassava dishes Lafun is high in Crude Protein, Fat, Fibre Ash, Carbohydrate and moisture content. Fufu is high in giving energy with 4.70E2 + 1.25 mean value and Garri (Eba) is also high in moisture content with 13.65 + 0.05. Garri (Eba) contains high vitamins nutritional content.



Cassava (Manihot esculenta crantz) is an important staple food crop for many millions of people in the tropics (Rao and Hahn,1984). Cassava virtue as a human food is that it is a cheap source of energy that is how most Nigerians view it especially those in the rural areas (Ikpi and Hahn,1988).Cassava root is normally processed before consumption as a means of detoxification preservation and modification (Oyewole,1991).

Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also known as yucca or manioc, is a woody shrub of the, Euphorbiaceae (spurge family ) native to South America. Cassava is extensively cultivated as annual crop in tropical and sub tropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous roots, a major source of carbohydrates. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava. Cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for meals in the world.

Various method of processing include fermentation, drying, frying, milling, sieving. Fermentation is an important process method for the crop: fermentation processing method can be broadly categorized into solid state, (without soaking, e.g. for garri) and submerged (involving soaking in water e.g. for fufu) (Oyewole and Odunfa, 1992).

In Nigeria, the most important fermented moderate are ‘gari’ (a fermented partially gelatinized granular product) “fufu” (a creamy white fermented moist paste) and “Lafun” (a flour made from dried fermented cassava (Westby and Twiddy, 1992) “Gari” the most population is produced through the fermentation of grated cassava mash.

1.1 Classification of cassava

Cassava is classified into sweet or bitter depending on the level of toxic cyanogenic glucoside. Cassava in Nigeria is called akpu, ege or ugburu, Cassava based dishes are widely consumed wherever the plant is cultivated. Some of these dishes have regional, national or ethnic importance. Cassava must be cooled properly to detoxify it before it is eaten which can be cooked in various ways.

1.2 Uses

Cassava is grown for its enlarged starch-filled roots, which contains nearly the maximum theoretical concentration of starch on a dry weight basis among food crops. Fresh roots contain about 30% starch and very little protein.

In Alabata cassava is consumed mainly as Lafun,Fufu and Garri (eba).


1.3.1 Broad Objective

To determine the nutritional content of cassava-based dishes as consumed.

1.3.2 Specific Objective

To assess the socio-demography and socio-economic characteristics of the people To identify the various dishes prepared in Alabata using cassava.

1.4 Justification

This research was carried out to analyse the nutritional content of the cassava dishes prepared observing the proximate content, vitamin and mineral content of the food samples and to know which one has the highest content.

1.5 Limitations

The limitation experienced during survey was the bad roads in order to collect food samples for chemical Analysis. Another limitation is that of the people not providing us the samples required for the research.



2.1     Origin of Cassava

Cassava originated in Brazil and Paraguay. Today it has been given the status of a cultigens with no wild forms of this species being known.

Cassava is believed to have been first introduced by the Portuguese in the delta of the Congo River during the first part of the 16th century (Jones, 1959) and was quickly adapted on the traditional farming system in different agro-ecological regions of tropical Africa (Philips, 1973). Although cassava was initially introduced by Europeans, it adaptability to social framework of the forming community.

Cassava has been grown in the Amazon basin since at least 2500BC. It is a staple foodstuff for many peoples. Amazonian Indians were eating it before the arrival of the Portuguese. It was later introduce to Europe and Africa, from which it spread to Asia. In Amazonia, cassava is grated and the pulp is fermented, pressed and dried. It is formed into flatbreads, called “cassava” Roasted, it becomes Guyanese “couac” or Brazilian “farina.

In Africa, it is made into Semolina like “garri” or “attieke” or pastes like “foufou” or chikwangue”.

By washing the pulp and decorating juice, the starch is extracted. Dried, grilled and pressed of becomes tapioca. This product was introduced into Europe in the 18th century and gave its name to the Tipiak company, an early importer of tapioca.

Today cassava is widely grown and harvested in tropical regions. It is usually the starch roots that are eaten, although the leaves are used in Africa, Asia and northern Brazil (to make manicoba). Cassava flour doesn’t look like wheat flour. It looks more like a somewhat coarse dry semolina ranging in colour from bright yellow to white to gray.

These days cassava is eaten in many countries in the same way as wheat, corn, rice and potatoes. Cassava is the highest source of carbohydrate, and it contains significant amount of calcium (50mg/100g), phosphorus (40mg/100g) and vitamin C (25g/100g) (Onwueme, 1978).

Cassava is grown for its enlarged starch-filled roots, which contains nearly the maximum theoretical concentration of starch on a dry weight basis among food crops. Fresh roots contain about 30% starch and very little protein. Roots are prepared much like potato. They can be peeled and boiled, baked, or fried. It is not recommended to eat cassava uncooked, because of potentially toxic concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides that are reduced to innocuous levels through cooking. In traditional settings of the Americas, roots are grated and the sap is extracted through squeezing or pressing. The cassava is then further dried over a fire to make a meal or fermented and cooked. The meal can then be rehydrated with water or added to soups or stews. In Africa, roots are processed in several different ways. They may be first fermented in water. Then they are either sun-dried for storage or grated and made into a dough that is cooked. Alcoholic beverages can be made from the roots.

Young tender leaves can be used as a potherb, containing high levels of protein (8-10% F.W.). Prepared in a similar manner as spinach, care should be taken to eliminate toxic compounds during the cooking process. One clone with variegated leaves is planted as an ornamental.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the united Nations Global cassava Development Strategy cassava is the third most important source of calories in the tropics, after rice and corn (FAO, 2004)., cassava tuber suffer very heavy losses when stored for more than a few days. These losses are not caused by insects (pests) but by microbial infections and physiological factors.

The plant grown in a bushy form, up to 2.4m (up to 8ft) high, with greenish-yellow flowers. The roots are up to 8cm (up to 3 in) thick and 91cm (36cm) long.

2.2 Crops Status

Cassava is a perennial woody shrub, grown as an annual. Cassava is a major source of low cost carbohydrates for populations in the humid tropics. The largest producer of cassava is Brazil, followed by Thailand, Nigeria, Zaire and Indonesia. Production in Africa and Asia continues to increase, while that in Latin America has remained relatively level over the past 30 years. Thailand is the main exporter of cassava with most of it going to Europe. It was carried to Africa by Portuguese traders from the Americas. It is a staple food in many parts for western and central Africa and is found throughout the humid tropics. The world market for cassava starch and meal is limited, due to the abundance of substitutes.

2.3       GRAS Status

2.4       Toxicities

Cassava is famous for the presence of free and bound cyanogenic glucosides, linamarin and lotaustralin. They are converted to HCN in the presence of linamarase, a naturally occurring enzyme in cassava. Linamarase acts on the glucosides when the cells are ruptured. All plant parts contain cyanogenic glucosides with the leaves having the highest concentrations. In the roots, the peel has a higher concentration than the interior. In the past, cassava was categorized as either sweet or bitter, signifying the absence or presence of toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides. Sweet cultivars can produce as little as 20 mg of HCN per kg of fresh roots, while bitter ones may produce more than 50 times as much. The bitterness is identified through taste and smell. This is not a totally valid system, since sweetness is not absolutely correlated with HCN producing ability. In cases of human malnutrition, where the diet lacks protein and iodine, under processed roots of high HCN cultivars may result in serious health problems.

2.5       Ecology

Cassava is a tropical root crop, requiring at least 8 months of warm weather to produce a crop. It is traditionally grown in a savanna climate, but can be grown in extremes of rainfall. In moist areas it does not tolerate flooding. In drouthy areas it looses its leaves to conserve moisture, producing new leaves when rains resume. It takes 18 or more months to produce a crop under adverse conditions such as cool or dry weather. Cassava does not tolerate freezing conditions. It tolerates a wide range of soil pH 4.0 to 8.0 and is most productive in full sun.

2.6   Cultivars

Before the development of national and international breeding programs with cassava there were relatively few cultivars. This is because cassava is propagated vegetatively as clones. Recent releases from breeding programs include clones with resistance to many of the major diseases and pests. Specific cultivar names are mostly regional, with the exception of introductions from international research centers, which carry with them an institutional code. This code is often retained as the name of the cultivar. Cultivar classification is usually based on pigmentation and shape of the leaves, stems and roots. Cultivars most commonly vary in yield, root diameter and length, disease and pest resistance levels, time to harvest, cooking quality, and temperature adaptation. Some clones require 18 or months of growth before they can be harvested. Storage root color is usually white. A few clones have yellow-fleshed roots.

Most clones were selected by farmers from chance seedlings in their fields. Each growing region has its own special clones with farmers growing several different ones in a field.

2.7       Harvesting

Most cassava is harvested by hand, lifting the lower part of stem and pulling the roots out of the ground, then removing them from the base of the plant by hand. The upper parts of the stems with the leaves are removed before harvest. Levers and ropes can be used to assist harvesting. A mechanical harvester has been developed in Brazil. It grabs onto the stem and lifts the roots from the ground. Care must be taken during the harvesting process to minimize damage to the roots, as this greatly reduces shelf life. During the harvesting process, the cuttings for the next crop are selected. These must be kept in a protected location to prevent desiccation.

Cassava production in Africa is used almost exclusively for consumption as food. In fact, 95 percent of the total cassava production, after accounting for waste, was used as food in Africa in the late 1990s In Africa, total cassava consumption more than doubled from 24 million tonnes per year in the early 1960s to 58 million tonnes per year in the late 1990s (FAOSTAT). The large increase in the total cassava consumption in Africa is due to a significant increase in per capita consumption in countries such as Ghana and Nigeria where cassava is produced as a cash crop for urban consumption. The availability of cassava in a convenient food form, such as gari, played a major role in the increase in the per capita cassava consumption in Ghana and Nigeria. Future increases in cassava consumption in other African countries will depend on how well cassava is prepared into food forms, which make an alternative to wheat, rice, maize and sorghum to urban consumers.

Cassava roots are the single largest source of calories in seven African countries having 40 percent of the population in the late 1990s’. In these seven countries, cassava contributed an average of nearly 600 calories per person per day. In another 11 countries with about 25 percent of Africa’s population, cassava was the second largest source of calories. In those countries, cassava provided more than 300 calories per person per day in the late 1990s (FAOSTAT). Thus, in Africa, cassava roots are an important source of calories for about 65 percent of the total population.

These averages underestimate the importance of cassava in specific countries. In the Congo, for example, many families eat cassava for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the Congo, cassava contributed over 1 000 calories per person per day or about 55 percent of the average daily calorie intake in the late 1990s (FAOSTAT). Cassava leaves are widely consumed as a vegetable in several places where cassava is grown such as in the Congo and Tanzania. Since cassava leaves are rich in protein, vitamins A and C and some minerals (iron and calcium) they partially compensate for, the shortage of these nutrients in the roots.

Cassava was found to be the cheapest source of calories among all food crops in each of the six study countries. As family incomes increased, the consumption of cassava as dried root flour declined while consumption in convenient food forms such as gari increased. Dried cassava root flour is cheaper than gari because of the high cost of processing gari. Medium and high income families were found to consume gari because it is cheaper and more convenient to cook than grains. The future of cassava as a rural and urban food staple will depend on cassava’s ability to compete with wheat, rice, maize, sorghum and other grains in terms of cost, convenience and availability in urban markets. Cassava can retain its competitive edge only through investments in labour-saving production, harvesting and processing technologies.



3.1    Study Area

Okigwe Local Government Area came into existence on September 1 1976. This Local Government has a tropical climate and energy is bounded in the rainy season from April to October, it get its barest rainy from April to July and moderate rains from August to October.

The larger part of the population is predominantly farmers but in recent times has been engaging in artisan works, trading craft.

Agriculture groups cultivated by farmers are cassava, vegetable, maize, pepper, yam, banana etc. and cash crops like cocoa, oil palm, and cashew citrus. Major livestock in the area are poultry, goats, sheep, ram, cattle. The Local Government is divided into 10 wards which Alabata is one of them. Alabata is a community in Okigwe Local Government Area which is populated with Yoruba’s Bandel’s and Fulani people. The houses in Alabata are nucleated.

3.2       Sampling Procedure

Random sampling procedure is used for data in sampling Household in the community. Members of selected Household participated. Houses in which research was carried out are numbered for identification of sampling.

3.3       Method of Data Collection

a structured questionnaire was used in collecting data. This was designed to obtain information about their socio-demography and socio-economic characteristic.

3.4       Duplicate sampling method

This was used to collect food sample in which cassava is used Examples are:

Lafun, Fufu and Garri (Eba) for further analysis

Socio-demography section: the household and their members were asked relevant questions about their age educational background occupation marital status.

Oral interview: This was also carried due to the level of education and literacy of the people in helping the questionnaire by speaking and interpreting to them.

3.5       Statistical Analysis

The socio-demographic data received from the questionnaire was analysed using the SPSS 18.0 version software Package which involved the use of mean and standard deviation. The Duncan multiple range was used to determine the food with the highest nutritional mean value compared to other samples after which Laboratory test on food was carried out.

3.6       Chemical Analysis

Food samples collected were taken to the Laboratory for determining the proximate, vitamins and mineral content of Fufu, Lafun and Eba (garri). The following were the procedure used in determining the nutritional content:

3.6.1 Determination Of Niacin Or Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3)

5g of sample was blended and 100ml of distilled water added to dissolve all Nicotinic acid or Niacin present.

5ml of this solution was drawn into 100m