Characteristics Of The Cassava Plant

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2.0 THE CASSAVA PLANT Cassava, Manihot esculenta, grown basically for its storage roots is a perennial shrub in the family Euphorbiaceae. The cassava plant is a woody plant that may have been first cultivated in brazil is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics and a major staple food in the developing world (Adekunle, Osazuwa, & Raghavan, 2016). Different varieties of cassava possess distinctive characteristics and qualities that enable the various varieties adapt to its environment. The cassava plant as compared to other plants can flourish in drought season and poor soils. It forms a symbiotic association with soil fungi, which makes the cassava plant grow in acidic soils (Adekunle et al., 2016) Growth of the cassava plant is temperature dependent. The plant is valuable in regions with low annual rainfall and irregular rainfall patterns. It can be single planted or inter-planted with other crops, this reduces the risk of loss through pest and diseases and unfavourable weather conditions. Although the cassava plant can grow on a wide range of soils, it grows and matures best on sandy loams soils (FAO, 1997). Time taken for the different varieties of the cassava plant to mature varies. Cassava can be harvested all year once the roots reach its maturity. The cassava plant has no specific maturity stage, as cassava is deemed matured and ready to harvest once the roots become large and meets the consumers’ requirements. In the tropical regions of the

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