Both soils and climate in Mozambique suit cassava cultivation and nine million tons fresh weight is produced annually, with a consumption of 85 kg per person per year. The roots are a staple carbohydrate and cooked leaves are served as a vegetable. Cassava is essential to food security, as it is a subsistence crop. Roots and leaves contain vitamin C and some minerals but are deficient in proteins and amino-acids. Although cassava is cultivated by about 63% of the population, cyanogenic glycosides and other anti-nutritional factors, threaten food safety. There are more than 100 varieties, but the more drought and insect resistant bitter types predominate. Traditional products made from cassava that rely on sun-drying, cooking or fermentation to reduce toxicity include “rale”, “xinguinha”, “karakata” “mahewu” and “oteka”. Cassava flour has replaced up to 20% of wheat flour in bread, for economic reasons. An overview of the distribution, consumption patterns and nutritional value of cassava in Mozambique could contribute to knowledge, as much of the existing data has not been published. Food safety and nutritional value could be improved by commercializing the production of traditional products or fortifying the affordable staple carbohydrate. This could improve the health of vulnerable rural populations.
Key words: Cassava production, cassava consumption, food security, traditional foods, cyanogenic glycosides, Mozambique.
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