Cassava - Tapioca
Cassava is extensively cultivted as an annual crop in tropical and sub tropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates providing a basic diet for over half a million people. Nutritionally, cassava is similar to rice and corn.
Cassava is the Philippines third largest source of carbohydrates and cassava cake is one of the most popular and enjoyable homemade delicacies.
The starch produced from cassava is called tapioca. Tapioca starch is free from gluten as well as protein. Tapioca starch is processed into several forms; powder, meal, pre-cooked fine/ coarse flakes, rectangular sticks and spherical pearls. Pearls are the most widely available shape.
Cassava granules/pellets are used for animal feed, liquor production and the production of ethanol. Tapioca starch is used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Its uses are so diverse that it can be found in almost all kinds of industries ranging from the production of paper, textiles, biodegradable bags replacing plastic bags, glues to human and animal foods.
The Philippine Root Crop Research and Training Center, Philippines leading research centre on root crops including cassava crops, is located in Baybay, Leyte.
No large scale commercial cassava drying and milling facility exists in Tacloban or anywhere in the Leyte province.