Cassava is among the four most important food crops in Vietnam. It has always been considered a secondary crop even though it has played an important role in national food security. Vietnam is among the 10 largest cassava producers in the world. Although representing around 3.6% of total world's cassava production, Vietnam is the second largest exporting country of cassava products after Thailand. Cassava is grown all over the country, from the North to the South with total planting area of 559.8million ha (in 2011). Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has planned to maintain the cassava area, and efforts are being made to increase the fresh root yields from 17tonnes/ha in 2009 to 23-24 tonnes/ha in 2015 by using new technologies, especially in breeding. Due to the different climate conditions, cassava season, and thus harvesting time, is different from region to region.
According to the final report on the Vietnam's cassava situation in 2011 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, total cassava production of Vietnam is 9.87 million tonnes, grown on 559,800 ha.
Our partner in Vietnam is the School of Biotechnology and Food Technology of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology.
Being part of this world, I have experienced the devastating impact of discarded waste generated from various industrial and agricultural processes when this waste actually has a high potential to be recycled and converted into high value products.
As a food scientist, reducing postharvest losses is a continuous challenge, so it is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the Gratitude project whose goal is to address this issue.
I am honoured to be part of this project, it has given me the confidence to communicate to individuals that instead of disposing and burning cassava peels, farmers can grow mushrooms, a highly nutritious fungus that has the potential to contribute to solving the problem of protein malnutrition, unemployment and food insecurity.
Inputs from experienced researchers also involved in the Gratitude project have guided my research in extending the shelf life of mushrooms grown on cassava peels to 24 days; 22 days longer than the usual 2 day period.
Through the project I have had the opportunity to see the commercial production of mushrooms using cassava and yam wastes as substrates, as a great means of income generation. I am now planning to attend intensive training on mushroom production in order to start my own mushroom farm.
Preparing the substrate
Mushrooms are grown from a growth material called 'substrate'. To create the substrate, cassava or yam peels are dried and then milled. Water, lime and rice bran, are added, and the substrate is mixed and heaped into a pile on the ground. It is then left to ferment for 28 days. The compost needs to be turned every 4 days for proper aeration and uniform composting.
Nguyen Tien Hung is a cassava flour producer in the Long Bien District of North Hanoi, Vietnam. 20 years ago, as the economy in Vietnam collapsed in a post-war crackdown on remnants of capitalism in the South of the country; Tien Hung was struggling to earn a living working for a public company. He saw an opportunity in producing cassava flour, realising there was a ready market with ready buyers, and he hasn't looked back since.Read more ...