Hoang Kim, Nguyen Van Ngai, Reinhardt Howeler and Hernan Ceballos
Cassava in Vietnam is among the four most important food crops. But it has always been considered a secondary crop even though it has played an important role in national food security, especially during the difficulty year of the late 1970s. During the past two decades of economic renovation, Vietnam has successfully escaped lingering food deficiency. Cassava now an important source of cash income to small farmers, who either use it for animal feeding or for sale to starch factories. In 2006, cassava fresh root production in Vietnam was about 7.71 million tones, up from only 1.99 million tones in 2000. This was achieved through both area expansion, from 237,600 ha in 2000 to 475,000 ha in 2006 and marked increases in yield, from 8.36 t/ha in 2000 to 16.25 t/ha in 2006. While eighteen years ago there were no medium- or large-scale cassava starch factories in Vietnam, there are now 60 cassava processing factories in operation with a total processing capacity of 3.2 - 4.8 million tones of fresh roots/year. Total cassava starch production in Vietnam was about 800,000- 1,200,000 tones, of which 70% was exported and 30% used domestically. Vietnam has developed an E10 policy requiring the production of 100 to 150 million liters per year. The Petroleum services and tourism company and Japan’s Itochu Co-operation has signed an MOU to set up a joint venture to build a 100 million liters per year fuel ethanol refinery valued at $100 million using cassava chips as raw material. Vietnam is now probably the second largest exporter of cassava products, after Thailand with 4.46 and about 0.81 million tones of cassava products exported, respectively. Major markets of Vietnam’s cassava exports are the P.R. of China and Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and countries in Eastern Europe. Besides, animal feed factories also contributed significantly to the increasing demand for cassava roots. Although in Vietnam cassava processing is a relatively new business and export volumes are still low, the cassava processing factories are new and modern. That is why Vietnam’s cassava products may have a competitive advantage in the world market.
Key words: Cassava in Vietnam, Bio-fuel
Cassava ranks as the world’s fifth most important foot crop- after maize, rice, wheat and potato (Table 1). Cassava originated in South America and expended wildly to Asia, Africa and being cultivated in 101 countries in a range from 39oN to 30oS. This crop is a staple food crop for many poor farm families around the world. It is also a source of commercial animal feed, starch for the food, candy, alcohol, noodle and pharmaceutical industries.
Global production of cassava is around 226 million tons in year 2006 and about 54% of cassava in the world was produced in Africa, 30% in Asia, and only 16% in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
Cassava production in Asia increased at a high rate of 3% annually during the late 70s and early 80s, slowed down during the 90s, and has been growing quite rapidly again at 3.3% per year during the past ten years (Reinhardt Howeler and Keith Fahrne, 2008).
Cassava has one of the highest rates of CO2 fixation and sucrose synthesis for any C3 plant. This plant being used as a suitable feedstock for ethanol production across Asia. The starch-rich root crop is currently utilized in China and Thailand on an industrial scale.
Thailand recently launched a program involving smallholders who will be growing cassava for ethanol, in a push to alleviate poverty by diversifying their crop portfolio and open new markets (Table 2).
In China, cassava is seen as an important crop to use for the production of bio - fuels. The semi-tropical Guangxi region offers an ideal mix of climate and soil conditions for growing cassava. Compared with corn or wheat, the cost of using cassava to generate a ton of ethanol is 300–500 RMB ($38–$63) less. Guangxi currently produces some 8 million tons of cassava annually, accounting for more than 60 percent of the national total. Continued improvements, such as the introduction of better cassava varieties and plantation techniques, are expected to increase unit production of the crop. Moreover, an additional 670,000 hectares of hillside wastelands in Guangxi are suitable for growing the crop, adding to the existing 270,000 hectares of plantations. The region will also be able to obtain a stable supply of cassava from neighboring producer countries, including Vietnam.
Cassava in Vietnam is among the four most important food crops (Table 3). But it has always been considered a secondary crop even though it has played an important role in national food security.
During the past two decades of economic renovation, Vietnam has successfully escaped lingering food deficiency. Cassava now an important source of cash income to small farmers, who either use it for animal feeding or for sale to starch factories.
Cassava is water- use efficient bio-energy crop to corn for enhancing livelihood opportunities of smallholder farmers in Vietnam. This paper cover in: 1) Current situation of cassava production in Vietnam; 2) Present situation of cassava consumption in whole country and a case study of market in the Central provinces. 3) Investment for cassava: opportunities and prospect, include of: lessons learned from the Vietnam Cassava Program; the potential of cassava as a bio - fuel feedstock for increasing demand of cassava; identify constraints to development and propose strategies to address them; implication for cassava research and development.