The role of improved cassava cultivars in generating income for better farm management
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Kawano, Kazuo. 2001. The role of improved cassava cultivars in generating income for better farm management . In: Howeler, Reinhardt H.; Tan, Swee Lian (eds.). Cassava's potential in Asia in the 21st Century: Present situation and future research and development needs: Proceedings of the sixth Regional workshop, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Feb. 21-25, 2000 . Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), Cassava Office for Asia, Cali, CO. p. 5-15.
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Cassava has been changing its role from a traditional fresh human food to an efficient crop for animal feed and starch production. Nearly all cassava is grown by small farmers. Harvested roots are sold to animal feed or starch factories, or are used for on-farm feeding of pigs to be sold at the market. Thus, cassava is an important source of cash income to small farmers in many parts of Asia. International breeding efforts for higher root yield and starch content have been successful and the total area planted with the improved cultivars is now reaching one million ha in six countries in Asia. A substantial portion of economic gain generated by the improved cultivars is entering the household income of small farmers. However, cassava production often causes soil degradation when proper agronomic practices are not followed. Soil conservation is the prime issue in sustainable cassava production. While individual agronomic practices are important and indispensable components of soil management, a more fundamental requirement is to first upgrade the economic situation of farmers, in order to cut the vicious cycle of poverty and environmental mismanagement. Improved cassava cultivars is one of the most readily adoptable components for inducing better farm management by increasing feed or starch production leading to increased farm income.