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Cassava Considerably Resilient to Climate Change

A team of scientists is rooting for more research on cassava, a perennial woody shrub, which is cultivated mainly for its edible roots. Cassava, also known as yuca and manioc, is considered a staple food for more than a billion people in more than 100 countries. It has the potential to withstand climate change while providing bigger yields. As a result, scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are raising the question why genetic research of cassava has been neglected.

In their review, the scientists point out that cassava is the most important source of calories for many of the poorest people on the planet, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, the average yield of cassava in Africa has not increased significantly since 1961, yet Africa's current population of 1.2 billion is expected to reach 5.6 billion by 2100.

Cassava is typically cultivated by families for their own consumption on small plots of land. In addition to the roots, the plant's leaves are also eaten in at least 60 percent of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing an important source of proteins, vitamins and micronutrients. Cassava leaves are also used as a protein supplement for livestock.

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

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