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Cassava (tapioca) Starch and the Business Opportunities Therein

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Cameroon is a net importer of starch and its derivatives, as it does not have sufficient domestic production to meet demand. The country imports starch primarily from Europe and Asia. Nestlé Cameroon alone before 2014 imported between 1,500 to 1,800 tonnes per year of cassava starch costing around 300 million FCFA.


Cameroon's economy is mostly agricultural and has a strong potential in the production of root crops, cassava and potatoes, which are the main source of starch in Cameroon and most of Africa, but Cameroonian entrepreneurs have failed to exploit this opportunity to set-up tapioca starch production factories across the country.


Tapioca Production.


Starting a tapioca production operation involves several steps, including obtaining land, obtaining financing, purchasing necessary equipment and supplies, planting and cultivating the crop, harvesting and processing the root, and marketing and selling the final products.


Obtain land: The first step in starting a tapioca production operation is to obtain land suitable for growing the crop. This land should be in a tropical or subtropical region, have a suitable soil type, and have access to water and other resources.


Obtain financing: Starting a tapioca production operation can be expensive, so you may need to obtain financing to cover the costs of land, equipment, and supplies.


Purchase equipment and supplies: You will need to purchase or rent equipment and supplies such as plows, harvesters, and processors.


Plant and Cultivate: Once the land is prepared, the next step is to plant and cultivate the cassava. This includes planting the cassava, fertilizing it, and taking care of it throughout the growing season.


Harvest and Process: Once the cassava is mature, it needs to be harvested and processed to extract the starch. This process may include washing, grating, and squeezing the roots to remove the starch.

Market and sell: Finally, you will need to market and sell your final products. This can include connecting with local markets or exporting your product to other countries.


Costs Involved in Tapioca Production in Cameroon.


The costs involved in tapioca production in Cameroon can vary depending on factors such as the size of the operation, the type of equipment and supplies used, and the local market conditions. Some of the key costs that may be involved in tapioca production in Cameroon include:


Land: The cost of land suitable for growing tapioca can vary depending on location and other factors.


Equipment and supplies: Equipment and supplies such as plows, harvesters, and processors may be necessary to start a tapioca production operation. These costs can vary depending on the type and quality of the equipment and supplies.


Labor: The cost of labor may also be a significant expense in tapioca production. This includes the cost of hiring workers to plant, cultivate, and harvest the crop, as well as the cost of processing the roots.


Fertilizers and pesticides: The cost of fertilizers and pesticides may be required to maintain a healthy crop and to protect it from pests and diseases.


Transportation: The cost of transportation may also be a significant expense, as the tapioca needs to be transported from the farm to the processing plant and from the processing plant to the market.

Marketing and sales: The cost of marketing and sales, including packaging and labelling, also need to be considered.


The production process of tapioca starch typically involves the following steps:

Harvesting: The first step in the production process is to harvest the cassava roots. This is typically done by hand using a hoe or a knife to dig up the roots.


Peeling: Once the roots are harvested, they are peeled to remove the skin and any other impurities. This can be done manually or using machines.


Washing: The peeled roots are then washed to remove any remaining dirt or impurities.

Grating: The washed roots are then grated using a machine called a grater. This breaks down the roots and releases the starch.


Pressing: The grated roots are then pressed to remove as much water as possible. This can be done manually or using machines.


Centrifuging: The pressed roots are then put through a centrifuge to separate the starch from the fibers and other impurities.


Drying: The starch is then dried to remove any remaining moisture. This can be done using a dryer or by spreading the starch out in the sun to dry.


Sieving: Finally, the dried starch is sieved to remove any remaining impurities and to produce a fine powder. The sieved starch is now ready to be packaged and shipped to customers.


Here are some video tips on production.



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