Nutritional Value of Cassava Leaves
How can somebody be seated on gold mine but remain poor? When working in agriculture, you cannot shun yourself from this type of questions. I work with cassava growers in the South West Region of Cameroon and I observed a common practice that left my mouth open from surprise: the growers simply throw away the cassava leaves and peels in the farms to rotten after harvest. What this means is that, in the nutshell, only approximately 45% of the value of the entire “cassava gold mine” is used and the rest is wasted.
This article focuses on the nutritional aspects of Cassava leaves.
Cassava leave is a very appreciated and cheap vegetable consumed in many countries in the world. It is a strategic food recipe in nearly all countries in the Central African sub region (Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, DR Congo, the Congo Republic, Cameroon, RCA, Sao Tome and Principles).
Cassava leaves are called Pkwem in Cameroon, Sacka-sacka in DRC, Pundu in the Congo Republic and Ngundja in RCA.
Dried, these leave nowadays constitute a huge source of export earnings. They are highly appreciated by the African, South American and Asian diaspora.
Rich in Many Vitamins and Nutrients
Why is it considered a waste to through away cassava leaves? Here are some reasons and facts about cassava leaves you may not know about:
- Cassava leaves are high in proteins. Cassava leaves contain different types of proteins compared to eggs and soybeans. It is made of lots of Arginine, Lysine, Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine. Cassava leaves contain up to 10 times the amount of proteins found in the roots.
- Cassava leaves are low in calories for those who are watching their weight.
- Rich in carbohydrates and fiber these can shun constipation and promote the growth of probiotic bacteria and upgrade immunity.
- Contains good amount of vitamin C which is a wonderful antioxidant preventing cancer, strokes and cardiovascular diseases.
- Contains Vitamin B. If you are in need of good mood, vitality and metabolism, consumption of cassava leaves provides Vitamin B; with its Beta Carotene antioxidant, it prevents and repairs DNA damages.
In that magical leave are also found Potassium for water regulation and cardiovascular health, phosphorus and calcium for strong bones, iron and copper to fight anemia, zinc for a strong immune system, and magnesium and manganese for strong bones and enzyme production.
A word of caution…
Cassava leaves contain a relatively high level of cyanic acid thus the need to adequately boil prior to consumption. It is advisable to seek coaching before preparing your first dish from Cassava leaves. Talking about opportunity, there lays another one, to train Southwest farmers on the cooking, processing and exportation of Cassava leaves.
Do you need information on how to prepare Cassava leaves for export or do you need help with preparing Groundnut Pkwem, Saltless Pkwem or Eru Pkwem?
Do not hesitate to contact Dr. Stephenie Mvodo or send us an inquiry.
Dr. Stephanie Mvodo is a university lecturer, researcher, reviewer, agribusiness consultant and public speaker. She is very thrilled about topics relating to agriculture and rural development. Her focus is on post-harvest activities among which, marketing and entrepreneurship. She is mostly concerned about development of agricultural sector via development of supply as well as distribution channels.