An agriculture expert, Mr Sunday Ido, has harped on the immense but untapped benefits of cassava leaves which can help to generate export income.
Ido spoke on the benefits of cassava and its leaves in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The expert said following a research on the nutritional value of the crop, its leaves were a major staple vegetable in most African and Asian countries.
He said that in South West Nigeria and Calabar, cassava leave is one of the major staple vegetables.
“Recently, I embarked on a research on the benefits of cassava leaves and found out that people are actually making a lot of money from it.
“I discovered that India, Asia and about 40 countries in Africa consume cassava leaves.
“Cassava leaves are very rich in vitamins and nutrients. Cassava leaves can be used for stews, sauces and soups when well prepared.
“People package Cassava leaves and export to countries that do not grow them.
“Currently, cassava leaves is selling for 43 dollars per kg on Amazon and Alibaba online stores and this is what we throw away in Nigeria.
“If we could tap into the benefits of cassava leaves, we can even generate export income from them,” the expert told NAN.
Ido said there were lot of benefits not tapped from cassava and its leaves just like palm trees, adding that every part of the cassava crop was useful and has great potential.
“We can get ethanol, starch as well as cyanide acid that can be got from cassava crops for industrial uses.
“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 protein found in the roots.
“Cassava leaves are low in calories for those who are watching their weight.
“Cassava leaves are rich in carbohydrates and fibre, these can shun constipation and promote the growth of probiotic bacteria and upgrade immunity. You can call it an immune booster.
“Cassava leaves contain good amount of vitamin C which is a wonderful antioxidant preventing cancer, strokes and cardiovascular diseases,” Ido said. (NAN)