Tapioca shows the way here

Delicious root

Tapioca shows the way here

Of late, residents of Shidlaghatta have taken a strong liking for tapioca, root of the plant species Manihot esculenta. People have started growing tapioca in their kitchen garden, backyard and on the road side.

Tapioca grown next to the cocoon market in Shidlaghatta is a best example of the interest evinced by the people of Shidlaghatta towards tapioca cultivation.

The species, native to the Amazon, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Venezuela is now cultivated worldwide and has many names, including cassava, bitter-cassava, manioc, "mandioca," "Sagudana" (literally, Sagu drops)--with local variation of "Sabudana"--and "kappa".

Apart from Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka tapioca cannot be grown in other parts of the country. Rotis, pappads, chips and various other preparations can be made using tapioca.

“Ten years ago I had bought tapioca from Kerala and planted it here in Shidlaghatta.

Once in every six months we pluck tapioca. Apart from using it for preparing rotis ans other food preparations at home, we also use it at the hotel,” said Krishna, who owns Ramya Darshan Hotel near the cocoon market.

Several customers who have tasted delicacies prepared of tapioca have expressed their appreciation, he added.

One need to only plant a piece of the root to get abundant tapioca crop. Tapioca was earlier grown on bunds in the fields to contain soil erosion, said Krishna.

“Our farmers in addition to using tapioca as food should also cultivate it as a commercial crop,” he suggested.

Moreover, tapioca is not a water intensive crop. Each tapioca plant yields 10 to 15 tapioca. Also, it is used in the preparing starch and sago (sabakki). The leaves of tapioca can be used as fodder for cattle, explained Gopla Gowda, a farmer of Hittalahalli.

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