Sub-Saharan Africa is bordered to the north by Mauritania, Mali, the Niger, Chad and the Sudan and extends to the southern tip of the continent. Its livestock production systems remain largely traditional with over 90 percent reared on the extensive system of management depending largely on poor quality forage and occasional supplement from food wastes. Shortage of quality feed constitutes the major input limiting livestock productivity. The energy component of livestock feeds constitutes the largest proportion of compound rations for efficient productivity. Maize presently dominates the energy supply in such rations. With restricted importation due to huge foreign debts and currency devaluation in most African countries, its price has risen astronomically. With restricted fertilizer availability and increasing drought in many regions of Africa, local production of this commodity has dwindled and yield is becoming increasingly unpredictable. Many national cassava improvement programmes in Africa have released improved cassava varieties. Higher productivity is therefore expected from the improved varieties and production technologies. As a result, a surplus is anticipated that could lower the farm prices of cassava products.
The historical and current trend where cassava plays a minor role as an ingredient in livestock feed in Africa is therefore envisaged to change as it is a proven substitute for maize in livestock rations in the European Union and Latin America. The major future market for increased cassava production on the continent is as livestock feed as it offers tremendous potential as a cheap source of food energy for animals, provided it is well balanced with other nutrients. There is therefore a great deal of current interest in supplemental feeding of animals with cassava in Africa.
This monograph summarizes the nutritive value and toxicity of principal parts of the cassava plant. It also documents the livestock production and feeding patterns on the continent providing an analysis of existing data from micro sample surveys on cassava usage as livestock feed in selected African countries. The competitiveness of cassava as compared with cereals as well as linear programmed feed formulations of cassava plant-based rations is provided for different livestock and fish species. Strategies for expanding cassava beyond its traditional use as food and its transformation to an important livestock feed component in sub-Saharan Africa are recommended.