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Sunday, November 8, 2009


Tapioca tree at peat soil in Kg Gunung Sari, Gersik, Muar, Johor.

CASSAVA (Manihot esculenta) or Tapioca also called 'Ubi Kayu' in Local Malay is a tropical root or tuber crop under family Euphorbiaceae was grown on Mineral or Peat soil especially in Johore for fresh consumption or processed for tapioca flour by commercial factory. Department of Agriculture recorded about 2,396 hectare of tapioca grown in Malaysia in 2007 producing about 38,711 metric tonnes valued at RM 37.5 million. Estimated area of cassava planting area in 2011 about 2,444 hectare with potential yield of 41,045 metric ton. State of Johore has the largest tapioca growing area for about 875 hectare in Malaysia and produced 19,506 metric tonnes (83% of Malaysia production) in 2005. Other states growing tapioca are Selangor (173 ha), Perak (89 ha) and Kelantan (23 ha). District Johor Bahru and Kota Tinggi and Kluang was the area planted with tapioca in Johore. This article explain on my experience in cassava planting technology in Johore during my tenure at Johor Agriculture Office in 2006 and able to visits various cassava farms. 

Variety Sri Pontian on peat soil.
Talk about tapioca root are long and tapered. The stems has inter-nodes and its leaves are pinnate and having between 5-7 arms. It has a semi-hardwood stems with 3-7 diameters and able to reach 5 meters height. Tapioca roots are very rich in STARCH. Its also contains about 50 mg/100gm of significant Calcium, Phosphorus (40 mg/100 gm) and a lot of vitamin C. However tapioca is poor in protein and other nutrient. Tapioca is an important source for food , bio-fuel, animal feed, chemicals and many other purpose.

There is a lot of tapioca variety known in Malaysia and some of the variety are poisonous (not edible eg. Ubi Gajah) whilst other are edible. Local people use tubers and leaf as source of food.The young leaves collected and cooked with salts and ready to consume as salad.  Recently DOA and MARDI release new variety of Local Tapioca namely variety Ubi Sri Pontian. This new variety has a special research done for the purpose to make KEREPEK UBI (Tapioca Chips) . Other variety as comparison is Ubi Putih (White variety), Ubi Kuning (Yellow Variety) and Ubi Medan (Medan variety) grown on IPRS Agriculture station. Result shows than variety Sri Pontian is the best variety for tapioca chip production which produced 36.5 mt/ha. This variety are popular among local farmers due to the availability of planting material and stable market demand.

In Agronomy Management system tapioca are grown in 1 meter x 1 meter planting distance and harvested after 10 months after planting.The yield harvested shows that Sri Pontian produced 36.5 mt/ha, Yellow variety (29.3 mt/ha), White variety (26.0 mt/ha) and Medan variety only 23.6 mt/ha. The management system is important for expectation of yield production. Starch content claimed to be highest in Sri Pontian Varieties with 26.4% and cryogenic content also highest about 221 ug/g.

The tapioca chip from Sri Pontian (see photo next) received 65% acceptance in Sensory Test by professional compare to other three variety. The chip was confirmed as crispy, attractive golden yellowish color, acceptable size and tasty. Tapioca chip in in Sensory Test Program must examine the Original Flavor, Pepper Flavor, Hot Chili Flavor and Curry Flavour. This new Sri Pontian new variety tapioca are the latest crop that local farmers crazy to grows nowadays. The cutting or known as the planting material was supplied by DOA and Commercial Growers at RM 0.60 to RM 1.00 per cuttings.

Recently many companies interested in the planting of cassava. This crop need less maintenance and the attack of pests and diseased, plant disease and ready for harvest 10-12 months after planting. Cassava are also processed for 'TAPAI UBI' after fermentation process. Tapai Ubi is a sweet up to 15 brix reading when completely fermented and packed for commercial production. Tapai Ubi SUBUH among popular tapai in Johor Bahru region priced at reasonable from RM 2.00 - RM 3.00 per unit.  

Related articles :
1. Ubi Kemili (Klik disini)
2. Keladi Mawar (Klik disini)
3. Keladi (Klik disini)
4. Kentang (Klik disini)
5. Keledek (klik disini)
6. Asparsgus (Klik disini)

M Anem
DOA Muar

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