Decentralized production process

Read about our unique decentralized cassava processing technology.



Dadtco Business concept

The DADTCO business concept comprises of a number of autonomous mobile cassava processing units, named AMPU’s, together with a centralized drying and refinery plant. The DADTCO patented split-processing technology for cassava.

DADTCO has developed a unique and revolutionary “split processing” technology for cassava roots, bringing processing closer to the cassava growers and thereby reducing the need and cost for farmers to transport the easily perishable tubers over long distances. This new mobile processing technology, called the AMPU (Autonomous Mobile Processing Unit), is based on proprietary knowledge of cassava cropping systems.
The mobile concept essentially overcomes the three main obstacles to the commercialisation of cassava across Africa:

•    its high water content (65%- 75%);
•    the rapid perishability of the roots once harvested (must be used within 48 hours, preferably 24); and
•    its bulky and irregular shape; .

Coupled with the wide scattering of smallholder farmers, these factors together contribute to the combined barriers of high transportation costs and challenging logistics, in effect making the crop uneconomic for commercial exploitation.

The AMPU is fully mobile and is easily moved from location to location on the back of its own container chassis trailer, moving within the farmer’s mobility range of about 20-30 km. The AMPU, will normally remain in one location for 3-4 months, processing the harvested cassava delivered to the AMPU by the smallholder farmers in that vicinity and overseeing the planting of the new crop, only to return to that same location the following year to repeat the cycle (cassava does not have a season i.e. can be planted and harvested all year round, but has a cycle which is typically 12-14 months).

The centralised processing concept, common in Thailand, Europe and Latin America for starch processing, has been a proven failure in Africa due to high transportation costs (the cassava growing areas not concentrated enough as, for example, in Thailand) and the cost of disposing of the waste effluent (large quantities of “fruit water”). A large number of processing plants in Africa based on this concept are today standing idle (e.g. Ayensu Starch Plant in Ghana, Nigerian Starch Mills and Casquip in Swaziland). These central plants are facing huge problems with the treatment of effluent which is very costly. By decentralizing the process as DADTCO is doing with its AMPU’s there is no accumulation of waste water. The water used by the AMPU during processing is returned to the land surrounding the AMPU in a period of 3 to 4 months through the use of sprinklers. 

Production capacity

The AMPU processes the fresh cassava roots (< 24 hours after harvesting) into HQCC, an intermediate product of dough-like consistency that has a proven shelf life under normal ambient conditions of over 12 months. The HQCC, highly compact and therefore easily transportable by truck to a central location, can either be used directly (e.g. in beer brewing or as a partial wheat dough substitute in bread-making), or is processed further in a centrally located dryer plant or a refinery that produce HQCF or HQCS (native starch) respectively.

The instantaneous throughput through the AMPU is 4-5 MT per hour cassava roots, but the annual capacity depends on daily operating hours and shift configurations.  At maximum, one AMPU can process up to 100 MT of roots per day (on the basis of 5 MT per hour of roots on 3 x 8 hour shifts totaling 20 hours per day net production time on 300 working days per year). This assumes that the quantity of roots harvested during the day are sufficient to feed the unit during the hours of darkness, and translates into an annual roots processing capacity of 30 000 MT pa, in turn producing close on 16 500 MT pa of HQCC