DADTCO developed a patented innovative mobile processing technology that has changed dramatically the way cassava is perceived, grown and processed in Africa. We process fresh cassava on-farm or nearby, instead of transporting the perishable roots over long distances to a central factory. The mobile concept essentially overcomes three main obstacles to the commercialization of cassava across Africa:
• the high water content of the roots (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. DADTCO’s innovation overcomes these three barriers by reducing the water content of the roots within 24 hours after harvesting after which the product is bagged and ready for transport.
This innovative technology consists of three mobile processing components:
- Autonomous Mobile Processing Unit or AMPU. The AMPU processes cassava roots into a type of paste/slurry and releases 98% of the starch granules into released starch.
- Mobile Refinery Unit or MRU. The MRU takes out 70% of the fibers in the cake/slurry.
- Mobile Drying Unit or MDU. The MDU dries the cassava starch cake into food grade cassava starch flour.
DADTCO has developed two scenarios in which to use the different units:
Scenario 1: A split processing solution
In scenario 1 the cassava roots are processed in situ in the cassava growing areas within 24 hours into a stable and easily transportable* intermediate product with a long shelf-life. This intermediate product is called cassava starch cake, a semi wet cassava paste. The cake is produced by the AMPU and refined in the MRU. The cassava starch cake is then transported either to DADTCO’s central flash dryer or an existing cassava starch plant for further refining into starch, or a brewery that uses the cake to replace part of the malted barley. In all cases the final product is centrally produced close to a large town with the necessary amenities.
* It avoids the need for costly transportation of the perishable cassava roots over long distances
DADTCO’s flash dryers have a capacity of 30,000 MT cassava starch flour per annum.
Scenario 2: A fully mobile solution
In scenario 2 the cassava roots are processed in situ in the cassava growing areas within 24 hours into a final product; cassava starch flour. In addition to the AMPU and MRU in the split processing scenario, DADTCO has added a mobile drying unit (MDU) to produce food grade cassava starch flour on site.
At full output this production unit will produce about 10,000 MT per annum cassava starch flour (3 shifts). The mobile plant will move three times per year to different cassava growing areas, to return each year back again from where it started.