As you may already know Garri is extracted from cassava tubers which is very common in Africa. It is one of the most edible food Especially in the western part of Africa. I.e Nigeria, Ghana etc. Whether it was made manually or Mechanised, the processes involved in garri producing garri is extremely stressful and rough just like Palm Oil. It usually involves the washing and peeling of Cassava then crushing, fermentation, dewatering before frying. In this article my main Focus is on the fermentation of Garri process.

Usually the grated cassava is always pulpy and needs to be packed into the bags for fermentation. And the fermentation process takes approximately 2 days before the Cassava mash fermentation is through.

The process isn't funny because

Fermentation is an essential unit operation in fufu and garri (white) processing, through which the stored starch in the tubers is converted into ethanoic acids and other organic compounds (as the case may be); which is largely responsible for the sour characteristic taste and flovour of the final products.

Also readCASSAVA PEEL EXPLOITS CONTINUE: from Waste to Wealth

During this fermentation process, moderate heat or warm temperature play an important role, due to the nature of the microorganisms responsible for this fermentation. In an uncontrolled Processing environment, significant drop in the temperature of the environment often create complication during the processing and (which) equally affects the quality of the products.

Like in the case of garri Processing, difficulty experience in dewatering operation is very common among processors during the raining season. This is largely due to incomplete (or not enough) fermentation of the milled or grated wet pulp, despite the extended fermentation period. This is simply because the fermenting micro-organisms are not active (or not at their best) at this low temperature. The high residual starch within the pulp tends to encapsulate the water molecules and prevent them from being released during the pressing operations. And the longer stay of the wet pulp (without adequate fermentation taking place) will lead to decolouration of the pulp which will definitely impact negatively on the whiteness of the final product.

Below are few tips that have helped in surmounting this production hurdle in the past;

1: Choose cassava variety with low starch content. Local varieties like 'Oko 'yawo', 'Baba Nuru', Olowofela etc (names depend on environment) and some hybrid types like Baba 70, Hope, TMS 0758, TMS 0426, TMS 0326 etc are major sought after for garri especially at this challenging time. Please, do not attempt to make use of TME 419 for the production of garri especially during the raining season. It will create double wahala.

2: Pour about 3-4 handful of already fermented wet pulp (of about 5-6 days fermentation) into a bag of freshly milled pulp and mix thoroughly. The already fermented micro-organisms in the previously milled pulp will hasten the conditioning of the new environment and also increase the microbial load for the fermentation process to be accelerated.

3: Try as much as possible to create a warm environment at the location where the wet bags are arranged. Do not place the bags directly on bare floor, rather arrange them on planks. Cover the whole lot with polythene nylon (especially during the night) in order to create warmness and expose them to direct sunlight as much as possible during the day. It will be a great advantage if you have a separate room set aside for fermentation, where you can largely control the temperature by closing all the windows and doors. You can even burn charcoal in a coal pot at one corner of the room.

3: introduction of foreign matters like cassava leaves, 'iyeye' leaves, nails, iron, stones (ako okuta) etc into the milled pulp are common practices among cottage processors, which I believe are also working for them. And since many of these leaves are also edible, I do not see any reason to see these practices as harmful. Also, the degree of solubility of nails, iron or stone (the hard stone type) relatively comparable to what's obtainable while milling pepper with grinding stone or milling machine, which are not considered harmful (to a degree that may create concern).

Also read The Cassava Race Against 2024

Also, in fufu production, aside the low production yield being experienced during the wet season due to high water content of the cassava tubers, product decolouration and starch depletion are other common challenges experience by the processors during this time.

During the raining season, a fufu processor cannot compromise but go cassava tubers with starch content. TME 419 and some other high starch varieties (hybrid and local) are highly recommended.

Also in this process, the fermentation operations can be accelerated through the introduction of dripped water from the previously fermented and sieved fufu into the drums of freshly soaked cassava tuber). The high inoculum from the dripped water will assist in conditioning of the environment and increase microbial load, thus achieving adequate fermentation within an appropriate time.   

The high residual starch, which is responsible for characteristic drawing of fufu when cooked would be easily achieved because of the high starch varieties of cassava tuber chosen from the onset.

Whiteness is symbolic with a good quality fufu. Delayed (or elongated) fermentation tend to lead to decolouration. So, rather than engaging in unhealthy practices like bleaching with chlorine or Hypo, it is mostly adviseable to offer the fufu as it comes out, with an understanding with the customers that the facial look does not remove anything from the quality.

And if achieving the desired whiteness is very essential, I recommend you make use of Sodium Metabisulphite at 0.5%• It is one of the acceptable food additives. It works very well as bleaching agent for fufu. It is well used in food industries, so there is no cause for alarm.

Also read GARRI PROCESSING BUSINESS - Simplified Pricing and Distribution Structure

I have stated here, these tips base on my background as a Food Technologist, my experience as a cassava processor and my interactions with numerous other processors both at industrial and cottage levels.

Therefore, I welcome reasonable critics, additional inputs and opportunity to rub minds towards improving and perfecting our operational processes in this cassava Processing business.


The process involves in Garri Fermentation is no doubt a very stressful one and usually doesn't look healthy nonetheless garri farmers are doing a great job out there and if you happen to come across any garri processor or trader, try as much as you can to appreciate them because Garri is one of one the Common food that can sustain both the poor and the rich, it is affordable by everyone.
The poor needs and can easily access Garri likewise the rich, they can't do without Garri hence it is very important but the process like I said isn't.
I hope with this article you have been able to understand the importance of fermentation in garri production.

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