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Tools and guides

Drying root crops

How to make flour from root crops such as cassava

2005 Available in English, French and Portuguese

Pillars magazines on a desk

From: Pillars guides

Practical, discussion-based learning on community development for small groups

  • Root crops can also be stored by drying them. Peel and cut into small pieces and dry, preferably in a solar drier.
  • Roots can first be stored in clamps and then dried whenever there is time available.
  • Sometimes dried roots can be ground into flour. Cassava makes good flour but other root crops can also be used. Cassava should be grated and washed before drying to remove the cyanide content.


  • How much time would be involved in drying root crops? Would the time spent be worthwhile since flour makes food preparation very quick?
  • What kinds of root flour have participants eaten? Would it be easy to sell such flour in local markets?
  • It is important to use varieties of cassava which have a lower cyanide content for drying. These varieties are often called ‘sweet’ varieties to distinguish them from ‘bitter’ varieties which are high in cyanide and better processed in other ways. What names do people give to different types of cassava in your area?
  • How time consuming are some of these processes? Are there machines available locally which could be considered? Could the cost of purchase be covered by the sale of produce or by letting others pay to use them?
Illustration of two women working together to dry root crops

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