Cassava is grown in many tropical countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Most statistics do not usually distinguish between sweet and bitter varieties; in some, sweet varieties are not included as they are commonly grown as a secondary crop for home consumption. The world production of cassava roots in 1973 (excluding China). Brazil is the largest producer, but most of the crop is consumed locally and exports are only a small portion of the total output. The same pattern applies to other important producers, such as Nigeria, Indonesia, Zaire, India and Colombia. Cassava does not form an important part of the staple diet in Thailand, and that country is now the world's largest exporter of cassava products. In the last few years most of the important producers have greatly increased their production.
Surplus production of cassava products enters international trade in different forms, such as chips, broken dried roots, meal, flour and tapioca starch. Dried cassava roots and meal are used as raw material for compound animal feed, while cassava starch is used for industrial purposes; grocery tapioca is used solely for human consumption.
The principal markets for cassava products are in Europe - the European Economic Community being the most important for dried roots - and for cassava starch the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. Although complete statistics of world trade in cassava products are not available, thus making it difficult to estimate the total quantity entering international trade, the import statistics of the EEC and the United States show a substantial increase in recent years, particularly for dried cassava roots.
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