Monday, July 2, 2007

Do you know about Cassava well?

Cassava (or Manioc) is well known food in Sri Lanka. It is a magnificent food item given by nature for poor people. Because to prepair cassava root for meal is very easy and do not need more ingredients except a spoon full of salt.
Most people think that cassava is not rich with nutrients. But it contains lot of starch & significant amounts of calcium (50 mg/100g), phosphorus (40 mg/100g) and vitamin C (25 mg/100g). The cassava roots do not contains protein, but cassava leaves contains protein.
Do you know that cassava can turn into ethanol which is a good alternative fuel for motor vehicles? Cassava based ethanol production researches have been conducted in various countries using pilot plant modules. It is proven that we can produce 185 - 200 lts of ethanol from 1 MT of cassava roots. The normal harvest of cassava is 29 MT root per hectare. So we can achieve a production of 5365 - 5800 ethanol from 1 hectare of manioc farm.
In Sri lanka we can see farmers suicide because of inability to sell their harvest. According to my humble knowledge turning cassava or some other starch based thing into ethanol is not a rocket sciences. We have fuel crisis, energy crisis & farmers burning financial problems to be solved. There are more alternatives for this kind of burning problems. We need only one thing to solve this problem. That is desire & kindness to help people. That is only factor that a scientist or an engineers driven to solve peoples problems.

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Sam said...

//That is desire & kindness to help people. That is only factor that a scientist or an engineers driven to solve peoples problems. //
Do not agree. I think that is the wrong Sri Lankan attitude for quite some times. There are established mechanisms in the society to help people base on kindness. Salvation Army, Red Cross, name few. Scientists are not. You have not seen a scientist in Salvation Army making cars or inventing condoms.

What we need is mechanism to convert inventions in to financial benefits. Ford didn’t make his car base on kindness; Marconi didn’t invent his radio base on kindness. But in Sri Lanka, we have attitude to look down upon “making money ” as “Danapathiyo (Bangawewa)”, but other hand Americans respect it as “American dream”.

If scientist or engineers helps people’s problem, people will pay good money for it. Money is the blood stream feed the society and connects each unit together. Not kindness. We Sri Lankan need to respect and value people (scientist, engineers, or manufactures) build good things, solve our problems (like Upali did) and make money out of it – lot of it.

We invest in you guys in universities as much as we can. We are a poor nation so we cannot afford as much as we wish on you guys. But the real problem is once you are out; there are no investors out there to invest on those projects. That is what we are lacking. Not kindness. If we have investors – if you willing to make money, I firmly believe you guys can convert Manioc in to fuel or anything you wish.

Manioc rocks!

Dilantha Thushara said...

Thank you for comment. I know most of engineers prefer money. But there are exeptions.