The Dominance and Potential of Cassava Markets: Understanding Production, Trade, and Ethanol Prospects

Nigeria stands out as the largest player in the global cassava market, contributing to 18% of the world’s production. Other significant producers include Vietnam, Brazil (emerging), Indonesia, Thailand, Congo, and Mozambique (emerging).

Merely 2% of the world’s cassava is traded, mostly in the form of dried chips or pellets. The primary utilization of cassava is for food (53%), followed by feed and seed use (24%), while 22% serves various industrial purposes.

There’s potential for utilizing the industrial cassava volumes for ethanol production in the future, thus averting competition with food sources. Countries with substantial cassava growth potential, such as Vietnam, Benin, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Thailand, already exhibit industrial uses of cassava. Initiatives for cassava ethanol production have been identified in these countries.

Current cassava ethanol production hovers around 100 kton globally. In the short term, this could surge to 2000 kton with large-scale facilities in Vietnam, Thailand, and China, and Nigeria’s ambitious plans.

The global cassava market and production landscape in various countries are detailed below:


  • In 2005, world cassava production totaled 208 million tons, with consistent growth of 4 to 6% since the late 1990s.
  • Nigeria leads with 18% of global production (42 million tons), followed by Brazil (26 million tons) and Indonesia.
  • Cassava production has surged in Vietnam, Nigeria, Brazil, and Mozambique but declined in Thailand and China.

Import and Export:

  • Approximately 2% of world cassava is traded, with major exporting countries being Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
  • China is the largest importer (3.3 million tons in 2005), followed by the Netherlands.


  • Worldwide, 53% of cassava is used for food, 24% for feed, and 22% for other purposes, including industrial uses like paper, cardboard, textiles, and ethanol production.

Ethanol Production:

  • Current cassava ethanol production is around 100 kton, with potential short-term growth to 2000 kton.
  • Prominent ethanol production initiatives are identified in Nigeria, China, Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, Mozambique, and Thailand.

Potential Cassava Ethanol Production:

  • Considering the share of cassava used for industrial purposes, a total of 6.6 million tons of ethanol could be produced annually, contributing 16% to global fuel ethanol production.
  • Nigeria and Indonesia show significant potential, with Thailand having a smaller capacity due to extensive cassava chip exports.

Understanding the dynamics of cassava markets, production, and the emerging ethanol sector is vital for shaping sustainable strategies and ensuring efficient resource utilization.

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