Berkeley International is a specialist in sourcing products worldwide.
Our Team for tapioca products from Thailand is John Eyton


Cassava or Tapioca has many names across many continents. The English word is cassava, but in South American in the area around Brazil it is called madioca. In Africa where French is spoken it is called manioc. In Spanish-speaking countries it is called yuca. Here in Asia we call it tapioca.

The origins of cassava are many, but the principle origin is in the tropical areas of the American continents, especially in South America. The countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Honduras planted cassava three to five thousand years before the plant was distributed across the Americas and elsewhere. In the 15th century, slave traders and the Portuguese brought cassava to the African continent.


It is originated from South America, in countries such as Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil.  It was grown in these countries for  3,000 to 7,000 years, and later spread to other parts of the world.  The Portugese and the Spanish took tapioca from Mexico to the Philippines in the 17th century and the Dutch introduced it to Indonesia in the 18th century.

There is no clear evidence of when cassava was introduced into Thailand, but it is assumed that it was brought from Malaysia around 1786. Originally Thais called it “man mai” or “man samrong”. In the Northeast it was called “man ton tia”. In the South it was called “man thet”. Presently, it is called “man samphalang”, which is similar to the Javanese word for cassava, “sampeu”.


There are two types of cassava in Thailand and elsewhere in the world.

The first is sweet cassava, which is used for human consumption. This type has tough or tender flesh, and is not bitter. It also has low hydro cyanic acid content. This cassava type is planted all over the world at large scale. In Thailand it is normally planted for household consumption than for commercial, since the market is small

The second type is bitter cassava with high hydro cyanic acid content. This is not suitable for human consumption or animal feed. It is suitable for the processing into products, such as tapioca pellets, tapioca starch, and alcohol. There is a lot of this type of cassava planted in Thailand.

Cassava is currently planted in approximately seven million rais of land in 48 provinces in Thailand, which produce over 20 million tons of cassava roots. Fifty percent of this is used as raw material for the production of tapioca starch.


Composition of Tapioca Roots
Tapioca  accumulates food in its roots. After growing leaves and other green parts, it starts to produce carbohydrate. The ability to produce and accumulate starch depends on the variety, the age at which it is harvested, the amount of rainfall and other factors. For tapioca with the age of 12 months and sufficient amount of rainfall, the composition is as follows
Composition of tapioca root. Amount per 100 gram
   Water 60.21-75.32
   Peel 4.08-14.08
   Flesh (Starch) 25.87-41.88
   Cyanide (ppm) 2.85-39.27
Composition of  tapioca flesh Amount per 100 gram of dried weight
   Starch 71.9-85.0
   Protein 1.57-5.78
   Fiber 1.77-3.98
   Residue 1.20-2.80
   Fat 0.06-0.43
   Non-Starch carbohydrate 3.59-8.66
We can see that the composition of tapioca root  is , apart from water, mainly starch. Therefore, tapioca is a source of carbohydrate, so important to man and animals. Usually, tapioca root with low starch content will have a high density. For a rapid test of starch content, if the tapioca root placed in the water is light , the starch content is low.  On the other hand, if the weight of the root in the water is heavier , then the starch content will be high.
Every part of tapioca can be used from young leaves to roots.  It can be consumed as food by humans and animals.  It can be processed into a variety of products  for human and animal consumption.  It can be converted into modified starch for further downstream industries.  Thus use of tapioca falls into three main categories :  direct consumption, processed products (tapioca chips, tapioca pellets and flour) and processed flour products (modified starch)
Cassava is currently planted in approximately  48 provinces in Thailand, which produce over 20 million tons of cassava roots. Fifty percent of this is used as raw material for the production of tapioca starch.
TAPIOCA STARCH - link to production processes

Tapioca starch is a major by product of tapioca. It is used in many products


Tapioca chips are processed from raw tapioca roots into dry chip form. For application of the animal feed industry, the chips are normally pelletized into tapioca pellets or ground into tapioca meals for mixing with other feed ingredients. However, tapioca chips are also used widely in China, Brazil as well as Korea in the making of alcohol as a substitute to molasses and sweet potato. 
Tapioca Pellet is mainly for animal feed industry.

In pellet form, it will facilitate the transportation and decrease the dusty atmosphere during the transportation. 


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