Information support systems for small--scale industries in Salem District: with special reference to tapioca processing industries.

Author:Thanuskodi, S.


Information is an indispensable source for decision-making at every level. It is a vital ingredient for the social development of a nation, especially developing countries like India. It is a well-accepted generalization that a country which is rich in information is rich in the social and economic spheres. Indian libraries have been slowly changing from the traditional and conventional status to a modern and sophisticated one. Modern techniques of information management have become indispensable in libraries.


Tapioca, also known as cassava (Manihot utillissima/Manihot esculenta Crantz), is a root crop. It is believed to have originated as a cultivated plant either in South Mexico and Central America or in northern South America (Regers, 1963; Renvoize,1972). It spread in cultivation to other tropical regions of the world. Cassava is widely grown, processed, and consumed in African countries, South America, and some parts of Asia, including India.

Tapioca is a storehouse of starch and energy and is ideal for processing into a large number of diverse value-added products. With India's population reaching around 1.5 billion by 2020, it is projected that there will be a net shortage of around 26 million metric tons of food grains. Tuber crops like tapioca can help bridge the gap in cereal production, by expanding the cultivation to non-traditional areas and realizing more yields from traditional/industrial belts.

In the global scenario of tapioca production, India ranks 13th in area, 7th in production, and 1st in productivity. Tapioca is cultivated in an area of 2.6 lakhs (260,000) hectares in India, with a total production of 6.06 million tons.

In Tamil Nadu, tapioca is being cultivated over an area of about 82,000 hectares, providing employment of thousands of workers. In Salem District alone, 34,000 hectares of land are under tapioca cultivation and there are about 1,500 units manufacturing Sago in and around Salem.

Tapioca is processed to be consumed in different forms and ways in different parts of the world. Tapioca starch is extracted and used as flour, cassava beets, fermented cassava beverages, alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic beverages, and a number of products are prepared from tapioca roots in various countries of the world.

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