NYAGATARE — A five- year old boy from Nyabitekeri cell, Tabagwe sector in Nyagatare District, died after eating cassava, local leaders said last week, adding that three other family members were in critical conditions.
Vedaste Tuyishishe, died at home, despite receiving first aid treatment.
According to his mother, Susan Mukakarega, the child developed health complications immediately after eating a piece of fresh cassava.
“We got the cassava from the sector market knowing it was edible but this is a surprise,” she said, adding that other three children who had shared the cassava with the deceased were being treated from home.
Mukakarega said that she could not afford to take her children to the health clinic.
“We are treating the rest using milk and we are sure others will be fine soon,” she said.
According to area residents, the sector provided these cassava cuttings assuring them that they were edible.
In an interview with an agronomist from the sector, tests will be conducted to prove whether the cassava was indeed poisonous.
Augustin Musoni, the Nyagatare’s representative for the National Agriculture Research Institute (ISAR), urged those supplying cassava cuttings to always explain properly the kind of varieties they have before supplying them.
“This incident could be a result of the supplier who mixed up different stems. They should always approach us for good stems,” he said.
According to officials from ISAR Nyagatare, there are two types of cassava; “bitter cassava” which has a high level of cyanide that requires soaking and then drying to allow the cyanide to disappear before it can be eaten, while “Sweet” cassava has lower levels of cyanide, and it can be peeled and cooked immediately.