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Tapioca (Kappa) came to Kerala 140 years ago.

During 1880's, during the reign of Visakham Thirunal, Travancore faced a huge famine. Visakham Thirunal brought some stalks of tapioca from South East Asia and started it's cultivation. 1/n
Tapioca was introduced as an alternate to rice, to which people didn't take well initially.

As time passed, tapioca cultivation increased in Travancore and it became the staple food of the poor. (Poor man's food)
How the cultivation spread?

The Maharaja planted Tapioca in five acres of land that belonged to the Royal Family & had the area fenced and then issued a Royal decree

Within a week of issuing this decree, not a single piece of tapioca remained in the Sreepadam land. (Folk tale?)
By 1920's, Tapioca cultivation even reached Northern Malabar but the poor man's food tag still was associated with it.

All changed in the 1940's when a huge famine hit Kerala tapioca that played a key role in saving Kerala from famine and hunger.
The name 'Kappa' is believed to have originated from the word 'Kappal' (ship) since it came to Kerala through ship. (Kappa kizhangu)

Other names of Tapioca are 'Kolli kizhangu', 'Maracheeni', 'Cheeni', 'Poola kizhangu', 'Marakizhangu' etc.
The book 'Migration and Economic Development of Kerala' By KV Joseph also says that Tapioca remained exempt from taxes in Travancore and its cultivation & consumption became widespread among the peasantry. (Page 76)
Tapioca has a special place in Kerala Cuisine today and it is a delicacy of every Malayali.

In historical terms, Tapioca conquered Kerala within 50 years of its arrival. A perfect invasion.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu dominate cassava (Tapioca) production in India.

Though Kerala ranks first in the extent of cultivation, Tamil Nadu stands first in respect of total production.
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