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This study aimed at quantifying the extent of genetic variability of softness in cassava germplasm across varied cooking times and root sections. It also examined the possibility of using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) for measurement of cassava root softness. Softness was evaluated using a penetrometer. This was done at 15, 30 and 45minutes cooking time, all across proximal, middle and distal root sections. These measurements were done on 57 accessions. For each sample, spectra were acquired using NIRS Benchtop (FOSS DS2500) on a composite of each root section of mashed fresh cassava sample. Modified Partial Least Squares regression (MPLS) was used for NIRS calibration development using WINISI software. Significant (P < 0.001) variability in softness was established. Cooking time significantly influenced softness and there were significant accession and root part interaction (P < 0.001). Wide variability and high heritability (H = 0.8) were found for softness at 30 minutes cooking time. Highest association was found with 30- and 45-minutes cooking time (r = 0.58). Strong association was observed between middle root section with distal (r = 0.74) and proximal (r = 0.73). NIRS softness calibration (R2c) were 0.445, 0.413 and 0.521 for 15-, 30-, and 45-minutes cooking time respectively. NIRS prediction (R2p) were 0.322, 0.192, and 0.390 for 15-, 30-, and 45-minutes cooking time respectively. These results suggest that 30 minutes cooking time and middle root section are optimum for softness phenotyping.