Cassava farming is one of the most lucrative farming in the world. It is not only profitable for consumption but also a major export product globally.
Cassava is a woody perennial shrub characterized by its conspicuous green leaves, long stem and edible roots. It is mostly cultivated as an annual crop in the tropical and sub tropical regions for its exceptional ability to adapt to changes in climate, its high resistance to drought, pest and diseases, and its ability to survive in poor soils conditions. Its edible roots serve as a major source of starch and carbohydrates.
Cassava farming is also the third largest carbohydrate food source in the tropics after rice and maize.
- 1 What is cassava farming?
- 2 Why cassava farming Business?
- 3 8 Steps To Consider Before Starting A Cassava Farming Business.
- 4 The type of land for Cassava Farming:
- 5 The variety of cassava to plant:
- 6 The cassava planting process:
- 7 Weed and pest control:
- 8 Application of fertilizers:
- 9 Adequate watering:
- 10 Harvesting the cassava tubers.
- 11 Pests And Diseases Of Cassava Plants.
What is cassava farming?
Cassava farming is the system of agriculture that deals with the cultivation and production of cassava crops on mainly for its edible roots.
Harvesting of the cassava tubers varies from 6 months to up till 3 years depending on the variety of cassava planted. Cassava is majorly consumed in its boiled and processed form, also starch extracts from the cassava tubers are used to make tapioca. Adequate care must be taken to carefully and properly prepare cassava before consumption as it contains some toxicants which could cause acute cyanide intoxication, partial or full paralysis, goiters and even death.
Why cassava farming Business?
Cassava farming is a very lucrative business one can venture to as Nigeria is the top producer of cassava in the world. It is also a very suitable business for most Nigerians as the climate in Nigeria and the type of soil we possess ensures the favorable growth of the cassava crop.
Cassava serve as ram materials for some food processing industries. Food processing industries utilize cassava to process into garri, flour, starch etc.
Cassava serve as part of people’s diet. People largely consume cassava as its products are among the cheapest form of food one can buy in the local market. It also serve as an ideal food crop as it is embedded with essential vitamins and nutrients, high in dietary fiber and provides lots of energy when metabolized in the body system.
Cassava is also the ideal plant to cultivate as it grows easily, generates large yields, is drought resistant, can store foods in its roots for longer periods of time, can withstand changes in climate and is more resistant to pest and diseases than other crops.
Cassava serve as raw materials for the brewing industry as research has shown that cassava can also be used to produce alcoholic beverages.
Cassava constitute as part of animal feeds. Peels of cassava tubers, leaves of the cassava plant and cassava hay are used as feeds for livestock as they are high in proteins and essential tannins which make them serve as good roughages for livestock animals like snails, sheep, goats, cattle, etc.
Cassava is used in the industrial production of laundry starch. Cassava is used in the production of starch. Starch obtained from cassava is known as manioc starch. When this starch is applied on clothes and fabrics before ironing, it will help to stiffen it.
It is a dual- purpose crop. Cassava is a dual-purpose crop in the sense that it can serve as both a food crop and also as a cash crop. While the subsistence farmers cultivate cassava to serve their domestic dietary needs, a commercial farmer views it as a cash crop which could generate enough proceeds from its sale or export.
Cassava farming business has a high economic value attached to it. Due to the fact that cassava is majorly consumed by a large population, its economic value is stable and it rarely depreciates. Also, as there is a large number of cassava consumers, it constitutes a large market demand for cassava and its products which ensures that its economic value is maintained.
Also cassava is used in the industrial production of glue and adhesives.
8 Steps To Consider Before Starting A Cassava Farming Business.
- Choose the right land.
- Variety of cassava plant
- Understand the planting process
- Understand weed and pest control
- Apply necessary fertilizers
- Have an Irrigation and watering strategy
- Have a marketing plan
The type of land for Cassava Farming:
Cassava farming business can be done and will thrive in most types of soils, but if a bountiful and high yield of cassava tubers is required by the farmers, the best soil type to consider is the loamy soil. This is because it grows best on soils that are moist, fertile, deep, well drained and rich in organic matter.
The farmer should first plough and harrow the soil so as to break the soil particles. The ploughing should be done 6 inches deep into the soil. After this, the farmer makes ridges on which he intends to plant the cassava.
The variety of cassava to plant:
There are different varieties of the cassava plants from which the farmer can use for his cassava farm. For any variety of cassava that the farmer intends to plant, he should bear in mind whether its characteristics such as life cycle, starch content, growth speed, pest and disease resistance etc. meets and suits his needs.
The cassava variety to be planted must suit his needs and meet his purpose of cultivation whether for industrial starch, for food, stem multiplication, sale or export.
The cassava planting process:
Cassava is mainly propagated by its stem cuttings. The farmer should select only fresh, mature and healthy stem cuttings. Healthy cuttings tend to be free from pest and disease attacks which makes them perfect for cassava cultivation. Any stem cutting to be planted should have 7 to 8 viable nodes.
During the planting, a hole of a depth of 10 to 12 cm should be made in the soil and the cutting inserted vertically into the hole. Adequate spacing of about 1m×1m should be observed when planting to prevent overcrowding of the farm and minimize the spread of diseases.
Weed and pest control:
The use of herbicides and pesticides in an any farm serves to prevent weed and pest infestation on the farm. The farmer may decide to apply pre emergence herbicides to prevent the growth of weeds before planting and further apply post emergence herbicides to kill any weeds disturbing the growth of the cassava plants.
Application of fertilizers:
Cassava as a root crop utilizes a great deal of soil nutrients , thus continuous cassava production on a particular land requires regular use of fertilizer for maximum cassava yield. The fertilizers should be applied 6 to 8 weeks after planting. Adequate care should be taken to ensure that the fertilizer do not touch the cassava stem or leaves.
The cassava farm should be able to access good water for their crops. This might be river bodies, streams etc. Alternatively, the farmer could adopt an irrigation system so he can better provide water for his crops.
Harvesting the cassava tubers.
Different varieties of cassava mature and ripen at different rates. For some, it takes 6 months, others 12 months to up till 2 years. Cassava tubers are due to be harvested when the leaves start turning yellow and they fall off. After this sign, he farmer usually cuts the stem from the lower end nearer the roots.
This is so that the farmer can use the stem to pull out the root tubers. The uprooted tubers are then washed and kept in barns for storage, eventual sale and processing. After the harvesting, the farmer gathers and keeps the cut stem as they now serve as new stem cuttings for replanting. It should be noted that the cuttings obtained from the lower end of the cassava stem produce better cassava tubers.
Pests And Diseases Of Cassava Plants.
Cassava though more disease resistant than other crops can be affected by a number of pests and diseases which are listed below;
Viral diseases like cassava mosaic, brown steak, leaf curl etc.
Bacterial diseases e.g. bacterium cassava, bacterium manicottis, phytomonasmaniihotis etc. attack the leaves and stem of cassava plants.
Mycoses – They can attack the leaves, roots, stem of a cassava plant and cause diseases.
Insects- Some insects like aphids, mealy bugs, locusts, beetles, caterpillars feed on and eat the leaves of cassava plants and make them susceptible to diseases.
Animals- Animals like rodents, goats, and other herbivores dig up the roots of the cassava plants and eat them up. They also feed and damage the stems and leaves of the cassava plants.
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