Cassava is the third most consumed crop in Nigeria. It is our most important food crop by production quantity and it is an important staple crop not only in Nigeria, but in Africa as it has a high potential of feeding rapidly increasing population and is generally more affordable.
Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava. The crop is so valuable that no part of it is thrown away. The roots serve as food, the stem can be re-planted to grow more cassava while the leaves serve as livestock feed. The products in the value chain also serve as industrial raw material.
The demand for cassava is high both in local and international markets, thereby making the business of cassava farming and processing very profitable.
Steps to a Successful Cassava Farming
- Select a Good Site for your Cassava Farm
When getting a site to setup a cassava farm, pick an area with deep well drained loamy soil, adequate rainfall, with warm and moist climatic conditions. Cassava grows best in these areas. An easy way to identify lands with these conditions is to see if there is thick vegetation around it, if the soil texture is good, and if the land is flat or gently sloping.
Picking the right location to setup your cassava farm is extremely important. Make sure the locals and food scientists can verify the richness of the soil before you proceed to make a purchase.
- Improve the Soil for Planting
This step is not important if you already selected a good site to grow your cassava crops. But if you didn’t, some practices commonly used to improve the soil for cultivation are “Manure your soil, Prepare good seedbeds, and Plant the cassava along with other crops.
- Select the Best Cassava Variety to Plant
There are wide breeds of cassavas that you can grow. But the best breeds to cultivate are the type that are widely accepted by your target market, gives great yields, grows fast, and are resistant to pests and diseases.
The major factors involved in selecting the right cassava breed to grow are: Varieties with good food quality, varieties with good cooking abilities, varieties that bulk early, varieties with good ground storability and varieties that are tolerant to pests, diseases, and weed.
- Select Healthy Cassava Stem Cuttings
Cassava stem cuttings are used to grow cassava crops. Selecting healthy stems is crucial to growing rich cassava crops that your market would quickly purchase. After your initial purchase of the cassava stem cuttings, the best place to keep getting healthy cassava stem cuttings are on your own farm. Planting healthy stem cuttings is important because they help you to greatly reduce the spread of cassava pests and diseases.
- Plant the Cassava Right
Before you plant your cassava crop products, you need to consider the land tillage method, the time of the year, the seed bed type, and the method of preparation, handling, and planting of the cassava stem cuttings.
Planting the cassava within all the right conditions will ensure you reap a healthy harvest. It will increase chances of good yields, and would ensure you always have the cassava harvests just when a lot of buyers need it.
- Setup and Production Cost
Just as any other startup business, a great execution of your cassava farming business can make you successful. You need to understand the perfect costing needs to ensure you’re not going to generate a negative cash flow.
- Marketing Your Cassava Products:
After growing and harvesting your crops, you’d need to ensure maximum returns by selling your harvests to the right buyer and at the right price.
Cassava farming remains a lucrative agricultural venture if executed right. Try not to cut corners when setting up a cassava farm, and you’d end up growing the right crops everyone desperately wants to buy.