To begin cassava farming and processing, you will need to put some things in place.
The basic requirements include: acquiring a farmland, developing the farmland to suit cassava production, selecting the best variety of cassava, and selecting the best cassava stem cutting to plant.
Before you get started, of course, you will need to have a good business feasibility plan and raise capital for the business.
Acquiring a farmland
Cassava is a crop capable of surviving drought. However, it grows best on a flat or slightly slope land composed of humus soil which has capacity to retain water.
The land must be in an area with an adequate amount of rainfall. Some of the qualities you should watch out for while acquiring land for cassava planting include:
• The land should contain dense vegetation,
• Check for the texture of the soil, and
• The land must be flat or gently slope to reduce the tendency of erosion to occur, washing away the soil’s nutrient.
Select best variety
To ensure maximum yield, it is important to select the best variety of cassava. This will also go a long way to increase your plants’ immunity against disease, rapid growth, and increase their soil quality.
Some qualities to check for while selecting the best variety include:
Look for varieties that have a lot of dry matter and are good for food.
Select varieties that bulk (swell) quickly in the ground, producing large quantities of food.
Look for variety with good ground storability. A good variety of cassava matures in about eight to nine months.
However the can be left (stored) in the ground for up to 18 months before harvest.
Look for a variety with high resistance against pests and diseases.
After tilling the land with either manual or mechanical labor, you can start planting your cassava stems. Plant the stems with about two-third of the total length buried in the ground.
Cassava farming requires water; it is best for you to start planting early (usually immediately the rains begin) to ensure rapid growth and maximum yield. With proper preparation and planting, one hectre of land can produce about 12-15 tonnes of cassava (depending on the variety).
After planting, constant weeding is required to rid the farm of weed that competes for nutrient with the cassava plant. Remains of leguminous plants should also be left or tilled into the ground to improve soil nutrients.
Weeding is usually done two week after planting. To further enhance the growth and overall yield of your farm, you will need to apply fertilisers.