There is hunger in the land; take it or leave it! Gone are the days when people will come to you to ask for money and you give them food instead. Before now the cheapest and common commodity you can get without asking in Nigeria is Garri but not anymore. I bet many of you don’t know I have a cassava farm. If you are yet, to see reasons for going into FARMING please wait a little longer!!!
For easy understanding; I have decided to divide this lesson into three parts. They are:
- How To Start Cassava Farming And Select Good Site
- How To Start Cassava Farming And Select The Best Cassava Varieties
- Best Way To Plant Cassava And Make Cool Money
Today, we shall be talking about the first one while the second and the third part will be discussed before the end of the month. Trust me, you won’t miss any of our post except you did not subscribed to our news letter.
Honestly, I am not writing this post to impress anyone or seek favor; I am writing to the very few who saw the need for saving the economy of this great county Nigeria. So, if I am not sounding very friendly; am sorry! Quickly…
Why Cassava Farming?
- A paint of Garri is now N450!
- Cassava can survive even under harsh environmental conditions; cassava will provide some food when other crops fail.
- There is a good market for cassava both local and international market.
- The storage roots can be processed into various food products and starch for domestic consumption, local, and/or export markets.
- The leaves and storage roots can also be used as animal feed.
- The stems can be sold as planting material.
Maybe you don’t know; Cassava is one of the most common food crops grown and consumed in many parts of Africa. The crop grows well in various soil types and ecologies. Cassava can be planted alone or in association with many other crops, like maize, groundnuts, vegetables, and rice.
In order to grow a healthy crop of cassava you will need to combine plant production and plant protection practices. The companion field guides on “Weed Control in Cassava Farms”, “Pest Control in Cassava Farms”, and “Disease Control in Cassava Farms” cover specific details of weeds, pests and diseases.
How To Select Good Site For Planting Cassava?
Cassava grows best in areas with deep and well-drained loamy soils, adequate rainfall, and warm and moist climatic conditions. The factors which guide you to determine if an area will be suitable for growing cassava include vegetation cover, soil texture and fertility, topography of land, and the field history of the area.
Look for an area with thick vegetation cover:
Sites with dense vegetation cover are likely to have fertile soils. The dense vegetation shades the soil from direct sunlight, reduces the amount of moisture that is lost from the soil through evaporation, and minimizes run-off water which may otherwise cause soil erosion.
The dense vegetation also drops a lot of leaves which rot and add nutrients to the soil. In addition, decaying leaves encourage an increase in the number of earthworms and other small invertebrates in the soil, which in turn help to increase the air in the soil and make it better for growing cassava.
How To Know An Area With Good Soil Texture:
The best soil for growing cassava is deep, loamy soil. Such soils are rich in nutrients, low in gravel, hold water well, and are easy to work or till.
The way to tell if the soil is loamy is to moisten a small amount of it and try to shape it into a ball. If you press the ball and it falls apart, then your soil is loamy. If it feels gritty and you are not able to shape the moistened soil into a ball, then the soil is sandy. If you shape the soil into a ball, and the soil does not fall apart when pressed, then the soil contains a lot of clay and is a clayey soil. Sandy and clayey soils are not the most suitable soils for growing cassava.
Look for an area with fertile soil:
Fertile soils usually have a dark color, for example, dark red or dark brown. The dark color shows that the soil has a lot of organic matter. If the soil looks gray and sometimes contains green or blue spots, it means that there is poor drainage and waterlogged. Do not grow cassava on soils that get waterlogged.
Look for an area with flat or gently sloping land:
The best farmland for cassava is flat or gently sloping. Steep slopes are easily eroded and are therefore not very good areas for growing cassava. Valleys and depression areas are also not very suitable because they usually get waterlogged and do not allow cassava roots to develop well.
Know the history of the site:
This is not a most anyway but have such information will do you no harm if you can. Information such as how the land was previously used, and the types of weeds, diseases, and pests in the area, can help you in selecting a site for your cassava farm. Such information can help you to avoid a site with problems or make good plans for plant protection.
How To Improve The Soil For Planting Cassava?
If you do not select a good site for growing cassava you may have to spend a lot of time, money and materials to improve the soil. Cassava plants on good soils grow vigorously and are able to withstand some damage by pests and diseases.
Here are some good cultural practices you can use to improve soil properties.
Manure your farm:
At land preparation, you can add organic manure to the soil to increase soil nutrients, improve soil structure, and improve the ability of the soil to hold water. Organic manure can be in the form of green manure or other dead plant or animal manure.
Prepare suitable seedbeds:
Cassava fields on hilly sites with steep slopes are frequently eroded. The erosion will be severe if the leaf canopy of cassava plants is not thick enough to cover the ground against rain splashes. You can also make ridges across the slopes and mulch the ridges to reduce erosion.
Mulch cassava seedbeds:
Mulching involves covering the soil surface with plant materials. Mulching improves the fertility of the soil, increases the ability of the soil to hold sufficient water for plant growth, and reduces erosion and weed problems. Mulching cassava seedbeds is especially valuable when growing cassava in dry areas and on slopes.
Plant cassava in association with other crops:
Appropriate intercrops improve soil properties in a manner similar to live mulches. Crops that are commonly intercropped with cassava are maize, rice, legumes, and vegetables.