By Agbaji Chinedu
Cassava products are in remarkably high demand all over the world to produce various products and compounding of animal feeds. The advent of global warming has put cassava on the front burner as a prime raw material to produce ethanol which does not emit carbon dioxide unlike fossil fuels. High cost of grains like corn has also made cassava chips preferred substitute for compounding animal feeds. The demand for cassava products is on the ascendancy and enquires flow in on daily bases from nooks and crannies of the world but we are handicapped because our farming systems are still rudimentary and based on peasant farmers that farm small holdings with hoes and knives. With mechanized farming cassava is a money spinner. When we talk about mechanized framing, its not a most you will buy your machineries but the use of machines in farming activities.
CASSAVA FARMING STAGES
SELECTION OF FARMLAND: Choose an accessible well-drained fertile soil where you can grow your cassava without too much problem and as well have access to main road to transport your produce to the market or buyers have access to buy your products.
LAND PREPARATION: A total herbicide – Round up (a glyphosate) should be applied 10 days before land preparation this will help in controlling the weed at long run and its more economical than using manual labour. For cost effectiveness and optimum plant population, mechanization and planting on ridges are recommended as you prepare for planting.
SOIL CONDITIONING: Soil conditioners are soil amendments that improve the soil structure by increasing aeration, water holding capacity, and nutrients. They loosen up compacted, hard pan and clay soils and release locked up nutrients. Soil conditioners can also raise or lower pH levels depending on what they are made of. You can use organic soil conditioner, sometimes if you use it no need applying fertilizer. Using neem based organic fertilizer will be good because it will act as a pesticide.
PLOUGHING: You can hire tractor to plough the land before planting or you buy hand tractor it is not expensive, and it is easy to maintain.
PLANTING AND PLANTING MATERIALS
- Planting starts in April and May and can be extended to October.
- Cassava stems are used for planting. bundle goes for #1000 and above.
- Stem cuttings 25 cm long should be planted at a spacing of 1 m x 1 m.
- Maintain 100% planting rate by replacing dead or nonviable stems.
Cassava Varieties: Choose varieties that are best suitable for the climatic and environmental conditions of your region. To increase yields, it is best to choose varieties that tolerate diseases and pests, are drought-resistant, grow fast and mature early and that can be stored in the ground for months such vitamin A yellow cassava stems and TME 419.
POST PLANTING WEED CONTROL
Where a total herbicide was not used before land preparation, it is recommended that a selective pre-emergence herbicide be applied within three days after planting.
Cassava plants can be fertilized with the help of manure, such as poultry droppings, cow or goat dung, Organic liquid fertilizer, NPK. If you plough the fields, leguminous cover crops can be used to improve soil nutrition. Apply inorganic fertilizer carefully and according to instructions.
It is best to select varieties that are naturally resistant to pests in your area. There are several pests and diseases that affect this plant. Among them are:
•Mealy Bug (Phenacocusmanihoti)•Green Mite (Monoychellustanajoa)
•Termites Cassava Mosaic Disease# Cassava Bacterial Blight# Cassava Anthracnose Disease
- Tractor or Hand tractor
Return on investment is high as the demand for cassava is on increase both locally and internationally.
NOTE: With the increase in the price of fertilizer, neem based organic fertilizer is good for farming because of its disease resistance nature. If you are interested in neem based organic fertilizer formulation contact for training both for substantial and commercial use.
Agbaji chinedu writes from kaduna:email@example.com 08035004617