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How To Start Cassava Farming In Nigeria

How To Start Cassava Farming In Nigeria
Cassava (originated from tropical America and first introduced into Africa 1558) is a shrub grown in the tropics and subtropics for its underground starchy tuberous roots.
Cassava is a very popular product in Africa and can be used for the production of many different kinds of foods and products like fufu, starch, animal feed, sweeteners, alcohol and bio-degradable products.

Benefits of Cassava

• Cassava brightens and smoothens the skin
• It hydrates the skin and is an amazing face mask
• Cassava helps in the removal of scars and spots
• Cassava helps in hair growth and also contributes in reducing hair loss
• Cassava is good for the digestive system
• Cassava helps in overcoming headache and fever
• It helps in the prevention of cancer
• Cassava is good for the eyes
• It helps in the treatment of rheumatic diseases
• It helps in the healing of wounds and injuries
• Cassava is good for pregnant women due to its vitamin A and folate content
• The folate and vitamin C found in cassava leaves also help in building the body's immune system
• Cassava leaves contain lysine protein which aids in fighting kwashiorkor
• Cassava aids in reducing the blood pressure
• Cassava also helps in the building of strong muscles

Dangers of Cassava

Cassava contains a dangerous toxin called linamarin which when eaten raw is converted into cyanide by the human digestive system. This is however not a big issue because it can be prevented by avoiding the consumption of raw cassava.

Step-by step guide on how to start cassava farming in Nigeria

Having seen the benefits and dangers of cassava, the next step will be on how to start the business proper. Cassava farming and production is very popular in many West African countries like Benin Republic, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. This is because cassava grows well in the listed countries.
Other parts of the world like Brazil in South America cultivate cassava which they use for the production of Tapioca and other products. Industrial production of cassava in the developed parts of the world because of the high demand for the products.

In the case of Nigeria and probably other West African countries, the practice of commercial cassava cultivation is not common as many of the families still believe in cultivating just for their family. A whole lot others just process their cassava into fufu and garri not knowing that it can be used in the production of many other things. If you're a Nigerian interested in the cultivation of cassava, you can grab the funding opportunities from the many governmental and non-governmental agencies interested in boosting the production of agriculture in Nigeria.
If you are interested in starting a cassava farming business in Nigeria, here is a guide you should follow:

• Select a good site for your cassava farming

It is improtant for you to choose a well drained, easily accessible and fertile soil. You can take a sample of the soil to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for proper examination to decide if it's fit for cassava cultivation.
Although most forest lands in the South West are very fertile and good for cassava farming, it's important to further verify to avoid risking or losing your investment.

• Decide on the cassava varieties

For high yield and processing quality of the cassava, the following varieties are recommended:
  ⁃ TMS 4(2) 1425
  ⁃ TMS 30572
  ⁃ TMS 81/00110
  ⁃ TMS 92/0326
  ⁃ NR8083
  ⁃ NR 8082
According to AgricInfo.com, an additional 10 varieties are in the process of being released. So you can check the cassava production specialists in Ibadan for more varieties of cassava.

• Land preparation and planting

A total herbicide - Round up (a glyphosate) should be applied to the land where you want to plant your cassava at the rate of 4–5 l/ha 10 days before land preparation.

Liming

Experts recommend that farmers apply 5 bags of agricultural lime per hectare during the land preparation.
Please Note:
1) Planting of cassava starts in April and can be extended to October
2) Cassava stem cuttings 25cm long should be planted at a spacing of 1m x 1m
3) The quantity of cassava recommended for 1 hectare is 60 bundles of cassava stem
4) Maintain the cassava planting rate by replacing dead or nonviable stems
5) In a case where you didn't apply a total herbicide before the land preparation, a selective pre-emergence herbicide should be applied within three days after planting. Five liters of Primextra is recommended per hectare.

• Types of fertiliser to use

The following fertilisers and the rates per hectare are recommended:
1) NPK 12:12:17 - 15 (50 kg) bags
2) NPK 15:15:15 - 12 (50 kg) bags
3) NPK 20:10:10 - 9 (50 kg) bags

Endeavour to apply the fertiliser at 8 weeks after planting your cassava. It should be applied in a ring, 6 cm wide and 10 cm from the plant or broadcast with care around the cassava plant. Very important, make sure that the fertiliser doesn't touch the cassava stem or leaves.

Yield

Cassava Yield of 25 t/ha and above can be obtained with good agronomic practices and management.
Therefore, every step must be taken seriously in the process of planting your cassava.

Sources:
https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-cassava-on-your-skin-hair-and-health
https://www.sunnewsonline.com/dangers-of-cyanide-in-garri
http://www.agricinfo.com/2018/01/how-to-start-cassava-farming-in-nigeria.html
https://www.wealthresult.com/agriculture/cassava-farming-nigeria
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cassava
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