Farming is a very lucrative but backbreaking venture to explore. However, like any endeavor you may want to commercially explore, you need to understand the entire value chain to make a business out of the venture. Regardless of your demographic, young or old, working or retired, male or female, agriculture is a sector that anyone with the means can venture into.
In Nigeria, a lot of bad press has been attributed to farming as a profession which is further worsened by little or no access to the funding required to start and operate a farm. However, if you have the means of which the primary requirement is a piece of land with loamy soil you can cultivate your cassava farm.
At Greenhills Cassava Farmstead, we sell you a farm, and operate and sell the proceeds of the farmland on your behalf. You will not miss the farming experience as we keep you up-to-date on-farm activities and pay you the value of your proceeds as and when due. If you are interested, click here to register your interest.
The following are the steps to follow in setting up your farmland;
- Site Selection: In the case of site selection, we have you covered within our commercial-scale cassava farmstead but if you have land you intend to use for cultivation, make sure it is loamy soil as that is the best for planting cassava. Although some cassava varieties will only grow in certain soil conditions, you must make sure the soil is right for the variety you intend to cultivate.
Furthermore, other considerations while selecting land include rainfall in the area, the topography of the landscape, and the kind of vegetation around.
Here is a video of the cleared cassava farm within the Greenhills Cassava Farmstead.
- Land Preparation and Stem selection: At this point, you are satisfied with the soil quality; the land is cleared and ready for cassava cultivation. This is the stage where ridges or heaps are made. If you are operating a large-scale commercial farm, you may want to use tractors to create the ridges to ease farming. There are several cassava stems, some of the varieties include TME 419, TME581, TMS1632, and yellow cassava. We planted the “TME 419”.
Note that the cassava stem variety selected will determine the quality of the starch content and the duration of growth till maturity. Click here to see the managing director talking about the reason why we chose TME 419 as our choice variety.
- Herbicide: Before you do any planting, it is recommended that you spray herbicides before you begin planting.
- Planting: The recommended planting season is around April and extends to September/October. Plant cassava stems on ridges of an average of 40cm in width and 40-60 cm in height of one row, such aids plant care. However, it is recommended that you apply fertilizer 8-10 weeks after planting the cassava stems. You must weed the grass that grows with the cassava stem when it is appropriate to do so as it helps the cassava stems grow well.
This is a time in the cycle where the yield will determine the return on investment. The time it takes for cassava to reach maturity differs from one variety to another. Cassava typically matures for harvesting 8 – 18 months after planting. The exact time is determined by environmental and practical factors.
Cassava is usually best harvested manually. The stems of the cassava plant are first cut by hand, machete, or machine leaving a small portion at the base to enable the farmer to uproot the cassava. Farmers are trained to use a hoe to dig out the part stuck in the soil if the soil is too hard so that the tubers will not break in the soil during uprooting.
The next step is to cut off the tubers from the stem without bruising the roots. The implication of bruising the root is that the cassava will deteriorate very rapidly. Cassava tubers must be processed at most 24 hours after harvesting as they could begin to deteriorate after 48 hours.