Cassava is a tropical root crop and tuber plant, popular in the sub-sahara Africa. This same Cassava is the raw material behind numerous Agricultural/Farm products, ranging from Garri to Tapioca, Cassava Flour and so on. Its very rich in Carbohydrates and is also used in making of raw starch. This plant is very popular in Nigeria as its end product is the popular and generally embraced “Fufu”. When cassava is cooked in the normal way, its pounded and from it, we get Fufu which we eat with any soup of our choice.
Agriculture: How To Start Cassava Cultivation/ Farming
As Agriculture keep growing, a spike in number of Farmers in Nigeria is in expectation. People are currently decamping from Civil Service and so on, to Agriculture/Farming, and its encouraging. The manner with which we import Agricultural products and produces from other countries is so high and frightening. A country like Nigeria with very vast landmass and hundreds of millions of population shouldn’t depend on a smaller country for Agricultural products. Its good news, we’ve start to export certain farm produces from Nigeria to other countries, with states like Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Kogi, Plateau etc, taking the lead.
Land Availability for Cassava Farming
Cassavas can’t be planted in Victoria Island, not in Onitsha, can’t be plated in Benin city neither can you set up a Cassava farm in Abuja. There are places where there will be enough land and for Agriculture, and farming. Land availability is of the essence in Agriculture, and is the main problem that discourages young farmers. Farmlands could be set up in the outskirt of cities or in a nearby village, as you ain’t to live in your farm. There isn’t any land abandoned, as soon as you start to cultivate on them, their respective owners would start to emerge from nowhere.
So to avoid problems, you must endeavor meet and talk with owners of the land you want to setup your farm on. If you can’t locate the owners of the land, you can ask individuals that reside around that particular piece of land. This is for those who claim, land is the hinders them from their Agricultural plans, but if you have a land of your own or wouldn’t mind travelling back to your village to cultivate on your own land, then this particular problem is solved.
The Right Time for Cassava Cultivation
You don’t cultivate Cassava anytime you wish, it has times for its cultivation, depending on the position of your farmland.
Farmlands Nearby a River (Water Meadow):
This piece of farmland get flooded during rainy seasons, and becomes land as soon as dry season arrive. They have their own time to cultivate Cassava completely different from uplands. As soon as rainy season is gone and this piece of land resurface due to drying of water, moulds should start to be made and cultivation follows immediately. This is usually around December – January, depending on your topography.
These lands aren’t close to any river so they have their own time very different. Around the months of April – May, when rainy season has officially set out. Farmers in uplands start their cultivation. When farming in Upland, you must have to wait for rainy season, so that dry lands could be a little wet for cultivation. This completely depend on your topography, it may not be the same over there as it is over here, but once rainy season begin, your cultivation should also begin.
You must need some Capital to start this Cassava farming we’re accentuating. You can do a lot but not all by yourself or without charges.
Bush/Land Clearing: Your land must be cleared first before anything else, as its the first process to indicate you’re in for Agriculture. You can do this by yourself or hire laborers to help you out with the bush/ land clearing, and then pay them in return. The weeds are usually gathered together and burnt but i’d advise you don’t burn these weeds as you could use them for Mulching.
Making of Moulds/ Ridges: Here comes the second process in Cassava farming. You can sow Cassavas into the earth with no ridges but the hardness of the earth would hinder your Cassavas from producing bigger tubers, so, ridges are essential as far as its Cassava farming. You can make ridges yourself or employ laborers to help you out, and again, you will have to pay for the service rendered.
Gathering Cassava Plants/ Sticks: When you have cassava sticks/stems, then you’ve got all you needed for the Cassava Farming. Cassavas ain’t being planted by sowing the tubers into the ridges like yam, you plant the sticks/stems and they grow up, mature and start forming tubers deep in the soil. You can get Cassava plants from any local market or meet farmers who are harvesting their Cassava to sell/ giveaway to you the stems of their harvested Cassavas.
How To Plant Your Cassava:
Planting cassava could turn a big task depending on the landmass of your farmland. There isn’t much to be done, though, but before you sow the plants in all the ridges in your farmland, you’d realize, its never a child’s play.
• Get a Cassava stem in your left hand and a Machete in your right hand, then proceed to a ridge in your farmland.
• Now, open a part on the ridge (10 inches depth) with your machete and insert the Cassava stem into the ridge.
• Cut the Cassava stem, leaving it around 4 – 6 inches above the ridge.
• Move for just 2 feet and repeat the process (If its long ridges)
• Sow in three places (If its round ridge)
Do this in all the ridges in your farmland and then go home, remember to come back when your farmland grow bushy to clear the bushes and use the grasses/weeds for mulching as usual.
I believe this could guide through, on how to setup a Cassava farmland for yourself. If ever have you encounter any problem, pertaining this, feel free to ask me, i will help if i could.