Last updated on March 5th, 2023 at 02:09 pm
Cassava farming is one of the agriculture businesses that is underrated, but research shows that Nigeria has the capacity to generate over $400 in revenue from domestic value.
In one of our guides, we extensively explain how to start a profitable plantain farming business, but here, we analyse how you can start a cassava farming business in Nigeria, its profitability and the peculiar diseases of cassava and how you can prevent or control them.
While there are other agribusinesses like goat farming, rice farming, and poultry among others, cassava cultivation is another one that is highly profitable, especially when the prices of foodstuffs have skyrocketed.
Let’s get started….
Table of Contents
What is the best cassava farming season?
For farmers who do not have the ability to make use of irrigation for a start, the farming season for cassava should begin in April, when the soil is warm enough that the crop can start to grow.
The farming season for cassava in Nigeria typically runs from April to December.
At this time, farmers typically prepare the soil and plant the cassava cuttings or seedlings, which are then fertilized and then watered by natural rain as needed.
Throughout the season, farmers must regularly monitor their crops and take measures to protect them from pests and diseases.
What are the plantation methods for cassava?
Farmers in Nigeria cultivate cassava using various methods, including:
- traditional land cultivation,
- inter-cropping, and
- mechanized farming.
What are the varieties of cassava?
There are varieties of cassava which vary in maturation, some mature by 6 months while some are 9 months or more depending on the cultivar you procure.
some of the high-yielding cassava varieties include:
- Yellow cassava
So, let us get started about step by step guide on how you can start your own cassava farm and all you need to know.
Step 1: Acquire Land (Depending on your capacity)
You need to acquire a piece of land. You may decide to procure farmland, hire or make use of the small area in your backyard.
Suitability of land
The ideal land for cassava farming is flat and free of stones, with soil that is rich in organic matter and has a pH balance between 5.5 and 6.5.
If you’re looking to purchase land for cassava farming, it’s important to ensure that the soil meets these requirements before making a purchase.
Step 2: Clear the Land (Farmland Preparation)
You need to clear the land of any existing vegetation. This can be done manually with a machete, you can hire labour. If you plan large-scale cassava cultivation, using a tractor for clearing will suffice.
It’s important to be careful when clearing the land, as any damage caused to the soil can have a negative impact on the crop.
You should ensure not to expose the topsoil to direct sunlight or set fire to the farmland indiscriminately which may affect natural decomposers and soil enhancer agents in the soil.
Step 3: Prepare the Soil
Preparing the soil involves tilling the soil and adding organic matter, such as compost or manure, to increase fertility of the soil.
It’s also important to ensure that the soil pH is in the correct range for growing cassava.
Does cassava cultivation require ridges?
For an optimal yield, you should make a ridges or heap that is at least 1 foot tall and not less than 1 foot wide to get the best out of the soil.
Step 4: Plant the Cassava
It’s time to plant the cassava. Cut the Cassava stem you have gotten either from a friend’s farm or you bought from an Agro store closer to you.
Ensure the stick has at least 3 to 4 nodes
While planting the stick, ensure the phase is facing the upward direction and spaced about a foot apart.
It’s important to ensure that the stems are planted at the right depth by leaving only 2 or 3 buds above ground.
Step 5: Water and Fertilize
Cassava is a thirsty crop, so it’s important to ensure that it is watered regularly.
It’s best to water the crop in the morning and evening and to use a fertilizer that is specifically designed for cassava farming.
The best fertilizer for cassava
You can make use of NPK fertilizer or the best manure from poultry droppings, cattle and other organic substances.
Step 6: Weed and Mulch
Weeds can quickly overtake a cassava farm, so it’s important to keep on top of the weeding. It’s also important to mulch the soil around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
To do that, you may use the grasses you weed or cut from the farmland while you were preparing the farmland for planting
Step 7: Harvesting of Cassava
Harvesting cassava can be done after six to eight months, depending on the variety.
The crop is usually ready to be harvested when the leaves begin to yellow. Once the cassava has been harvested, it should be stored in a cool, dry place until it is ready to be processed or consumed.
Step 8: Selling
After the whole process, the profit from the plantation and harvesting is very important. You have to know the market value of a ton of cassava.
In some local areas across Nigeria, a number of stems are used for sale. However, it is better to use the standard price.
Currently, a ton of cassava is between NGN65, 000 and NGN80, 000, in Nigeria depending on the seller’s location, the variety of the cassava, and the market.
There are many reasons why cassava cultivation is profitable: most of the cassava byproducts constitute staple food in Nigeria.
The byproducts include:
- Cassava flour,
- Animal feed
Cost Of Planting 1 Acre Of Cassava In Nigeria
The cost of planting one acre of cassava in Nigeria varies depending on several factors, including:
- the quality of seedlings,
- the availability of labour, and
- the cost of inputs.
Generally, the cost of planting one acre of cassava in Nigeria can range from NGN 40,000 to NGN 120,000. This cost includes the cost of seedlings, fertilizer, labor, and other inputs.
It is important to note that the cost of seedlings can be higher in some cases, while the cost of labor and other inputs may vary depending on the location.
Additionally, the cost of planting may be higher if an irrigation system is required.
Projected profit for cassava farming
The projected profit to make on 1 acre of cassava plantation in Nigeria is highly dependent on the quality of the soil, the local climate, the farmer’s expertise, and the market price of cassava.
Generally, it is estimated that a small farmer in Nigeria can make between NGN400,000 to NGN1,000,000 annually from 1 acre of cassava plantation.
Note: The projected profit depends on the price in your location and the yield of the plantation.
The estimated profit is based on an average yield of 10 tonnes per acre from the plantation.
The market price of cassava can also affect the estimated profit. For instance, if the market price is higher, then the projected profit will also be higher.
Common Pests And Diseases Of Cassava
There are some diseases and pests that may invade your cassava farm which in turn may reduce the yield and profits, some of the pests and diseases include:
The cassava mealybug is a major pest of cassava, causing significant damage to the crop.
The insect infests the leaves, stems and storage roots of the plant, causing distortion and yellowing of leaves and reducing production.
Cassava Green Mites
Cassava green mites are small, green mites found on the undersides of the leaves of cassava. These mites feed on the plant’s sap and can cause severe damage, leading to reduced yields.
Cutworms are a type of caterpillar that feed on the leaves of cassava. They can cause significant damage to the crop, leading to reduced yields.
Whiteflies are small insects that feed on the sap of cassava plants. They can cause yellowing of the leaves and reduce production.
Leafhoppers are small insects that feed on the sap of cassava plants. They can cause yellowing of the leaves and reduce production.
Ants can cause damage to the stems, leaves, and storage roots of cassava plants. They can also spread diseases and weaken plants.
Bacterial blight is a disease caused by a bacterium that infects the leaves of cassava plants. Symptoms include yellowing and wilting of the leaves, as well as black spots on the leaves and stem.
Cassava Mosaic Virus
The Cassava mosaic virus is a virus that affects cassava plants. Symptoms include yellowing and distortion of the leaves, as well as stunted growth.
Cassava Brown Streak Disease
Cassava brown streak disease is a virus that affects cassava plants. Symptoms include brown streaks on the leaves, as well as yellowing and wilting of the leaves.
Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease that affects the stems, leaves, and storage roots of cassava plants. Symptoms include wilting and yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects the leaves of cassava plants. Symptoms include white, powdery spots on the leaves, as well as yellowing and wilting.
Cassava pest and disease control
Practice crop rotation:
Crop rotation can help reduce the spread of disease and pests. Rotate your cassava with other crops such as corn and beans to reduce the likelihood of common pests and diseases.
Avoid excessive fertilizing:
Too much fertilizer can cause nutrient deficiency, which can attract pests and diseases. Fertilize sparingly and use organic fertilizers whenever possible.
Plant disease-resistant varieties:
Plant varieties that are naturally resistant to common pests and diseases. This will help reduce the incidence of pest and disease infestations.
Maintain good sanitation:
Remove and dispose of any diseased or dead plants immediately and properly. This will help prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
Plant in well-drained soil:
Plant cassava in well-drained soil to prevent root rot and other diseases.
Monitor for pests and diseases:
Regularly inspect your cassava plants for any signs of pests or diseases. Early detection and treatment can help prevent major infestations.
Remove weeds and debris:
Remove any weeds or debris from around your cassava plants. This will help reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases.
Best practices in planting cassava
Plant in well-prepared soils:
Before planting, it is essential to properly prepare the soil by removing any large stones or other debris and loosening the soil with a hoe or spade.
Use quality planting materials:
Plant with cassava cuttings that are healthy and free of pests or diseases. Use cuttings that are about 20 cm long and have at least three buds.
Plant at the right depth:
Plant the cuttings at a depth of about 10 cm. It is important to ensure that the cuttings are not planted too deeply, as this may inhibit root growth.
Space plants properly:
The spacing of the plants should be done in such a way that the plants are not overcrowded. Space plants in rows, with the rows, spaced about 1 meter apart, and the plants in each row spaced about 20 cm apart.
Cassava is a drought-tolerant crop, but regular watering is still necessary to maintain growth and yield. Water the plants at least once a week, or more frequently during dry periods.
Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, at least once a month to ensure that the plants receive adequate nutrients for growth and yield.
Remove any weeds that are growing near the cassava plants to prevent competition for nutrients and water.
Monitor for pests and diseases:
Regularly check the plants for signs of pests or diseases, and take action if necessary.
Harvest when ready:
Harvest the cassava when the roots are large and firm. The roots should be at least 10 cm in diameter.
Apart from being the fourth most important crop in the world, according to Guardian, cassava cultivation on a large scale can be a highly rewarding and profitable venture, but it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared and understand the steps involved in growing and harvesting this crop.