According to an Indian legend, the gods honored one of the aboriginal tribes with a tiny sprout of an unknown plant. It struggled to rise toward the sun through the dense undergrowth of tall grass. The little plant won its place under the sun and turned into a flowering bush.
It grew so quickly that the ground was covered with cracks through which ancient tribes could see tender white oblong tubers. In honor of tribe leader’s daughter, perfect white Mani, the natives called this miracle plant Manihot. It was edible and very tasty. A different tribe called the plant by various names, one of them is Cassava. Today it is an amazing shrub with rich tasty tubers, which do not require special care and it feeds over 500 million people on Earth.
Cassava production in Nigeria is extremely simple. The plant is to be placed in trays filled with soil. This is where you stick the cuttings (stems) of the plant and within six months they will grow and turn into pretty big bushes. When the leaves on the bushes start to turn yellow, this means that the harvest is ripe. You can dig bulbs from the soil for eating or selling.
Cassava care is minimal, the plants only need to be watered from time to time. Cassava harvest can reach up to 50 tons per one hectare. The price of root crops in Europe is around 3 dollars per kilo. In addition to cassava tubers, cassava green leaves can be consumed as spices.
Main required conditions for cassava farming:
- Air temperature
- not less than +25 — +30 °C;
- The absence of long drought period;
- The abundance of Sunny days;
- Warm weather;
- Loose soil;
- Good drainage;
- Flat or gently sloping land.
The root system is represented by a long thick root with a length of 1 m and diameter of 8-10 cm. The core of the tuber is rich in starch (20-40% of its weight). After cassava heat treatment or drying, it is completely safe and has the following effect on the body:
- Enhances immunity;
- Has an anti-inflammatory effect;
- Normalizes blood sugar level;
- Removes excess cholesterol from the body;
- Strengthens bones;
- Prevents Alzheimer’s disease and other CNS diseases;
- Normalizes blood pressure and heart function;
- Slows down the aging process.
Cassava farming business in Nigeria
Preparation of planting specimen
- Cassava is propagated only vegetatively;
- You should use cuttings harvested from the middle part of well-developed stems, aged 6-12 months;
- 15-20 cm cuttings are stored in a cool place for 2-3 months;
The position of the cutting when planting doesn’t play any role (vertical, inclined, horizontal). Main requirement: at least half of the cutting should be in the soil. If you choose horizontal planting, the cutting should be covered with 8-10 cm layer of soil. Otherwise, the planting material will become dry. If it has sufficient moisture, the cutting quickly forms adventitious shoots and tubers.
Cassava is quite easy to grow. Beginning from autumn, soil should be enriched with humus and herbicides (4.5 liters per hectare).
In open and protected soil, cassava is better planted on ridges with a width of 40 cm and a height of 40-60 cm in 1 row, which creates the desired porosity of the soil and facilitates plants care.
Cassava harvest readiness is determined by the yellowing, falling of leaves and ripening of seeds. If you gather too immature tubers, they will be too tough.
First, cut down the stems of plants, leaving 30-40 cm of the plant. Use the cut down stems for making cuttings. In 2-3 days they need to be planted in a prepared soil. After cutting the stems, underground cassava tubers are to be pulled out completely.
You may sell cassava raw material or already processed cassava.
If you are interested in selling processed cassava, you will need to acquire a cassava processing machine.
You can make tapioca, a starch made from cassava. It is used in the thickening of sauces, soups, porridges, puddings, jellies, cakes, biscuits. Also, cassava is a raw material for starch balls. This is one of the most popular uses of the starch. The small white balls look like pearls or caviar. After they are boiled, their color changes to black. They are usually mixed with powdered sugar and served as dessert. Also, cassava balls can be made into different colors and added to cakes or drinks.
Cassava farming business plan:
- One acre of farmland will approximately cost you N150,000 – N250,000
- Preparation of one hectare of land – N10,000 – N30,000
- One liter of herbicide – N1,000 (4.5 liters for 1 ha)
- Optimal number of cassava bundles – 60-65 per hectare
- Price of one stem – N300 – N500
- Wage for workers for the planting of one hectare of land – N20,000 (N1,000 a day for one worker, it’s better to hire 4 workers)
If everything is done correctly you can get 25 tons of cassava roots per one hectare.
Simple calculations: initial sum, minimum – nearly N350,000 (not including money for workers wages).
So, as you can see, the cassava farming business is rather profitable as it doesn’t require a lot of expenses and cassava is always in demand in this region.