Engaging in mechanized cassava farming, by Chinedu Agbaji

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Ginger Oil Production: The growing green gold in Nigeria, by Chinedu Agbaji
Agbaji Chinedu.

Today’s Agri-business

Cassava products are in remarkably high demand all over the world to produce various products and compounding of animal feeds. The advent of global warming has put cassava on the front burner as a prime raw material to produce ethanol which does not emit carbon dioxide, unlike fossil fuels.

The high cost of grains like corn has also made cassava chips a preferred substitute for compounding animal feeds. The demand for cassava products is on the ascendancy and enquires flow in on daily basis from nooks and crannies of the world but we are handicapped because our farming systems are still rudimentary and based on peasant farmers that farm smallholdings with hoes and knives.

With mechanized farming, cassava is a money-spinner. When we talk about mechanized framing, it is not a must you will buy your machinery but the use of machines in farming activities.

Cassava Farming Stages

Selection of farmland: Choose an accessible well-drained fertile soil where you can grow your cassava without too much problem and as well have access to the main road to transport your products to the market and buyers have access to buy your products.

Land preparation: A total herbicide – Roundup (glyphosate) should be applied 10 days before land preparation, this will help in controlling the weed in the long run and it’s more economical than using manual labour. For cost-effectiveness and optimum plant population, mechanization and planting on ridges are recommended as you prepare for planting.

Soil conditioning: Soil conditioners are soil amendments that improve the soil structure by increasing aeration, water holding capacity, and nutrients. They loosen up compacted, hardpan and clay soils and release locked up nutrients. Soil conditioners can also raise or lower pH levels depending on what they are made of. You can use an organic soil conditioner, sometimes if you use it no need to apply fertilizer.

Ploughing: You can hire a tractor to plough the land before planting or you buy a hand tractor it is not expensive, and it is easy to maintain.

Planting and Planting Materials

  • Planting starts in April and can be extended to October.
  • Cassava stems are used for planting, the bundle goes for N1000
  • Stem cuttings, 25 cm long, should be planted at a spacing of 1 m x 1 m.
  • Maintain a 100% planting rate by replacing dead or nonviable stems.

Cassava varieties: Choose varieties that are best suitable for the climatic and environmental conditions of your region. To increase yields, it is best to choose varieties that tolerate diseases and pests, drought-resistant, grow fast and mature early and that can be stored in the ground for months such as vitamin A cassava stems and TME 419.

Post Planting Weed Control

Where a total herbicide was not used before land preparation, it is recommended that a selective pre-emergence herbicide be applied within three days after planting.

Fertilizer

Cassava plants can be fertilized with the help of manure, such as poultry droppings, cow or goat dung, organic liquid fertilizer, NPK. If you plough the fields, leguminous cover crops can be used to improve soil nutrition. Apply artificial fertilizer carefully and according to instructions.

Disease Control

It is best to select varieties that are naturally resistant to pests in your area. There are several pests and diseases that affect this plant. Among them are:

  • Cassava mealybug (Phenacocus manihoti)
  • Cassava green mite (Monoychellus tanajoa)
  • Termites, cassava mosaic disease, cassava bacterial blight, cassava anthracnose disease
  • Root rot

Mechanized Equipment

  • Tractor or hand tractor
  • Planter
  • Sprayer
  • Harvester

Return on investment is high as the demand for cassava is on the increase both locally and internationally.

Agbaji can be reached at <learnder@gmail.com>

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