How To Start A Cassava Farm In Nigeria
Cassava farming is getting more lucrative as one of the main source of lively hood and food for millions of Nigerians. 80% of Nigerian households consume cassava products everyday. Some of the meals are: garri, wheat-flour, animal feed, and a lot more.
As the population continues to increase, the demand for cassava products will continue to increase, leading to higher revenues generated by cassava farmers. This consumption of cassava products will continue to increase and guarantees a good profit after sales.
Due to lack of capital, people can’t venture into cassava farming. The Nigerian government has made available agricultural loan to millions of potential & active farmers. You can startup through this government loan made available through the Nigerian Bank of Industries at www.boi.ng. You can access more information from there website.
How to Select A Good Site For Your Cassava Farm:
When getting a site to setup a cassava farm, pick an area with deep well drained loamy soil, adequate rainfall, and warm & moist climatic conditions. Cassava grows best in these areas. An easy way to identify lands with these conditions is to see if:
• There’s a thick vegetation around it,
• The soil texture is good,
• The land is flat or gently sloping.
Make sure the locals and food scientists can verify the richness of the soil before you proceed to make a purchase or lease.
How To Improve The Soil For Cassava Planting:
This step is not important if you already selected a good site to grow your cassava crops. But if you have not, you will need to spend a lot of money to improve the soil. Some practices commonly used to improve the soil for cultivation are:
• Manure your soil,
• Prepare good seedbeds,
• Planting the cassava along with other crops, and more.
• Organic fertilizer
Your soil must be very fertile for cultivation else, so that you don’t lose millions of naira. Little mistakes like this should be totally avoided. But the best method, is to choose a good site.
Select The Best Cassava Variety To Plant:
There are wide breeds of cassavas that you can grow. But the best breeds to cultivate are the types that’s widely accepted by your target market, gives great yields, grows fast, and are resistant to pests and diseases. The major factors involved in selecting the right cassava breed to grow are:
• Varieties with good food quality
• Varieties with good cooking abilities
• Varieties that bulk early
• Varieties with good ground storability
• Varieties that are tolerant to pests, diseases, and weed.
Selecting the right breed to go with, will determine how successful your cassava farm will be.
How to Select Healthy Cassava Stem cuttings:
Cassava stem cuttings are used to grow cassava crops. Selecting healthy stems is crucial to growing rich cassava crops that your market would quickly purchase. You can buy cassava stem cuttings in town markets and villages. After your initial purchase of the cassava stem cuttings, the best place to keep getting healthy cassava stem cuttings are on your own farm. Planting healthy stem cuttings is important because they will help you to greatly reduce the spread of cassava pests and diseases. When getting cassava stem cuttings, this is the best guide to follow:
• Find healthy cassava plants.
• Stay away from cassava plants that have or have had a history of pest and diseases.
Plant The Cassava Right:
Before you plant your cassava crop products, you need to consider the land tillage method, the time of the year, the seed bed type, and the method of preparation, handling, and planting of the cassava stem cuttings. Planting the cassava within all the right conditions will ensure you reap a healthy harvest. It will increase chances of good yields, and would ensure you always have the cassava harvests just when a lot of buyers need it.
Setup & Production Cost:
Just as any other startup business, a great execution of your cassava farming business can make you a millionaire. You need to understand the perfect costing needs to ensure you’re not going to generate a negative cash flow. Here is a sample costing for setting up a cassava farm in Nigeria:
• Land Cost:(1 acre) NGN 300,000 (purchase)
• Ridging: NGN
• Herbicides NGN
• Cassava Stem Cuttings NGN
• Planting Stem Cuttings NGN
• TOTAL COST NGN 105,000 + Land cost = NGN 405,000
Many other costs that are not yet added are: carriage bags, insecticides, farm maintenance, harvesting labour fees, general employee salaries, and a couple others.
Note: Some other costs and unforeseen expenses are not listed, and the costs listed here are heavily subjected to change because of inflation and other uncontrollable market vices.
Marketing Your Cassava Products:
After growing and harvesting your crops, you need to ensure maximum returns by selling your harvests to the right buyer and at the right price.
Produce can be supplied to shops, supermarkets, market women at good prices. Make your price friendly and push your products to the market.
The profit from cassava production is largely dependent on your cost of labour and your cassava yield. The yield is determined by the fertility level of the land and if you’re using high yield cassava stem cuttings or not. To make more profit you need to plant high yield cassava stem cuttings.
The products that are gotten from processed fresh cassava tubers are very useful and well-demanded in the markets. One of such products is cassava flour. It is a simple unfermented cassava from pieces that have been dried and crushed.
Cassava flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour for which prices at international markets are becoming unbearable.
The production of cassava in Nigeria reduces demand for foreign exchange, creates more employment opportunities, some well demanded products can be produced such as starch.
The Raw material used for cassava flour production in Nigeria
The major and only raw material used for the production of cassava flour is fresh cassava tubers. Cassava can be grown in almost all states of the federation and Nigeria is rated as the highest producers of cassava in the world.
Heavy Equipment for cassava flour production
Hammer Mill Grater, Starch Extractor, Sedimentation Tank, Hydraulic press, Granulator, Flash dryer, Packaging and weighing machines.
Procedures for cassava flour production in Nigeria
As I earlier said, cassava flour is made from fresh cassava tubers or roots. See procedures below;
• The first is weighing and sorting of good fresh cassava tubers with wholesome roots for production after which tubers are weighed.
• The weighed fresh cassava tubers are then peeled. Peeling manually is preferable because it prevents peeling loss with mechanical processes due to irregular shapes of cassava tubers.
Setup & Production Cost:
• The peeled tubers are then washed with adequate amounts of water to remove sand, dirt and other practices or contaminants.
• The tubers are then grinded into cassava mash. This process is called grating
• The cassava mash is then detoxified mechanically in a mash agitator for a period of time. This eliminates the toxic hydrogen cyanide that is present in the cassava mash.
• The moisture in the cassava mash is reduced mechanically to about 50% to prepare for drying operation. This process is called dewatering.
• After dewatering the cassava mash results in form of cake. This is disintegrated into fine granules using hammer mills.
• Drying follows next to produce cassava flour of desired quality.
• The flour is then milled to the desired size.
• The flour is then sieved and packaged appropriately.