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Investing in Cassava
Investing in Cassava

Investing in Cassava

It is a shame that many languish in the pit of unemployment, suffer at the hands of hunger and are enslaved by the slightest of economic depressions when there are a lot of gold mines and money boxes just below our noses, waiting to be discovered and exploited. In this west African region as we have come to find ourselves, there is simply no land as great for the cultivation of cassava than we are seeing beneath our foot. The soil is highly optimised naturally with nutrients that support the growth and good yield of this crop but a lot of people are not venturing into the business. There is also a big market for cassava in the local scene with the crop finding various use in a series of different recipes. The nutritional benefits of this tuber crop are innumerable and it is a good source of foreign exchange should you wish to fullyconcentrate on it. All these being said without an element of lie or deceit, why would anyoneeven overlook the prospect of becoming a cassava entrepreneur? Cassava entrepreneurs have been exploiting the fact that the product can be produced and marketed in various forms to make maximum profits and you can pitch your tent with them to start making your own truckload of money today also. Being marketable when processed into flour form, starch, ethanol, glucose syrup and flakes, cassava is widely accepted for a number of use. Just recently, certain bakeries and restaurants sprung up and created a new market for cassava dealers with the advent of cassava bread. What more are you waiting for? There is barely a family in thiscountryalone that can survive a full six months without having taken any cassava product – be it garri, cassava bread, cassava flour meal or any other forms of it. This creates an even bigger market – the household – and that is where a lot of entrepreneur’smaketheir profits from. Most people are discouraged from a good business because they don’t know how to go about it, do not know about it in the first place or are too scared to try due to the uncertainty that might be involved.Given that business in itself is a risk that is well worth taking, we would list some steps below to set you on the path to become a very successful cassava farmer while incurring minimal risks along the line.

1. Site selection There is nothing possible in agriculture without land, and to have a good yield of cassava (which translates to maximum profits), you should pick just the best and recommended soil for a cassava plantation which is a well-drained loamy soil. Soil that is prone to waterlogging such as clay soil is very bad for your crops and would start to cause you crops to get various bacteria and fungal infections. A region of adequate rainfall should also be looked at when considering sitelocation. Cassava doeswellwhen it is planted in areas that have trees, shrubs and other vegetation growingaround them as this means more nutrients for the land. You could get an agricultural scientist to look at any land hat you have chosen first before you start anything to be on the safer side.

2. Optimising the land. After selecting the land, you want to make sure that it is totally perfect for cassava . Cassava plants would fail where the soil is veryacidic therefore you should properly lime the soil before starting. Various liming materials that youcan use include slaked lime, soda lime calcium bicarbonate to mention but a few. If you are good with liming, you could do this yourself but otherwise, get the service of a professional else you might end up with a highly alkaline soil thatwould eliminate some basic nutrients. Prepare good beds for the cassava stems and you could practice a little bit of mixed cropping just to improve yield. Little mistakes costs a lot when it comes to cassava so you should totally avoid them.

3. Choose Variety Like many other crops, cassava comes in different varieties and cultivars. To obtain the best breed for cultivation, check around your local market and other target markets not in your locale to see whattype ofcassava is in high demand there. This would help you start preparing for your income right from the first day. Not only does your market needs matter here, checking for those that are very resistant to certain diseases in the area or generally and thosebreeds that naturally give the best yield is equally important. Of what use is supply if you are not making desired income on it? If you start to grow a kind of cassava that no one likes or doesn’t really perform well, you might as well be ruining your own business with your ow hands and you don’t want that.

4. Select healthy cuttings After knowing what variety you are going for, set out to get their stem cuttings (which are the means of propagation). Make sure that those you get are very healthy are show no signs of diseaseor defects. It would be wise to arm yourself with enough information on how cassava stems should look when healthyor take an agricultural consultant along. The thing with unhealthy stems is that in the log run, they might spread the infection to others through a means such as the soil, air, or any other transfer agents. Keeping your farm safe starts fromhere and proper care should be taken.

5. Planting and harvesting. You have all you need for your farm now and what is left is planting. Till the land the rightway, make proper cassava beds and plant your stem into the soil. Provide good irrigation system (either manual or automatic) to ensure that your plants are not dehydrated and a sound drainage system would help curb the effect of waterlogged soil. Weeding is carried out regularly to ensure maximum nutrients for your plants and reduce the incidence of weed induced infections that might sometimes arise. The use of herbicides should be selective as we do not want the soil getting too acidicfor use. Ideally, cassava plants mature fir harvest after the first 11 – 13 months of planting.

6. Post-Harvest Processing You can ether chose to sell your cassava straight after you harvest from the farmor if you have the means, process into other forms first. Garri is a flakes form ofcassava that ishugely popular and involves frying the cut, pressed and grinded cassava. Youcouldalso make it into flour for making meals and bread, starch etc.

Many people go into the export of cassava and its products as a side business and you could also engage in this but cultivating enough might be enough profit for you. Either ways, you win.