Cassava production is easy. You cannot talk about Cassava production without involving the farming aspect. It only involves you planting stems in the ground that would grow well even without making ridges.
My mom, one day, got several cassava stems and planted them in the garden space we had and some months later, we harvested more than I imagined we would.
Do you know cassava would thrive anywhere in Nigeria as long as there is sunlight and adequate rain. That’s why Nigeria remains a major producer of cassava in Africa.
But the bigger business in Cassava farming in the production. It’s as far as your imagine can go. However, I’m only going to start you off here with what’s basic now.
✅ Understanding Cassava Production
Cassava is one of the topmost consumed foods by Nigerians. Cassava production businesses not only makes food produce available but also products like animal feed, glucose, alcohol and fertilizer.
Moreover, cassava can be made into starch which can be used to make textiles and paper. It can replace wheat flour for bread and cakes, ethanol for biofuel, modified to fructose to sweeten drinks, and made into local foods: fufu, akpu, garri. The list is unimaginable.
Yet, the cassava production business is something that can be done by anyone. Although, it can be part of cassava farming business but it’s more of a production part of cassava business.
✅ Is cassava farming and production profitable in Nigeria?
Cassava farming is profitable in Nigeria. Its compatibility with the soil and its demand in Nigeria has resulted in it being available in large amounts. Also, Nigeria is among the countries that produce the most cassava. Our soil agrees with it and we consume it as a staple food.
The high demand for cassava makes it a good commodity to sell. You can also export your products to other countries.
You can venture into producing these cassava into different raw materials and finished products
✅ Some Cassava Products
- The leaves are vegetable chock full of nutrients like protein.
- The roots, while still unpeeled, can be dried to make animal feed.
- The stems can also be sold and the roots converted to various end products.
✅ How Much Cassava Farms Make
A tons of cassava can be sold for N25,000 – N35,000. It sometimes goes up to N50,000 at the beginning of the year. This rate is high due to the cost of farming and would be lesser if cassava processing machines are utilized more by farmers. The price is estimate and may change with time due to different factors.
✅ Tips to Setup Cassava Production
If you are thinking how can you start a cassava production business in Nigeria, here’s your guide. But the first step could be to choose with aspect of the Cassava value chain you would like to start from. While the first chain is the Cassava farm. Its highly advisable to start from the beginning of the chain.
Buying cassava from farmers for your production maybe wise if you lack the land needed for farming. But on a long run, farming the cassava yourself makes more sense profit wise.
✅ Get the Capital
Do a feasibility study to assess the merits and demerits of the business. Afterwards, formulate a feasibility plan for your business and get the capital needed.
The plan has to come first because it involves putting down your ideas about how you want your business to go, its size, how you plan to get the capital, the equipment you need and all information necessary about your business.
✅ Siting of Farm
Cassava thrives in loamy soil and much less in sandy or clay soils. It can survive in a drought but requires sufficient rainfall to grow as it should.
The farmland should be situated close to the market. Not just any market but one where cassava is sold and in demand. If to be processed, it should near the plant
To increase the land’s productivity, some agricultural procedures can be done to prepare the land before the planting of the cassava stems.
- Manure: waste from animals and dead crops are a good source of manure. This would add nutrients to the soil, improving its productivity.
- Mulching: mulching involves covering the top of ridges with dead vegetation. These are called mulch. Examples of mulch are legumes’ foliage, husks of rice.
- Inter-cropping: intercropping with crops like legumes add to or increase the cultivation of the crops. Legumes add nitrogen to the soil, enriching it. Other intercrops that can be used are maize and rice.
- Choose the best cassava species: choose the best of the cassava species you can find for maximum production and harvest. The kind of cassava it is would affect its growth which is why getting the best is expedient. Aside from good growth, get one that has disease resistance, matures fast, is edible and can stay in the ground as it matures without getting spoiled.
How many acres do you need for a start? One acre, one hectare, get a land your budget can sufficiently carry. You don’t even need to buy. It can be leased.
You need to till the land first before planting anything. The stems should be planted afterwards with two-thirds of them in the ground.
Plant early in the planting season so that the cassava crops get as much water as they can from the rain.
Over 14 – 19 tons of cassava can be harvested in a hectare of land.
To conserve the land’s nutrients so that the cassava crops can get the most of them, weeding is mandatory.
As the crops mature, they can be harvested.
This is the first stage in the processing of cassava flour. Harvest can be done with manual labour or by harvesters.
Harvest takes place about 7 – 10 months after planting the cassava.
The top part of the cassava stem with leaves is cut leaving a shorter lower part in the ground. The lower part of the stem is then pulled out to bring the cassava roots or crops to the top of the soil and then the roots are separated from the stem.
The cassava stems are harvested too and kept in a shelter to protect them from rain and prevent rot. They can be sold or kept for the next planting season.
✅ Processing the Produce
The process of converting cassava into garri for example has 4 processes aside from harvesting: peeling, grating, sieving, frying. In the peeling process, the skin of the cassava tubers is peeled with knives manually or with the use of peeling machines.
The grating process involves the grating, shredding of the tubers into much smaller pieces. It can also be done manually or with a grating machine. And the grated cassava is sieved to extract the cassava flour needed to make garri in the sieving process. A sieving machine or mesh can be used.
After the cassava flour has been collected, it is fried to dehydrate it. The frying machine is faster especially if the product is a lot and for commercial purposes.
Afterwards, cassava flour is packaged to be marketed and consumed.
The marketing of your cassava produce would be straightforward if your farm is situated in a location where cassava is in demand. You can decide to sell it as raw produce to processing industries or in the processed form to the market.
To reach other locations apart from yours, you will need to spread the word about your market online, on social media, flyers with your brand defined on them. You should also have a website with your brand’s name and logo.
✅ Startup Cost And Requirements
The cost of starting cassava farming in Nigeria can be about N100,000. It includes the necessary expenses: renting, leasing or buying land, land preparation, fertilizer, cassava stems, herbicides and weeding.
The startup cost can reduce with the size you choose to start with and the availability of necessary items.
You must have a budget included in your business plan which would comprise of all that you would be getting so that you would spend according to your budget and not overshoot or leave something out.
✅ Challenges of Cassava Production Business
The following are the challenges of cassava production business in Nigeria:
- Diseases include root rots, cassava mosaic disease, cassava anthracnose disease, cassava bud necrosis, cassava bacterial blight and mealybugs.
- Poor quality of soil
- Market accessibility: the bulk of cassava may cause transportation to be more strenuous especially in areas with bad roads and a poor transport system. A bicycle for example would present the individual conveying them with a lot of stress.
- Overuse of fertilizers
- Livestock damage
Preventive measures can reduce the chances of these challenges. They include:
- Use of good cuttings for planting. Do not plant cuttings with obvious signs of disease.
- Crops vulnerable to nematodes must not be used as intercrops.
- Do not delay harvesting.
- Space the crops properly.
- Clean equipment for planting before use.
- Space the crops properly. They should be as separate from each other as they need to be.
- Waterlogged land that is closer to water or land that was previously infested is not a good land choice.
Finally, do you have questions unanswered by this article? You can drop me a enquiries in the comment box below. However, consider this article a beginner guide to identifying the key areas of starting your own cassava production business.