cassava farming and processing is good money
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A single farming season spent in cassava farming and processing can hand you the key to financial freedom. Yes! Cultivating and processing cassava is simply a money-making venture. In this post, I will show you why you should consider giving it a go and how to start your very own cassava farming and processing business.

Background: Why cassava?

Here are some of the reasons cassava has such a huge earning potential for you as an entrepreneur:

Cassava is an important food crop in Nigeria

Cassava is the third most consumed crop in Nigeria (FAOSTAT). It is our most important food crop by production quantity while yam is the most important food crop by value. Cassava is an important staple crop not only in Nigeria, but in Africa as it has a high potential of feeding rapidly increasing population and is generally more affordable if compared to other staple foods.

Export potentials are endless

Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava. However, cassava produced in Nigeria goes mainly to feed and food (on average 45.6 percent and 45.7 percent respectively, while the rest of it goes to waste (FAOSTAT). This opens up a lot of doors for you as an entrepreneur especially in the processing and export sector. Countries like Thailand and Indonesia lead the charts on world cassava export.

Cassava is a multi-purpose food crop

It has a lot of uses. The crop is so valuable that no part of it is thrown away. The roots serve as food, the stem can be re-planted to grow more cassava while the leaves serve as livestock feed. The products in the value chain also serve as industrial raw material. You can focus on any of these or all of them. Whichever one you choose, cassava farming and processing is agriculture and you can never go wrong with agriculture.

Demand is high

The demand for cassava is high both in local and international markets, thereby making the business of cassava farming and processing very profitable. Due to its wide range of use the level of profitability of cassava farming is second to no other food crop. In fact, the demand of cassava is clearly higher than the supply. How much is a cup of garri in your area now? Think about it 🙂

How to start a cassava farming and processing business

To begin cassava farming and processing, you will need to put some things in place. The basic requirements include: acquiring a farmland, developing the farmland to suit cassava production, selecting the best variety of cassava, and selecting the best cassava stem cutting to plant.

Before you get started, of course, you will need to have a good business feasibility plan and raise capital for the business. You can click on the links to get detailed guides on how to do those. We will focus on planting and processing in this post.

  1. ACQUIRING A FARMLAND

Cassava is a crop capable of surviving drought. However, it grows best on a flat or slightly slope land composed of humus soil which has capacity to retain water. The land must be in an area with an adequate amount of rainfall. Some of the qualities you should watch out for while acquiring land for cassava planting include:

  • the land must contain dense vegetation,
  • check for the texture of the soil, and
  • the land must be flat or gently slope due to reduce the tendency of erosion to occur, washing away the soil’s nutrient.
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A land which has thick vegetation is likely to favor the cultivation of cassava, drastically increasing the yield. The dense vegetation serves as covering for the soil, reducing the rate of water loss from the soil and improving the organic content of the soil when leaves fall and decay.

For best yield of cassava, you should make sure that the land acquired is mostly loamy soil. Sandy or clay soils do not support proper growth of cassava. Also, deep loamy soil is more easily tilled, contain less gravels, and more nutrient that the cassava plant will need.

DEVELOP THE FARMLAND TO SUIT CASSAVA PRODUCTION

A land with good soil favors the quick growth of cassava. Plants grown on such land usually have high resistance to pests and diseases. However, if you are not so fortunate to get a fertile land to cultivate cassava all hope is not lost.

There are some agricultural practices you can carry out on a less suitable land to improve its suitability for cassava production. They include:

  • APPLICATION OF MANURE

The fertility of the soil could be greatly increased by adding manure to the land. You could apply green manure in the form of dead plants or plant crop such as beans, groundnut, and the like. Work green materials into the soil while ploughing your land to improve the soil’s texture, nutrient and water retention capacity. Animal wastes are also good source of organic manure.

  • INTER-CROPPING CASSAVA WITH OTHER PLANTS

Legumes are excellent source of soil nutrients. Their falling leaves rot in the ground, improving the soil’s characteristics. Inter-cropping cassava alongside crops like melon, cowpea, maize, rice, and legumes improves the soil’s nutrient.

  • MULCHING THE FARMLAND

Mulching involves covering the surface of the farmland with lots of dead foliage (dead mulch). Examples of materials you can use as dead foliage are: rice husk, coffee hull, and foliage from leguminous crops.

If you have to cultivate cassava on a steep sloped land, then planting cassava varieties with quick and low-growing leafves will be helpful. The low leafs make a good covering for the ground and reduce the chances of erosion. Furthermore, you could also build ridges along the slope to prevent erosion and hold more water.

SELECTING THE BEST VARIETY OF CASSAVA

To ensure maximum yield, it is important to select the best variety of cassava. This will also go a long way to increase your plants’ immunity against disease, rapid growth, and increase their soil quality. Some qualities to check for while selecting the best variety include:

  • Look for varieties that have a lot of dry matter and are good for food.
  • Select varieties that bulk (swell) quickly in the ground, producing large quantities of food.
  • Look for variety with good ground storability. A good variety of cassava matures in about 8-9 months. However the can be left (stored) in the ground for up to 18 months before harvest.
  • Look for a variety with high resistance against pests and diseases.

SELECT HEALTHY CASSAVA STEM CUTTINGS

After locating the best variety of cassava, the next step is to select healthy cassava stem cuttings for planting. This is important to ensure the production of good and marketable cassava crops. The following are qualities to look out for when selecting healthy cassava stem cuttings:

  • Healthy cassava have strong stems and branches with fresh leaves.
  • Avoid selecting stem from plants that have been damaged by pests and diseases.
  • Cut cassava stem of length 20-25cm and select those that have at least 5-8 nodes.
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You can buy cassava stems from local farms and market for your first planting. However it is more beneficial to get the stem from your own farm for next planting.

PLANTING YOUR CASSAVA

After tilling the land with either manual or mechanical labor, you can start planting your cassava stems. Plant the stems with about two-third of the total length buried in the ground. Cassava farming requires water; it is best for you to start planting early (usually immediately the rains begin) to ensure rapid growth and maximum yield. With proper preparation and planting, 1 hectre of land can produce about 12-15 tons of cassava (depending on the variety).

After planting, constant weeding is required to rid the farm from weed that competes for nutrient with the cassava plant. Remains of leguminous plants should also be left or tilled into the ground to improve soil nutrients. Weeding is usually done two week after planting. To further enhance the growth and overall yield of your farm, you will need to apply fertilizers.

CASSAVA PROCESSING

Cassava is a multipurpose food crop with a wide range of uses. Apart from using its root as food and leaves for soup or animal feed, it can be processed into various goods including: garri, cassava flour, cassava bread, caramel, etc. Cassava is also an important industrial raw material which can be processed to produce ethanol, paper (taking advantage of the high starch content), bio-fuels and pharmaceuticals.

The image below, courtesy of agriknowledge.org, captures the stages of cassava value chain from the producer to the buyers.

CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH CASSAVA FARMING BUSINESS

  • The major challenge associated with cassava farming is finance. You will require capital to purchase land, acquire farming and processing machinery, cost of labor, etc. However you could source finance for this business from loans. This article details some available loans and grants for farmers in Nigeria. You should check it out.
  • Another challenge that may surface is finding the good variety of cassava stem to plant. However following the guidelines for selecting healthy cassava stems described in this article will help you in that aspect. Improved varieties can also be gotten from agricultural research centers.

Cassava farming and processing is still very much lucrative and highly profitable. There is not a single problem of unsold goods; there is an ever present market. You could invest in cassava production now and smile to the bank 9 months from now.

Do you know anyone who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share it on social media using the buttons below.

Post your comments to let me know your thoughts.

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  3. How to Get Available Government Grants and Loans for Agriculture in Nigeria
  4. How to Raise Capital for Any Business in Nigeria

 

16 COMMENTS

  1. Happy New Year dear. Thank you for the good job you have been doing and thank you especially for this post. I will like to know if you have any idea where I can access farmland on lease in the eastern Nigeria. Thank you

    • Hello Oluebube

      One way to access farmland if it’s not readily available is to approach the ministry of Agriculture in your state. Most often they have lands mapped out for specific agricultural projects. You may also approach land owners in your community and talk them into letting you farm their land for a particular period. Discuss options for revenue sharing with them. I’m positive you will get positive responses.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes.

      Thanks for reading this post.

  2. Good morning, this is great and I appreciate the down to earth way you wrote this article, God bless. Am considering venturing into cassava farming this season and am trusting God that it will yield great results. Have already acquired the land, am preparing it ready for planting once the rain starts falling. Will keep in touch with the progress.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Ezekiel. Cassava farming is very good. I wish you all the best as you take the step. Yes, please do keep me in touch on your progress.

      Good luck!

  3. I have some acres of land I inherited in my hometown of OYO, but the problem am having is how to finance my cassava farming project. I have gone to different banks, they always asked for my land document which have not been done,now rain has started and time is going,please what can I do. I don’t mind if I can give LEASE OUT some plots of land to interested farmers but they will have to finance my project in return.

    • Hello Zaenab,

      from your comment, you seem to have worked out a solution. All that is left is to just do it. Joint venture is one of the ways to bring a project to successful fruition. Since you have the land, partner with someone who has the funds and agree on a profit sharing formula. it’s a win-win for everyone.

      Good luck

    • Hi, I have a cassava farm in Lagelu local government area.
      I really want to expand. Since I already have high breed stems, we could work out a modality and form a healthy partnership.

      Kindly call me on 08034322688 or mail me adejades@gmail.com

  4. HI Sameul
    please i was told by an investor to produce a write-up on cassava processing that if attractive he will invest in it fully…How can you help me.To be submitted on 26-05-2017

  5. Hello sir what if I decide to plant now that the rains have long started, what will be the adverse effects, I intend to start little now so that I can have some cash to support myself for a bit larger scale by the beginning of next year.

  6. Good day,

    I read your write up on Cassava farming and processing, very comprehensive and enlightening. I am interested in Dried Cassava chips/pellet processing for local consumption and exportation.

    I want to know if You can be of assistance to me in preparing a Business plan that can be presented to the Bank and also provide other relevant information. I would also like to know how much it would cost me.

    Thank You,
    Ajibola.

  7. Thank you for these great business ideas, u are building and contributing to the next generation of employers and millionaire. Thanks a great deal. Regards

  8. Hello, Chinedu.
    It is 2:06 am and I am still reading your beautiful and kind hearted article on Cassava. Good morning. I am a Retiree and would seriously like to embark on cassava processing.I am serious and believe in you. So would you , please let us discuss further in details asap? I’d appreciate if you’d prompt me on 08069622446 and I will call you.
    Thanks, much.

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