starting a cassava farming business in nigeria

Profitable Cassava Farming Business In Nigeria

Starting a cassava farming business in Nigeria is a really good idea. Cassava is one of the most popular plant that farmers in Nigeria focus on cultivating.

This is because, cassava is a major commodity in the market.

Cassava can be processed into different forms to produce different types of food for consumption.

Garri is one of the end product cassava processing. The garri can be used to make Eba or can be drank with some other kinds of condiments.

Many people who are into cassava farming have been able to earn good amount of money farming cassava.

Cassava business is a lucrative job if you know how to do it well.

We will be looking at everything that is needed to start a cassava business in Nigeria, and make some huge profit from it.

Nigeria History of Cassava Farming

According to history, in the year 1667 was when the cultivation and planting of cassava began in Nigeria.

This was through some Portuguese tourist and slaves from country like West Indies and Brazil that came to stay in Nigeria. At around 1890s, cassava was gaining more ground and becoming more popular everywhere in the country.

Based on our research, the slaves from West Indies, Brazil and Sierra Leone that knows ways of processing the crop into food were residing in Abeokuta, Lagos, Badagry, Ijebu and some other part of the country.

They are the ones that used their influence to spread the consumption of the different product that was derived from cassava.

The product includes fufu, Gari, cassava flour (lafun).

Aside from some common food such as beans, yam, and rice, garri has grown to become one of the most consumed food in the country. Cassava flour or garri, when processed into edible foods can be taken with different type of soup depending on individual or tribal biasness as to the best kind of soup that goes well with it.

Some people drink garri with condiments like milk, sugar, or groundnut to quickly sustain themselves when feeling hungry.

Other Product Derived From Cassava

Aside from garri, cassava can also be processed to have other varieties of food such as Starch, Fufu, Cassava flour, commercial caramel, animal feeds and lots more.

This should convince you that cassava business is a lucrative agricultural business to venture into.

starting a cassava farming business in nigeria

Cassava now has different breeds that could be harvested between 6month, 9month and the highest one is 18month.

Most people are now avoiding the breeds that takes too long to be harvested.

Cassava can be planted alone or alongside with some other kinds of crops that could fetch money before the harvesting period of cassava itself. Such crops could be vegetables, groundnuts, Maize or upland rice.

Steps By Step Guide To Start Cassava Farming Business In Nigeria

  • Site selection
  • Cassava variety selection
  • Healthy Cassava stem(s)
  • Fertilizer application
  • Why you need to work with experienced farmer
  • Cassava marketing
  • Business mindedness

Site Selection:

It is very important to select a good land for your cassava plantation to get maximum result.

Cassava thrives well in a loamy soil. The land should not be slopy or slant, not a valley or depression areas that can get eroded easily. Cassava also don’t like a waterlogged area because it will not allow the root to develop well.

It is very important to know the history of the land, especially if it’s not a virgin land. Find out what crops was planted on it for some past years so you know what you can do to improve the soil if need be.

You can try out the following to improve the land that you perceive not to be fertile for cassava farming:

  • Get organic manure or inorganic fertilizers like NPK
  • Consider practicing mulching: this is system of covering the soil surface of your cassava with plant material for it to decay and become manure.
  • Plant other crops alongside your cassava plantation. Such crops could be vegetables, rice or maize, legume like groundnut or cowpea. This advantage of the intercrop on a land like this is that they will add nutrients to the soil.

Cassava Variety Selection

Research on cassava began in Nigeria in 1954 through the Focus Data Action and Response (FDAR), Ibadan, south western part of Nigeria.

There have been several varieties of cassava before their existence and those varieties have general reactions to disease and pests. Nevertheless, in 1967, there was breakthrough of new varieties which are 60444, 60447, 60506 and many others.

However, there was an outbreak of a cassava bacterial called Blight (CBB) in the year 1972 which really affected several species of cassava and only few species of 60306 and few other varieties survive the attack.

Research was however conducted at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to determine and improve on some varieties of cassava and was later released in the year 1976. The new varieties are named as; TMS 30110, TMS 300017, TMS 30572, TMS 30555, TMS 4(2)1425, TMS 30001, TMS 30337, etc

The farmers in Nigeria have embraced the improved varieties of the cassava stem because of their early maturity, weed suppression, and high yields. The varieties are different from each other in terms of their resistance to pest and diseases such as; Cassava Mosaic Virus (CMV), Cassava Mealybug (CMB), Cassava Anthracnose Disease (CAD), Cassava Green Spider Mite (CGM), etc.

If you are planning to use your cassava for garri processing, then you should carefully select the breeds or varieties of the cassava stem you will plant.

Things You Should Look Out For While Selecting The Varieties Of Cassava

Tolerance to pest, weeds and diseases: You should select the varieties of cassava that has a high tolerance to pest, weeds and diseases. Such plants most time do develop branches rapidly with a lot of leaves on them which will serves as a shade and cover the ground, thereby preventing weeds from growing up.

High dry matter: Carefully select cassava that has food quality and high dry matter to be planted. This is because cassava rich in dry matter has more starch and little of fiber in it. When you are processing the cassava, if the matter is low, the output that you will get will be low, majority of the content will become water and dry out during the processing stage.

Cassava that is edible should be chosen: You should choose the cassava that are edible, that can be cooked raw and eaten as food even without different processing stages. This kind of cassava are called the sweet cassava. The non-edible varieties are called the bitter cassava.

The table below shows the performance of some varieties of cassava in Nigeria with their code names.

VarietyRoot yield (t/ha)% of checkHarvest duration (months)Root HCN content (mg/100g)Source of clone
TMS 4(2)142520.9211.19-153.12IITA
TMS 3000113.2133.39-153.95IITA
TMS 3057214.4145.59-154.99IITA
TMS 5039514.4145.59-154.99IITA
60506 (check)a9.9100.00015-184.51FDAR

Source: FAO

Healthy Cassava Stem(s)

It is important that you plant healthy stem cutting to help with reducing, controlling the spread of diseases and the damage that may be caused by pests. It is easier to get stem cutting from village market to buy or you can liaise with a nearby farmer that has healthy stem cutting for planting.

Make sure that the stems cutting are not taken from the extreme top portion of the stem (the green region or portion at the top of the stem). This is good because the stem will be prone to diseases and pests.

The stem should be cut with a stem cutter with 5-8nodes of 20 – 25cm long. If you notice any stem borne pest on the stem, ensure to dip it into diluted pesticide for about 5 – 10minutes or in a heated water.

Suggested Methods For Planting Cassava For High Yield and Production

The land or soil should be loosened up for root development and healthier storage of the root. This will also facilitate soil drainage.

How the cassava stem should be cut has already been discussed but in the course of transporting the stems, ensure that the nodes does not get bruised or damaged along the line.

The best way to plant the stem is to plant it vertically. You can either plant the stem cutting horizontally, vertically or at an angle.

Planting vertically may bring some difficulty in harvest period because the storage roots would develop deep into the soil and more closely together. Horizontal planting makes the roots develop narrowly to the soil surface and this is prone to attacks from rodents and birds because of its exposure.

Ensure to weed at appropriate time immediately you start noticing weeds in your farm. You can weed manually or use selective chemicals (herbicides) to spray the weeds so as to allow your cassava to grow well.

The best period to plant cassava is during the rainy season (especially during the early period of rainy season) because the soil will be easy to till and loosen up.

Also, the cassava would have grown well to a level that it can withstand drought during the dry season. Planting during the dry seasons could increase the chances of exposing the cassava to harsh weather and pest. The cassava can be processed into whatever form you chose after the harvesting.

Fertilizer Application

The condition of the soil will determine if you will need to apply fertilizers to your cassava. If the soil is fertile, you may not have to apply fertilizer to it and it will do well.

But if it so happens that the soil is not rich enough, you may consider applying the following fertilizers applications:

  • NPK 12 : 12 : 17 – 15 (50 kg) bags
  • NPK 15 : 15 : 15 – 12 (50 kg) bags
  • NPK 20 : 10 : 10 – 9 (50 kg) bags

The fertilizer can be applied at week 8 of planting the cassava.

The fertilizer should be applied in such a way that it will not make direct contact with the cassava. It should be 6cm and 10cm wide from the plant.

Pest and Diseases That Affects Cassava Farms

It is important to discuss about pest and diseases that could affect the productivity of your cassava farm.

Cassava anthracnose: this is a fungi disease that affects the stem of the cassava. It affects the cassava stem surface area.

Cassava bud necrosis: This is also a fungi disease that affects the stem by covering the buds of the cassava stem cuttings.

Cassava green mite: This can be found under the surface of young cassava leaves, green stems and the auxiliary buds of the cassava. Its damage symptoms are yellowish chlorotic leaf spots which can be found on the upper surface of the leaf, smaller and narrowed leaves, stunted cassava, or the candlestick of the shoot tip.

Spiralling whitefly: This is also called Aleurodicus disperses. This particular disease attacks the cassava leaves by sucking the sap. You can observe this disease at the under surface of the leaves and are mostly covered by some waxy secretions.

Why You Need To Work With an Experienced Farmer

It is important that you move closer to farmers who have been into cassava plantation if you are just planning to start cassava farming as a business.

They will be able to guide and share their experiences with you so you are better prepared. You will be able to call them for assistance whenever you are faced with any challenges on the farm.

Methods of Cassava Processing To Garri

There are two different ways of processing cassava into garri. If you want to produce garri in large scale, you will be looking at a mechanized method of processing to reduce stress and increase production.

The following are the machinery you will need for a mechanized way of cassava processing:

  • Cassava peeler or peeling machine
  • Cassava grater (stainless metal)
  • Cassava presser (Hydraulic)
  • Either Community Garri fryer (moulded with bricks) or Automatic Garri fryer
  • Cassava washing machine
  • Bag sealer or sealing marching

You can check for different machine in your locality that will not cost you too much or browse online to have a better idea of where you can get them and the likely price tag.

If you are planning to start a small scale or medium scale cassava to garri processing, you will only need labour to help you to process the cassava manually.

How To Process Cassava To Garri:

  • The first is to harvest the cassava and move it to where it will be peeled. It is preferred that you move it to where it will be processed.
  • After harvesting, the cassava should be carefully peeled without peeling deep into the cassava.
  • The cassava should then be thoroughly washed with clean water at least twice. After washing, it should be cut into smaller chunks for grinding machine to be able to grind it easily.
  • The next is to grind the cassava. After grinding, the ground cassava is then packed into sacks or long bags for pressing. It is taken to where the hydraulic press is and arranged properly and then pressed with the hydraulic pressing machine. It could take 6 to 8 hours or days on the hydraulic press depending on how watery the grinded cassava is and the kind of garri you want as the output.
  • After the cassava has been well pressed, it is then loosen and sieved with a garri sieve or taken to the cassava grinding machine for partial grinding just to scatter or loosen the flour for frying.
  • The filtered cassava flour is taken to the place where it is finally fried. A high degree of fire is required. However, those who are used to manual frying knows when the fire should be reduced so that the garri will not burn.
  • After the garri is done, it is once again filtered or sieved to have a perfect garri.

Now, your garri is ready and it’s set for market.

Ensure to package your garri in bags or you can have a special packaging technique for it with your brand name.

Now, don’t be in competition with those market women who sell at lower price. It is good if you can create a special market for your garri where those who knows the value will buy from.

There are several ready markets like this, all you need to do is to research them and get connected.

I wish you all the best!

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