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How To Start Cassava Farming Business In Nigeria

Cassava Farming

Cassava farming is a profitable agribusiness in Nigeria and is a source of livelihood for millions of farmers. Also, cassava serves as a primary staple food to over 800 million people worldwide.

It is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is used for producing food products like garri, flour, tapioca, fufu, chips, e.t.c. It is rich in vitamins, carbs, calcium, etc.

Cassava farm
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Cassava plants can be planted alone or together with other crops like maize, groundnuts, vegetables, and rice. There is a ready market for cassava and its farming is not very labor-intensive like some other food crops.

Are you looking for a profitable agribusiness to invest in? Cassava farming is a good option. In this article, I will highlight everything you need to know about the cassava farming business in Nigeria.

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Cassava Farming In Nigeria

Cassava (Manihot esculenta) also called manioc, mandioca, or yuca is a plant extensively cultivated in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is mostly cultivated in tropical regions.

It is a major source of calories and carbs widely consumed in developing countries. Also, it is a good source of dietary fibre, rich in vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, thiamin, folic acid, manganese, potassium, and other important nutrients. The tuberous roots are used for cassava flour, bread, tapioca, garri, fufu, laundry starch, and alcoholic beverages.

Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporter of cassava with most of it going to Europe. In 2017, Nigeria produced 59 million tons making about 20% of global world production. Besides, it exports about 3.2 million tons annually and earned $136 million in 2013.

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Uses Of Cassava

The cassava plant, leaves and roots are all useful and important. For instance, fresh cassava roots can be processed into different food products fit for human consumption and for local/export markets.

The leaf is a nutritious vegetable rich in protein. The unpeeled roots can be grated and dried for use as animal feed and the stems can be sold for planting.

In addition, dried roots can be milled into flour. And, the flour can be used for bread baking in place of wheat flour. The fresh roots can also be sliced thinly or into larger spears to make chips or french fries.

Also, the roots can be peeled, grated, and washed with water to extract the starch which can be used for fufu, pasta, crackers, tapioca e.t.c. Additionally, cassava can be processed industrially and used for paper-making, textiles adhesives, high fructose syrup, alcohol, e.t.c.

Now, we are going to explore the basic steps you need to follow to venture into the cassava farming business.

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A book on cassava farming

How To Start Cassava Farming Business

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Business Registration

Business registration is essential in running a business in Nigeria. The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is an authorized business registration agency in Nigeria. You can decide to do a business name registration, or a private limited liability company depending on the ownership structure.

You can log on to the CAC website or reach out to ReDahlia. ReDahlia offers business consultation services and will proffer solutions to your business challenges.

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Business Plan

A business plan is a document that states the aims, vision, objectives and the best way to achieve it. Creating a business plan for your cassava farm will give you access to grants, bank loans, and other government financing opportunities available to farmers.

A cassava farming business plan can have the following outline;

  • Industry Overview
  • Executive Summary
  • Vision Statement
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Market Analysis
  • Sales and Marketing Strategy
  • Publicity and Advertising Strategy
  • Financial Projections and Costing
  • Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

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Startup Capital

In case you are worried about capital for cassava farming, the Nigerian government makes financing available to farmers. The government through the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) provides agricultural loans to farmers. Therefore, you can take advantage of this opportunity to start your cassava farm.

Also, you can reach out to investors or perhaps family and friends who may be interested in investing in your farm. The business plan will help you sources for funding if you do not have enough funds to start.

The start-up capital will be for land acquisition, land preparation, labour, working tools and equipment, cassava stem, operational cost, advert, e.t.c

Some of the equipment are;

  • Tractor
  • Soil cultivator
  • Plough
  • Harrow
  • Broadcast seeder
  • Planter
  • Sickle
  • Sprinkler
  • Mower
  • Truck
  • Wheel Barrow

As soon as the start-up capital is ready, the next thing is to swing into action.

Select a Good Location

In all agribusiness, the choice of land is important, and it’s the first step in cassava farming. Cassava is usually planted on lands with deep well-drained loamy soil, adequate rainfall, and warm/moist climatic conditions. This is because loamy soil is rich in nutrients, low in gravel, and easy to till.

Therefore, before you settle for land, do a soil test to determine the texture and the richness of the soil. Besides, in a case where you don’t find a fertile land with rich soil, use the following fertility treatment to improve the soil nutrients;

  • Apply manure, organic/inorganic fertilizers to the land
  • Practice mulching; covering the soil surface with plant materials.
  • Plant cassava with other food crops like maize, rice, vegetables, legumes, e.t.c. These crops will make and release nutrients into the soil and help the cassava plant.

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Steps to starting a cassava farming business

Select The Variety To Plant

There are varieties of cassava planted by farmers e.g TMS 30110, TMS 300017, TMS 30555, TMS 30001, TME 419 e.t.c. Your selection will determine the yield.

Some cassava varieties are known to have a good yield, grow fast, are resistant to pests and diseases, and are widely accepted by the masses. Hence, in choosing, make a careful selection to avoid loss.

First, ensure it comes with good food quality, good cooking ability, grows fast, has good ground storability, and is tolerant of pests and diseases.  Some of the basic things to consider are;

High in starch content and dry matter: The percentage of dry matter in cassava roots determines the quantity and quality of the products obtained after the roots are processed. Also, the cassava variety that bulk early is better because they are able to make up for losses in storage root yield which might be an impact of weed competition, leaf-feeding pests, and disease. For instance, TME 419 is the best variety that meets these requirements.

Tolerant to weeds, pests, and diseases: Cassava varieties that are tolerant of weeds, pests, and diseases grow and branch early. They are able to expand their branches and leaves rapidly to shade the ground and prevent weeds from growing.

Edible: The storage roots of edible cassava can be cooked without processing and is sweet. The non-edible cassava is bitter.

Ground storage capacity: Good cassava can be in the ground without getting spoilt, damaged, or decayed until harvested. This will increase the yield and give maximum income.

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Select Healthy Cassava Stem Cuttings

Cassava stem cuttings are used to grow cassava crops and it has a great impact on the growth of the plant. A healthy stem can reduce the spread of pests and diseases and can improve the yield of the plant.

In the initial stage, cassava stem cuttings can be gotten from farmers or from the markets. Subsequently, you can begin to get from your own farm. First, you will need to cut each stem to a length of at least 20 – 25 cm with about 5-8 nodes.

Cassava stem cuttings taken from the top green portion of stems or extreme bottom of stored stems might not be suitable. This is because they might dehydrate quickly and produce unhealthy sprouts. Also, they might easily be infested by pests and diseases.

Planting of the cassava stem cutting can either be vertical, horizontal or at an angle into the soil.

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Plant The Cassava Crop

To plant, certain things need to be considered such as the land tillage method, the seedbed type, the time of the year, the method of preparation, e.t.c. Planting should be done when the soil is quite wet, after the beginning of the rainy season.

Plant the cuttings in mounds or in ridges and put them well into the earth, leaving only 2 or 3 buds above the ground.

After planting, depending on the soil, you may need fertilizer to boost the soil and production. It can be applied after about 8 weeks of planting. It should be a ring, 6cm wide and 10cm from the plant or spread with care around the plant. Just ensure the fertilizer does not stay around the cassava stems.

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Weed, Disease and Pest Control

Weeds, pests and diseases can affect the growth of cassava.

Therefore, it is important to weed when the cassava plants are 20 – 25 centimetres high. i.e  3-4 weeks after planting. Then, 1-2 months after the first weeding.

Also, when the soil of the mounds gets too hard, break it up with a hoe, so that water and air can get in to nourish the roots.

In addition, diseases like mosaic and rot can reduce the cassava yields, therefore, you must ensure that you do not plant cassava varieties that have been infested.

Also, control pests like rodents, insects, etc, by laying traps or digging deep ditches around the cassava plantations or perhaps spraying insecticide around the plant.

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Harvesting

Cassava can be harvested as soon as the roots have gotten a sufficient amount of starch which is always about 7 to 12 months after planting. It can be harvested as soon as the storage roots are large enough.

First, the upper parts of the stems with the leaves are removed before the harvest. Then, the roots are harvested by hand lifting the lower part of the stem, pulling the roots out of the ground, and removing them from the base of the plant which can be done manually or mechanically. Care must be taken to minimize the damage to the roots.

During the harvest, cassava stems cutting is done for the next planting season. They are propagated and kept in a protected location to prevent desiccation and then used for the next season. 

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Marketing

Any business that wants to grow beyond its locality must invest in market promotion and advertisement.

Depending on the scale you want to operate, you can build a website and leverage internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, e.t.c to promote the business.

Create a business card, flyers, and handbills with a unique logo then distribute them around your environment. Also, as the brand continues to grow, make sure all facilities and equipment are branded.

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Conclusion

Cassava farming can create a huge profit if the right variety is cultivated with good farm management skills.  If you take note of the above factors, it will bring in good yields at the right time.

So, if you are interested in starting a cassava farm, now is the time to start.

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2 thoughts on “How To Start Cassava Farming Business In Nigeria”

  1. I find this cassava business easier than I thought after reading this article and I think this is my time to take a step

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