Cassava Farming Business 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 the tropical region.
It is a major source of calories and carbs widely consumed in developing countries. Also, it is a good source of dietary fiber, rich in vitamin, 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.
See also: Cassava Farming Business Plan in Nigeria
Cassava farming in Nigeria
Cassava farming is one of the most profitable agribusinesses in Nigeria and it 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 plants can be planted alone or together with other kinds of 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.
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 leaves are 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.
You can also read our Groundnut Farming Business Plan in Nigeria
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.
How To Start Cassava Farming Business In Nigeria
Business registration is essentials 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 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 business challenges you may be going through.
A business plan is a document that states the aims, vision, objectives and the best ways 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;
You can also read our Pig Farming Business Plan in Nigeria
Roles and Responsibilities
Sales and Marketing Strategy
Publicity and Advertising Strategy
Financial Projections and Costing
Sustainability and Expansion Strategy
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 source 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;
As soon as the start-up capital is ready, the next thing is to swing into action.
Select a Good Location
In all agribusiness, 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 is easy to till.
Therefore, in getting a land for cassava farming, 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 on 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.
You can also read our Goat Farming Business Plan in Nigeria
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 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 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.
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.
At 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 cuttings can either be vertical, horizontal, or at an angle into the soil.
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, method of preparation, e.t.c. Planting should be done when the soil is quite wet, after the beginning of the raining 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 round the plant. Just ensure the fertilizer does not stay around the cassava stems.
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 centimeters 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 penetratet 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 spray insecticide around the plant.
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 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 manually or mechanically. Care must be taken to minimize the damage to the roots.
During the harvest, cassava stems cutting are 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.
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 around your environment. Also, as the brand continue to grow, make sure all facilities and equipment are branded.
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.