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Cassava farmers urged to avoid delayed planting .

Mr Mba Agu,an Agriculture Consultant, on Monday counseled Cassava farmers to plant cassava stems immediately it got to the farm sites to ensure better yield.

Agu, who gave the advice in Lagos, said that cassava stems often yielded better results when planted in time.

“Cassava stem has a life span of between five and seven days.

“We have always advised farmers to ensure that they plough and harrow their lands before coming to collect the cassava stems they have ordered.

“Farmers, who complained of low yields or problems with the stem, had such complaint because they did not heed to instructions,” he said

Agu maintained that farmers should prepare their fields and ensure that the land was ready before placing orders for the cassava stems.

“After ploughing and harrowing of the field, ridging follows; the farmer can collect the materials for planting.

“It is always good to plant as the ridging is going on,” the consultant said.

Agu, a former employee of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia, said that cassava stems were not materials that could be displayed on shelves like grains and seeds.

He said that once a farmer indicated interest for cassava stems, they could liaise with agriculture consultants or contract growers; place orders and pay.

“Then, they would be given a date for collection,” he said.

According to him, a bundle of improved variety of cassava stem sells for N1,000, while the yellow roots specie, fortified with Vitamin D, sells for N5,000 per bundle.

Agu said that 50 sticks of one metre-length each, made up a bundle of cassava stem.

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He said that the collection date was to ensure that the stems were ready for the farmers, adding that those who wanted them sent to their farms; would incur the cost of transportation.

He further advised farmers to always seek expert advice to ensure improved yields.

Agu said that cassava stems were also available at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), National Agriculture Institute, Umudike, National Seed Council and Agriculture Development Project (ADPs) and Cassava Growers nationwide.

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