Cassava farming and Cassava processing ranks the most profitable agribusiness ideas in 2020 considering the Corona virus pandemic and global economic meltdown which have created huge opportunities in this agribusiness sector in Nigeria.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria imported agricultural products valued at N239.9 billion or 85.1% of total agricultural trade in Q3, 2019.Wheat was one of the major products imported mainly from United States and Russia worth N26.7 billion and N19.1 billion respectively. Companies such as Dangote, OLAM, and Honeywell import wheat into Nigeria to produce products like bread, biscuits, and Spaghetti noodles. Food industries (bread, snacks, pasta and instant noodles) in Nigeria spend over $4 billion per year importing wheat flour to produce their products.
It is estimated that local manufacturing of products that can substitute for imports (e.g. HQCF for wheat, cassava starch for corn starch, cassava ethanol for other ethanol) could save an estimated $217 million in foreign exchange annually.
Also, the price of crude oil at the global market has crashed to $20 per barrel and the impact of this will be felt on our foreign exchange as it will be difficult for food industries to continue importing wheat flour considering the crash in the economy, they will rather choose wheat substitute for their production. The right wheat substitute is Cassava Flour.
Kick starting cassava farming and Cassava processing into other products such as; flour, chips, and starch is a great business opportunity with huge market demand. Companies such as Dangote, OLAM, Honeywell and others will be in high demand for your products. There is a big opportunity for cassava farmers and processors to take advantage of.
USES OF CASSAVA:
- Cassava has competitive advantage over other arable crops because its stem is used as propagative materials unlike other arable crops like yam, cocoyam, and maize.
- Cassava can be processed into other edible forms like flour, garri, tapioca, fufu, starch, etc.
- Cassava flour can be used in the production of bread, snacks, pasta, noodles, biscuits, and other confectioneries.
- Cassava root starch is used in a wide array of industries, including food manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, plywood, paper and adhesives, and as feed stock for the production of ethanol, bio fuel.
Step by Step on How to Start Cassava Farming
Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a major staple food known to play an important dietary role in the diets of almost 1 billion people worldwide.
In Nigeria, Cassava is one of the important crops and major staple food. Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with about 45 million metric tonnes.
The steps involve in Cassava Cultivation Include:
- Land Acquisition: The first step is to acquire suitable farm land for your cassava farming venture, the size of the land depends if you are going to embark on small or large scale farming. You could lease or procure depending on your financial capacity. Cassava requires high level of sunlight and high temperatures, adequate soil fertility and rainfall. That is why cassava if heavily grown in the southern part of Nigeria. Cassava can tolerate drought but performs well at annual rainfall of 600 -1500mm and temperatures of 25 -29’C. Cassava can be grown on moist soil, clay loam soil that is well drained.
- Land Preparation: You have to clear the bushes before planting, plough to loosen the soil and improve drainage. Make ridges of about 075m – 1m apart. While you are preparing the soil for cassava farming, mix the soil with compost to increase fertility.
- Planting of Cassava Stems:Use Improved Varieties: Improved varieties boost production. The improved cassava varieties as developed by Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Nigerian Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike. The two varieties are as follows: UMUCASS 42 and UMUCASS 43. These two varieties are characterized with yellow root and moderate levels of Pro –vitamin A. Both varieties produce high yield, high dry matter and are resistant to diseases.
According to Dr. Peter Kulakow, IITA Cassava Breeder. The potential maximum yield of the two varieties is between 49 and 53 tons per hectare, according to pre –varietal release trials that were conducted between 2008 and 2010 local varieties produce less than 10 tons per hectare. The improved varieties are also resistant to major pests and diseases that affect cassava in the country including Cassava Mosaic disease, cassava bacterial blight, cassava anthracnose, cassava mealybug, and cassava green mite.
The optimal cassava plant spacing is 1 meter by 1 meter apart along each row and across ridges or mounds.Cassava can be intercropped with other annual crops such as maize, rice, sorghum, to minimize soil erosion that can occur when cassava is grown alone. Ensure you are planting cassava stem cuttings you cut from plants that are up to 8 – 18 months old. Use a sharp machete or cutlass to cut the stem. The cuttings should be about 20-25 cm in length with 5 or more nodes.
There are three methods of planting cassava
- Horizontal Planting Method
- Vertical Planting Method
- The inclined Planting Method
Horizontal planting Method: Horizontal Planting is where the stem cuttings are buried 5 – 10 cm below the soil surface in dry climates and when mechanical planting is used. Adopting this method produces multiple stems and more tuberous roots but they are relatively smaller in size. However, in loamy and rich soils the multiple stems and roots are at an advantage resulting in high yields.
Vertical planting Method: Vertical Planting method is used during the rainy days that the stem cuttings will not rot if the soil is constantly wet.
Inclined planting Method: Inclined planting Method is where the stem cuttings are inclined at 45o in semi-rainy areas, leaving 2-3 nodes above ground level. The inclination of the stem and roots provide leverage which makes harvesting easier than in the other orientations. Plant early in the morning or late afternoons when the sun is cool to prevent excess heat from heating the crop. Replace all cuttings which did not bud after two weeks of planting.
- Weeding of Cassava Farm:You can use hoes or cutlass to weed your cassava farm but for a large scale, use tractor operated weeders. Cassava requires approximately 3 months of weed-free condition for optimum yield. Use a contact and pre-emergent herbicide to control weeds for the first three months of growth. Apply post-emergence herbicides as soon as weeds begin to emerge after the pre-emergence herbicide treatment.
- Fertilization Application: Cassava responds favorably to added fertilizer e.g. potassium but when you apply to much fertilizer it leads to leaf growth and low root formation and increase the root cyanide content.The first dose of NPK fertilizer is applied around 4-8 weeks in the ratio as determined by the soil test. Place fertilizers 15cm to 45cm from the base of the stem in drill holes – 10cm to 15cm deep as this method tend to reduce fertilizer loss through runoff water. A second dose of your fertilizer application should come up by 16 weeks after planting significantly increases the yield of roots and enhances tuber bulking. For effective absorption of fertilizer nutrients into the soil, do not apply fertilizer when the soil is dry
- Harvesting of Cassava : Your Cassava tubers becomes mature and ready for harvesting around 8 – 18 months after planting. The exact time for harvesting cassava depends on other factors such as the environment and the agronomic practices adopted.
- Marketing: As a cassava producer, to really benefit greatly from the sale of cassava tubers, marketing to cassava processing industries will give you high profit compared to selling to the general market. This will lead to higher income for you. Looking for the list of companies interested in buying raw cassava roots, click here.
Three ways to profit from Cassava:
- Become a cassava producer: There is a huge demand for cassava tubers and becoming a cassava producer you are going to make lots of profits especially in this season of economic downturn. Producing on a large scale will go a long way to boost your income and profits. You can directly sell to companies, off-takers or processing firms. Over 600 million persons depend on cassava for food in Africa. Cassava is basically one of the important staple foods consumed by almost every household. Global Cassava Market is predicted to reach a market value of USD 4.5 billion by the end of 2024. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) launched digital tools that assist cassava producers boost their productivity and enlighten them on good agronomic practices. Discover these digital tools that you need as a cassava producer.
- Start Processing Cassava Tubers to Starch, Flour and Chips: Agribusiness processing is where the bulk money is. Transform cassava tubers to other value added products such as starch, flour and chips are another untapped goldmine. Cassava tubers are readily available, cheap and affordable. But the wealth that could be generated from processing tons of cassava to starch, flour or chips is 75% greater than what you earn when you are just a cassava producer. There is growing demand for cassava flour due to as a result of its household demand, industrial purposes and nutritional value. High demand for bakery, confectionery, and snacks items is boosting the sale of cassava products. Cassava processing is one of the biggest agribusiness opportunities in 2020, as companies such as textile industries, food industries, are readily in need of cassava flour, starch and other bye products. The global cassava starch market size is predicted to reach USD 66.84 billion by 2026.
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- Market Cassava Products:
As a Cassava marketer, you will link producers to the end users. You could connect cassava producers to companies and make your profit. Also, you could leverage on Information Communication to create an online agribusiness marketplace place and connect producers to buyers on the platform and charge for your transactions.
There are three major ways you could profit big from cassava business, either as a producer, processor or a marketer. The market is large.
What are the end products of Cassava?
Cassava usage is versatile and it contains high starch content. Cassava can be transformed into four important products:
- Cassava Chips: are commonly used for production of animal feeds domestically. Chips also account for the majority of cassava traded internationally, as they are stable intermediary product that can be shipped and then converted to final products like starch and ethanol.
- High –quality cassava flour (HQCF) is utilized largely as a composite flour for bread, biscuits, snacks and pasta. It can also be used as a glue extender in the production of plywood, when it is available at a lower cost than other flours.
- Starch: is used extensively in the food and beverage industry, in the manufacture of culinary cubes, powdered drink products, and others. Starch is utilized in the pharmaceutical, textile, adhesives and paper/corrugated board industries. When processed further, native starch can be converted to modified starches like glucose (and related sugar syrup, maltose and fructose), sorbitol and dextrins. These products have countless uses across industries, including as sweeteners in the food & beverage industry and as other inputs for manufacture of personal care products like toothpaste, cosmetics, and medicines.
- Ethanol: is used in the spirit distilling industry. Ethanol can also be used as a fuel, for cooking and for blending with gasoline in vehicles. These products demonstrate the high potential cassava has for value –addition and use in industry.
In conclusion, to increase productivity, adopting modern cassava production technologies is a must as a producer. The modern cassava production technologies involve using improved varieties of cassava stems, insecticides, inorganic fertilizer, tractor, appropriate spacing, planting date and tillage practices (agronomic practices).
CASSAVA PROCESSING BUSINESS PLAN
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Kindly share this post with your friends that might be interested in agribusiness. Embrace cassava farming and processing today and begin to create wealth and employment opportunities.
Wishing the very best in your endeavor.