Cassava cultivation has become a widespread crop in Africa, with Nigeria being the highest producer of cassava in the world, driven by increasing awareness of its health, nutritional and industrial benefits. Cassava is an important crop, as the roots are processed into starch, cassava flour, fufu and garri.
Cassava serves as a raw material in the production of garri, fufu, high quality cassava flour, starch etc. These finished food products of fufu and garri, are not just a staple food in Nigeria but also a daily meal. It constitutes a daily meal to over 150 million people worldwide. They are popular West African food. It could be compared to what potato flour is to the Westerners. You cannot claim to have eaten any West African food without having eaten Garri or fufu.
Cassava also can be processed into flour. Used as raw materials for confectioneries and other baking uses, while the starch serves as raw materials for pharmaceuticals, food production, cosmetics production etc.
Cassava is propagated through its stem. This has therefore increased the demand for cassava stem for its commercial production, with about 7 million hectares being planted with cassava, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
How to grow cassava stems:
To plant cassava, push into the soil the end of the piece of stem that was nearer to the ground.
Plant the cuttings in mounds or ridges. Plant when the soil is quite wet, after the beginning of the rainy season. Plant the cuttings either straight or slanting. Push them well into the earth, leaving only 2 or 3 buds above ground.
Cassava cuttings may be planted straight or slating.
Press the earth well down round the cuttings. Then the roots that develop will be well nourished by the soil.
Usually the rows are 1 to 1.5 metres apart, and the plants 1 metre apart.
With this spacing, there are between 7,000 and 10,000 cassava plants to the hectare.
But the number of cuttings to the hectare varies with the region, soil and variety.. lf cassava is planted at the right density, the yield is heavy; the roots occupy all the soil and fewer weeds
grow, so that fewer cultivation are needed.
Cassava stems are obtained from previous cultivated fields, cut to length of about 1meter and tied into bundles comprising of 50 stems each.
Cassava improved cultivar stems available ranges from TME 419, TME 581, TMS 1632 and yellow cassava (Vitamin A).