Notes to broadcasters
Cassava is a major crop in some parts of Nigeria, and the country is the world’s largest producer of cassava.
In these spots, you will learn more about a variety of activities related to cassava, including:
- Site selection
- Land measurement
- Sourcing farm inputs
- Obtaining stem cuttings
- Applying fertilizer
- Using pesticides safely
- When to harvest cassava
- Market information
The spots vary in length from about 45-60 seconds and could be played multiple times during programs on cassava production and marketing. They could also be played at other times when farmers are listening, especially during important times in the seasonal cassava calendar.
Here are four tips to help you choose the best site.
First, look at the vegetation on the site. If it’s lush and green, the soil is fertile.
Second, consider the history of the site. If cassava has been planted there several times recently, don’t plant it again. If nitrogen-fixing crops like cowpeas, soybeans, groundnuts, or beans have been planted recently, that’s a big plus!
Third, consider the soil. Loamy soil is ideal because it drains well is not easily waterlogged, which causes cassava tubers to rot.
Fourth, how accessible is the site? Is it easy to transport tubers from the site to the market? Is it close to good roads that vehicles can navigate without damaging tubers? Can hired labour easily access the site?
Choosing a good site has many benefits. And it’s hard to overcome the disadvantages of a bad site.
But first, we need to prepare ourselves.
What do you think we need to know before we purchase farm inputs?
Here are five characteristics of a good stem cutting.
First, the spaces between the nodes should be close to the same size.
Second, there should be no cuts or other kinds of damage to the stems.
Third, the cuttings should be 9-12 months old.
Fourth, they should have five or six nodes.
And last, the stem should be cut in the middle, not too close to the ground and not too high up, so it is neither too woody nor too green.
If you remember these five things, you’re well on your way to a good cassava yield!
Here are four tips to get it right!
First, apply NPK 15-15-15 eight weeks after planting. Use 30 grams per plant or seven-and-a-half 50-kg bags per hectare.
Second, apply fertilizer in a circle around the plant or on the side of the upper third of each heap.
Third, ensure that fertilizer does not touch the cassava plant. And cover the fertilizer with soil immediately after applying.
Finally, make sure the soil is moist when applying your fertilizer.
NPK eight weeks after planting.
Apply in a circle or on the side of the heap.
Don’t let fertilizer touch the plant and cover it with soil after applying.
Apply fertilizer when soil is moist.
First, always wear personal protective equipment. Wear a mask, overalls, a long shirt, goggles, and gloves.
Second, ensure that, when you spray, you don’t face into the wind to avoid being soaked with spray.
Third, mark off sprayed areas with a rope, cloth, or other means and ensure that no livestock eat vegetation in sprayed areas.
Fourth, keep chemicals out of reach of children. Children should never spray pesticides. They are much more easily poisoned than adults.
Lastly, keep pesticides in their own containers in a locked room. And, to avoid accidental poisoning, never use containers that previously contained sugar, salt, oil, or other foods.
Farmers! Make sure that pesticides work for you, not against you!
Do you know how to access market information? Here are five ways:
First, talk to other farmers, with village processors, and with buyers.
Second, contact ADPs. They can help farmers identify trusted sources of market information.
Third, talk to input suppliers in your community.
The fourth way to access market information is by speaking with lead farmers and opinion leaders.
And finally, pay close attention to media such as radio, TV, and the internet.
Remember: good market information can mean the difference between profit and loss!
Contributed by: Vijay Cuddeford, Managing editor, Farm Radio International
Reviewed by: Bidemi Ajibola, Advisor, Cassava Value Chain, Green Innovation Centre for the Agriculture & Food Sector, Nigeria