Read the introductory article HERE
Before you commence anything, and before you tie down any capital, be sure to have a piece of land on which you can cultivate. This can be bought outright or leased. Leasing is cheaper but outright purchase gives rest of mind!
Ploughing – this is the first real activity you do on your farmland.
By definition, ploughing means turning up an area of land with a plough (machinery) especially before sowing. Ploughing per acre should cost about ₦5000- ₦6000
Harrowing – breaks up and smooths out the surface of the soil. Hence, ploughing is deeper tillage of soil while harrowing is a shallow practice. Harrowing should be the same cost as ploughing. Same machine will be used, different teeth. Harrowing is done two weeks after ploughing.
Manure – If the land you wish to cultivate isn’t fertile, this may be the stage where you will want to improve the soil quality by introducing organic manure (relatively cheaper, works relatively slow, which ensures a deep and lasting effect, and it is eco-friendly). Depending on how bad the soil is, you may need to keep working in manure for the entire season.
Manual preparation – If it is just a small portion of land and tractor usage isn’t ideal, source labourers to clear the farmland of weed and trees – cassava does not need shade, in fact it cannot thrive under shade. So, all trees, if present, need to be chopped. There are chemicals that dry trees up too, by simply exposing a part of the bark and applying the chemical. Please note that clearing involves cutting the weed and packing it away from the planting site. Depending on how thick the bush is, the cost varies from ₦5,000 – 20,000 per plot.
Heaps/ridges – if you did mechanical land preparation, this should have been taken care of. Just plant along the ridges. If, however, you went manual, you may need to make heaps. I must note that not everyone opts for this, as it will be adding to expenses. However, as stated earlier, the softer soil is available to the tubers, the more they expand and grow hence, more yield for you. Currently, heaps are made at ₦2500/200 heaps (igba) and an acre can contain up to 20,000 heaps.
Herbicide – whether manual or mechanical land preparation is done, a round up (glyphosate based) herbicide is advised to be used before planting. Locals call this “pa Pata Pata” because its effect goes deep to totally kill weeds even all the way down to their roots beneath the soil surface.
The importance of this practice is to ensure that weeds don’t resurface for about a month, by which time the crop must have been established. The herbicide can be sprayed any time after harrowing, at 4- 5ltrs/hectare (Reconstituted). Afterwards the land should be left for about 10 days before planting.
This herbicide comes in bottles of 1litre at ₦2200-2500 each. Either mix 2 caps of the bottle into 1 full knapsack or 3 litres per drum. To be safe, please follow instructions as written on the container, because each herbicide varies from another.
Planting should be done about ten days after this step.
If the above step is skipped, apply selective pre-emergence herbicide e.g. primextra three days after planting at 5 litres/hectare (2 liters per acre)
Liming – this is recommended for acidic lands (pH test has to be done to ascertain this) whereby the liming process then neutralizes the acidity, to improve fertility and oxygen levels. Please, do not engage except it is necessary.
5x50kg bags is recommended per hectare (2 bags per acre)
*(All prices quoted are for farm settlements. Prices within town may vary)
TO BE CONTINUED
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