Cassava is a valuable source of cheap carbohydrate. Cassava is also one of the most drought resistance crops and can be successfully grown on marginal soils, giving reasonable yields where many other crops do not grow well. It goes in many tropical countries and forms a stable food crop of highest potentials in many part of this country.
Cassava contains some poisonous substance called PRUSSIC acid. Those that contain more of the acid are called Bitter Cassava, this has to undergo some process before consuming. Those with less of the poisonous are termed Sweet Cassava. They are linked with yam qualities and can be boiled or eaten directly. The sweet cassava is referred to as Manihot pamata while the bitter cassava is the Manihot utilissima.
Varieties of cassava
Lots of varieties are grown in south and east. Common ones are;
- Ofega (southern)
- · Olupon
- · Panya
- · Soko
Improved varieties are;
- TMS 30572
- TMS 30555
- TMS 30211
- TMS 419
Cassava production requires good soil or land preparation and this varies from one climatic zone to the other, soil type, topography and vegetation. Maximum tillage is advised because cassava is a heavy feeder and the more the soil is pulverized the bigger the tuber.
These are obtained from matured stems ranging between 8-18 months depending on variety. They should be protected from direct sunlight which dehydrates it and cause loss in viability. Best materials are obtained from newly harvested stakes. The cuttings should have between 5-8 nodes and with a minimum length of 15cm.
Other planting materials include; the use of seed, though the rate of maturity is very slow. Tissue culture and rapid multiplication technique are used on research stations.
Planting startsat the beginning of the raining season that is march and stops at the end of the raining season, September. But one can plant anytime if there is adequate moisture for the cuttings. The plant should be planted early to ensure that they are exposed to as many rain as possible.
The cutting can be planted using the following ways;
- Planting in a slanting position of 45o
- Burying the stem in the soil exposing only about 2/3 of the stem.
- Horizontal planting
Where cassava is grown as a single crop, spacing normally varies between 90cm and 100cm. however, when inter-cropped with other crops a wider spacing is adopted.