Cassava, Manihot esculenta is an important food crop grown and eaten in many areas of the tropics. In tropical Africa, it is used in the preparations of many foods. The young leaves of cassava are nutritious vegetables. It also has the potential to supply cheap raw materials for industrial uses and livestock production.
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In Ghana, it is grown in all the agro-ecological zones but yields better in deep-loamy with good fertility and drainage. Even under harsh environmental conditions (low rainfall and low fertility) cassava will provide some food when other crops fail.
The two(2) acre cassava demonstration is part of Agrihome’s Ten-year development plan to demonstrate the cultivation of cassava under the no-till technology.
ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT
We adopted No-till technology under Conservation Agriculture. We cleared the land and left the vegetation residue on the field. This has several benefits to the soil and plants.
Field after clearing, applying the no-till technology
The quality of planting materials is very vital to good cassava farm establishment, so we selected disease free and healthy planting materials and planted by September 25th, 2015. The cuttings were 20-25cm long. Planting was done by September 25th, 2015 at a planting distance of 1m×1m. The variety planted was Bankyehemaa.
We carried out first weeding on the 24th and 25th November 2015. Due to the low incidence of rainfall, we left the grass (as shown in the picture above) until a couple of weeks after sprouting to help conserve moisture. We then slashed the grass to reduce competition with the cassava and also serve as mulch.
Field at first weed control after planting.
Field was ready for 2nd weed control in the 6th month after planting. The cassava looked very healthy. During this stage, the cassava had quite some amount of rains and was very important to reduce competition with weeds as much as possible.
Field at 32 weeks after sprouting. The field withstood the dry spell between the October 2015 and March 2016. Notably, the application of no-till, under conservation agriculture on the cassava demonstration field helped in moisture conservation making the the cassava thrive throughout the dry period.
The field was harvested on 26 September, 2015 (1 year after planting). Yield was approximately 27.0 t/ha (10.8t/acre).
KEY OBSERVATIONS DURING THE YEAR OF CULTIVATION
- No observed disease presence above soil level.
- Harvested roots showed not sign of disease.
- Presence of mulch cover from cleared vegetation.
Read more on cassava here;