Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world. It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporter of dried cassava.
Altitude: 0-1500m above sea level
Rainfall: 1000- 1000mm but can tolerate low rainfall since it’s a drought tolerant crop.
Soils: Performs best in deep well drained, light textured soils of intermediate fertility. Has high tolerance to acidity and optimum pH is between 4.5 and 6.5
Varieties In Kenya
Coast region: Kaleso (46106/27), Guzo, 5543/156, Karembo, Karibuni, Nzalauka, Shibe, Siri, Tajirika, KME 1, KME 2, KME 3, KME4, KME 61, Mucericri, kibandameno.
Central and Eastern Regions: KME 1, KME 2, KME 3, KME 4, KME 61, Mucericeri, Ex-Ndovu
Western and Nyanza Regions:12200, Tereka, Serere, Adhiambo lera, CKI, TMS 60142, BAO, SS4, Migyera, 192/0427, MM 96/7688, MH 95/0183, MH 96/4466, MM 96/5280, MM 96/9308, MM 96/7151, TME-14, MM 96/9362, MM 96/4684, MM 96/1871, MM 96/4884
Seeds and Seed rates
It is propagated from stem cuttings .A plant population of 10 000 plants per hectare is economic and gives a good crop stand. Stem cuttings for seed should be 25 – 30 cm long i.e. 5-7 nodes
Spacing and depth of planting
It is planted on ridges about 1m apart but may be planted on flat land in deep sand soils. Spacing is 1m by 1m within and between ridges, 2/3 of the cutting must be buried in the ground and the remaining part exposed above the ground.
Soil fertility and fertilizer management
Apply 300kg/h of NPK (6:17:15). Optimum N application is 60kg/ha.
Weed management and Control
The crop requires 3 hand weeding. First at is done 3rd -4th week, second weeding 7th -8th week and 24th -25th week after planting.
Cassava green mite: Practice early planting, plant resistant varieties
Cassava mealy bug: Plant resistant varieties, hot water treatment of cuttings before planting.
Red spider mite: Plant tolerant varieties, clear the pest with a suitable miticide eg dynamec
Cassava mosaic virus: Plant resistant varieties, use healthy cuttings, crop rotation, observe field hygiene.
Bacterial blight: Use healthy cuttings, crop rotation, observe field hygiene, plant resistant varieties
Cassava brown streak: Use healthy cuttings, crop rotation, observe field hygiene, plant resistant varieties
Harvesting and storage
Most varieties mature at 8-16 months after planting however some can be harvested as early as 9 months. Harvested tubers are highly perishable and can not be store for more than 2 days in fresh form, only processed cassava is stored.
High yielding improved varieties can yield up to15- 50t/ha (fresh weight) depending on the variety and crop management.