African Organic Agriculture Training Manual: Cassava Crop Management
Next to yam, cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a commonly produced tuber crop in Africa. It can be used as food and as a cash crop, feed for animals and as a source of industrial raw material. In sub-Saharan Africa, cassava is mostly used for human consumption in various forms ranging from boiling the fresh tuber to processing it into cassava flour. Cassava tubers are an important source of carbohydrates while the leaves, eaten as a vegetable, are a good source of protein and vitamins. Cassava is grown mostly by small-holder farmers as an important food and as a cash crop. According to FAO’s estimates, the average fresh tuber yield of cassava under traditional farming practices in sub-Saharan Africa ranges between 5 and 8 tons per hectare. This is much lower than its potential yield capacity of 40 to 60 tons per hectare.
Learning targets for farmers:
- Understand the relevance of proper site selection, cultivar selection and preparation of planting material for yield improvement
- Recognize potential for crop rotation improvement
- Learn locally adapted combinations for intercropping cassava
- Understand the relevance of proper soil fertility management for improved cassava cultivation and options for its implementation in the local context
- Understand the relevance of and the approaches to proper pest, disease and weed management in cassava
- Identify strategies to reduce harvest and postharvest losses.