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Cassava Production: Site Selection and Land Preparation


Cassava is one of the important rot crops in the Philippines because of its many uses. Aside from being used as food and feed ingredients, cassava is also used in the manufacture of industrial products. It is also used as raw material in the production of ethanol. Moreover, cassava can be processed into different food products with higher economic value. The demand for cassava as raw material for industrial uses dramatically increased. However, this demand is not fully satisfied due to low cassava production. Cassava or Kamoteng Kahoy is included as one of the country's major crops under the Agri-Pinoy Corn Program and the Department of Argiculture's Food Staples Sufficiency Program as an alternative for rice, with the end in view of minimizing rice importation. Cassava provides the highest yield of food energy and is a staple food for more than 500 million people in the world. Cassava root is very rich in starch and contains significant amounts of calcium , dietary fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. A recent study conducted in the Philippines showed that significantly decreased cholesterol levels, decreased low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (considered "bad" cholesterol), and may help lower triglyceride levels due to its high total dietary fiber content. Other study shows that cassava also helps support the nervous system and helps alleviate stress, anxiety and bowel syndrome. Cassava also has many benefits as a drug, with varied uses for rheumatism, headaches, fever, wounds, diarrhea, intestinal worms, dysentery, night blindness, and beri-beri. Site Selection
Cassava is a tropical and sub-tropical plant. It grows in regions with more or less evenly distributed rainfall through out the year. An ambient temperature that ranges from 25- 30 degree celcius. Cassava thrives at sea level to 845 meters above the sea level. It grows best when planted at the start of the rainy season.
  • Flat or undulating slope (not more than 15%). If the slope of the area is very steep, use water and soil conservation techniques (Example: Sloping Agricultural Land Technology or SALT specifically the establishment of contour hedgerows).
  • An open field.
  • Sandy loam to clay loam soil.
  • Soil pH ranging from 5.5-6.5.
  • Enough rainfall or water source that can support the growth of cassava plants throughout the year Cassava plants produce low yield and deformed roots when subjected to drought stress especially during the first 3 months after planting.
  • A well-drained area; no waterlogging for more than 24 hours Young cassava plants (1-3 months old) will have stunted growth while mature cassava plants will have rotten roots when waterlogged for more than 24 hours.
Land Preparation Plow and harrow the field twice using a tractor or animal-drawn plow and harrow. Do these operations when there is enough soil moisture. Plow the field at least 6 inches deep. Preparation of Planting Materials 1. Select only physiologically mature, fresh and healthy stems.
  • A stem is healthy if it is free from insects, pests and diseases and its diameter is not less than 1.5 cm.
  • A stem is fresh if the latex or sap comes out within 3 seconds after cutting. 
Stakes cut from healthy stems free of pests and diseases have a higher rate of sprouting and produce higher root yields
2. A stem is mature if the diameter of the pith or cork is not more than half the diameter of the cortex.
3. Cut the stems using a sharp bolo.
4. If planting is delayed store the stems under a cool and shady place. Storage under such condition is possible up to one month. In storing, make sure that the base of the stem faces the ground.
5. Do not let the stems lie on the ground to avoid sprouting of the eyebuds. A cutting with sprouted eyebuds easily dies when exposed to sunlight.
6. Cut the stem into stakes 15-30 cm long. A cutting or stake must have at least seven viable nodes.
7. Handle the cuttings properly. Do not throw them to avoid damage of the nodes.
Planting Cassava Planting of cassava is best done at the start of rainy season and following the planting period in your place. Below are some important points that must be considered in planting cassava.
1. Before planting, make ridges 15-20 cm high at a distance of 75100 cm between ridges.
2. Plant the seed piece vertically/slanting on ridges. Cuttings can be planted in vertical, slanting or horizontal position. If planted in vertical or slanting position, 2/3 of the length of the cutting (approximately with 3-5 nodes) must be buried in or covered with soil.
3. Be sure that the cuttings are in upright position during planting.
4. Plant one cutting per hill at a distance of 50-75 cm between hills and 75-100 cm between rows. Monitor dead cuttings 2-3 weeks after planting. Replant dead cuttings immediately.

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