Ghana’s growth can be greatly enhanced by accelerated agricultural development. Agricultural outputs underpin many industrial operations in this country and beyond. Cassava is one of the easy-to-cultivate crops in this country, yet with numerous uses and a promising yield. It is able to withstand the weather conditions in Ghana. There are now numerous varieties of the crop that are suited to the conditions of sub-Saharan Africa and at the same time able to give high yields at harvest. Cassava production is now a lucrative business compared to other crops and even non-farm businesses.
The cassava farming business has several contiguous phases, from land preparation to harvesting. To remain in this business, the operational activities need to be handled seriously and some knowledge on the cultivation would help. However, it does not require everyday attention to do well. The cultivation includes clearing land, preparation for planting, planting, periodic spraying and then harvesting after 10 months.
There is a cassava processing company in Ghana that processes the root crop into starch for industrial use. This is then used for various products such as some of the beer we see in our bars. This presents farmers and others looking to invest in the business with an almost guaranteed market for their harvest. However, the right variety of cassava must be chosen and cultivated in a manner that results in a good harvest. We have gathered information and estimated that it will cost about GHc1,050 to cultivate an acre of land which is expected to yield between 8 to 10 tons of harvest. The price paid for a ton is about GHc180. There are however new species that have the potential to yield above 12 tons per acre. The business should start with at least 30 acres, in order to cover certain fixed cost within a reasonable time.
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
Pests and disease remain the major challenge in this business. However, with the right information and farming practices, these could be reduced to the barest minimum and can actually be eliminated. Another identified challenge is acquisition of land located within a reasonable radius of a buying company.