Boniface Omollo is a recognized cassava seed entrepreneur from Sijowa Village in Samia Sub County in Busia County. He has worked with organizations such as Redson Busia, KALRO Kakamega, IITA Kampala and PlantVillage Kenya in introducing improved and clean cassava varieties in Busia County. Over the years, there has been a challenge of accessing clean planting materials. As a result, farmers source cheap and diseased local cassava varieties from Uganda. Omollo has worked to provide a reliable source of clean and improved planting materials to others.
As we visit his farm, Omollo shares important steps of cassava farming;
Omollo prepares land by clearing grass and bush. He then ploughs the portion of land that he intends to plants and leave the plants remains on the field to decompose.
Selection of planting materials
Omollo selects clean planting materials with at list 3 nodes closer together. He has planted MM95/0183 used to make Ugali. This variety produces up to 50 tonnes of fresh tubers per hectares. For a seed entrepreneur, he recommends planting MH96/2480 variety that produces many stems.
PlantVillage Nuru mobile application has been effective in helping Omollo select clean cuttings to replant and multiply.
“I use the app to select clean cuttings to sell. I scan the leaves and it tells me which plant is healthy and which one is diseased. I then don’t sell infected cuttings.In 2020, I wanted to multiply seeds and I only replanted cuttings from plants that the app scanned and diagnosed to be healthy.
I can confidently say that the app is very useful to me as a seed entrepreneur.”
Spacing for planting
Plant at a spacing of 1m by 1m. For a seed entrepreneur, plant at a spacing of 1m by 0.5m.
“It’s not true that the higher the plant population the higher the yields. Follow the correct spacing to reduce competition.”
Weeding is done four times. Weed properly to avoid destroying the feeder roots and the storage roots. Ensure to do earthing up of cassava to allow room for tubers development.
Pest and diseases
Viral diseases affecting cassava include cassava brown streak disease and cassava mosaic disease. These diseases are transmitted by whiteflies.
''The most efficient way to control these is by using clean planting materials.’’
Improved cassava variety is ready for harvest at 8-12 months.
With high market demand for cassava in April, Omollo expects to reap a good income from the tubers and cuttings. “You make more money in cuttings than in tubers.” says Omollo.
In one acre one can earn more than 75000 shillings from selling cuttings and earn between 35000 to 40000 shillings from selling tubers. Cuttings is sold at 1 shilling while tubers is sold at 6 shillings per kg.
Boniface Omollo encourages other farmers to visit his farm and learn more on cassava production.
Written By;Mercyline Tata
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