INTENSIVE CASSAVA PRODUCTION: CROP FOR THE FUTURE

  • J.G. Adiele National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria
Keywords: Potential yield, food security, nutrient dynamics and modelling

Abstract

Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is a major staple food in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), providing an important
source of calories and options for food security for the increasing population. It is a warm season crop, with
unique and useful environmental physiological traits, including the ability to produce in marginal soils, and yield
even under conditions of extreme drought. Analysis of literature was carried out to understand the crop's yield
potential, since there is wider recognition of cassava as a crop of choice for climate change adaptation strategies
and to increase food security in the near future, particularly in (SSA). Literature study includes: cassava
physiology, yield potential, crop characteristics for potential yield, understanding the nutrient dynamics, and
modelling of cassava growth and yield. The study indicates that cassava has a high yield potential of over 90 tons
ha-1 of fresh storage roots (32 t DM ha-1) in a year, and high nutrient use efficiency. This suggests that some crop
parameters used currently in cassava growth simulation models require modification. Good estimates of potential
yields provide important benchmarks for realistic yield targets and understanding of yield gaps with local
relevance. The increasing demand for cassava offers farmers the opportunity to intensify production, earn higher
incomes, and boost their food supply. Therefore, the use of inorganic fertilizers, following 4R nutrient
stewardship (right amount, right time, right place and right source), is inevitable to sustainably improve
productivity in the future. Also, understanding the dynamics of nutrient requirements and the impact of uptake
limitations of cassava during the growth cycle enables prediction of cassava yields under nutrient limited
conditions, and may provide insight in best management practices to improve nutrient use efficiency. Knowledge
of nutrient (N, P and K) demand and uptake patterns under deficient conditions in cassava can be used to develop
a simulation model. After testing the model, it may be used for many purposes, including: generation of crop
responses for series of years in order to characterize cassava growth and nutrient uptake, provide locationspecific
fertilizer recommendation, and extrapolate from the studied area to other areas where less detailed
information is available. Increasing cassava yield requires an in-depth understanding of limitations in growth.
Therefore, researchers need to adopt a wholesome approach in developing useful technologies for good
agronomic practices that will support sustainable cassava production and bridge the large yield gap.

Published
2020-08-30

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 0300-368X