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Cultivation & Harvesting Season

 Cultivation and Harvesting Seasons

To achieve the most productive harvests in both quantity (tuber weight) and quality (high starch content) two main factors are important: cultivation season and harvest time.

Cultivation Season
Tapioca is a perennial woody shrub. There are two main planting seasons; early wet season and late wet season.
Most farmers prefer the early wet season (March-May) when over 60% of the cultivation area is planted. Cassava plants grow strongly and constantly through the wet season giving high productivity. Harvesting is from November to February and can be extended to March and April.

     Planting during the late wet season is of a lesser extent because the early growing phases coincide with the dry season. Harvest time is from July to October.
     For cultivation during the wet season, fresh root yields are higher in quantity than can be obtained in the dry season, but for cassava cultivated in sandy loam during the dry season, higher root quality in terms of starch content is possible. Rainfall patterns and soil nature are two important factors to be considered when selecting the seasons for cultivation.
Harvest Season
     Harvesting normally takes place after the plants are 8 – 12 months old. Longer growth periods produce larger roots and higher quantities, but a balance can be attained where lower yields are compensated for by less field maintenance requirements. Roots should be harvested during the dry season where possible because that is when they are highest in starch content and it coincides with a period of high market demand, ensuring a better price.
     Harvesting after 12 months will give even higher yields but, depending on rainfall patterns, may give reduced starch contents as the plant will shed its leaves after 12 months then use the starch stored in the roots to grow new branches and leaves.