Arrowroot Farming Basics

Arrowroot farming in Kenya is quickly gaining popularity because of its high demand and nutritional value. In the country, arrowrootA picture of arrow root farming in kenya farming is mainly practised in the Nyando and Ahero Muhoroni parts of Kisumu. This is primarily because arrowroots are water crops and thrive best where there is plenty of water.

However, it is essential to note that there are some varieties of Arrow roots {Nduma} that do not require to be planted in swampy regions. An example of this variety is the Burundi variety, a hybrid tuber that can grow in areas with limited water supply. 

Arrowroot tubers have grown in popularity over the last several years because of their health benefits. For example, arrowroot leaves are rich in vitamin B6 and C, fibre, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. 

Arrowroot Farming

Preparing the Waterbed

To plant arrowroots, you must make holes with 9 by 9 inches spacing. The gap should have 150 ml of organic fertiliser to increase the productivity of the farm. If you are planting on 1/4 of an acre, you can prepare up to 10 moisture beds, with each bed holding around 220 arrow-root corms.

The Farmer has to water the bed at least once every week for optimal yield. If the beds have been planted during the dry season, we advise you to mulch the beds to prevent evaporation. Mulching also helps control weeds making your work much more manageable.

Soil Requirements

Arrowroots thrive better when planted in well-drained loamy soil. Avoid planting arrowroots in clay soil because they cause poor rhizome development. As a result, the rhizome becomes deformed and breaks during harvesting. Also, when planting, avoid shaded areas as these can reduce yield. 

Land Preparation

Plough and Harrow two to three times when preparing your land until it is deep enough for tuber growth. It is important to note that you do not need to plant arrowroots along a river bed because of a new technology known as Upland arrowroot technology

When using the Upland arrowroot technology, the farmer we’ll have to create trenches lined up with polythene paper. The polythene paper is filled with manure mixed with soil at a ratio of 2:1. 

It must be noted that using this technology is not an excuse for not taking care of your plant. Irrigation must be done at least once every seven days, and the soil pH must be 5.5m – 6.5.

Irrigation and Fertilization

Your arrowroot farm should be irrigated at least every seven days for the soil to have enough moisture, especially during the early stages of the growth cycle. Arrowroots will respond well to both organic and commercial fertilisers. Using commercial fertiliser should be applied at 300 kg per hectare if you are using commercial fertiliser. 

Arrow Root Pest and Diseases

Like other plants, arrowroot tubers are also prone to attack by pests and diseases. However, if you identify these diseases before they cause havoc on your farm, you can rest assured of a bountiful harvest. Some of the most common pests that you need to know about are:

Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial wilt is caused by a pathogen known as Xanthomo Maranta, and it affects the vascular system of the roots. Avoid planting in areas where the disease has been previously detected. If you spot infected plants, they should be immediately burned.

Leaf Mosaic Disease

Leaf mosaic disease is caused by vector insects such as aphids which transmit the disease from an infected plant to a healthy plant. The most common symptom of leaf mosaic disease is the presence of small whitish dots on the leaves. 

Banded Leaf Blight 

This disease is caused by a fungus that affects the leaves of other plants such as citrus plants, sugarcane and rice. The disease is caused by a fungus known as Thanatiphou and the 

Leaves of an infected plant become necrotic and rotten.

The best way to control this disease is by foliar spraying using fungicides such as cooper, Maneb, and ZIneb.

Harvesting ArrowRoots

Arrowroots are ready for harvesting within 8-12 months, depending on the variety planted. If you harvest the roots after the 11th month, you will most likely get higher yields than those who harvest after eight months of planting.

In addition, tubers harvested after the 11th month have 25% more starch content when compared to those harvested in the 8th month of planting. The best way to know if your farm is ready for harvesting is to look at the colour of the leaves. Harvest when most of the leaves turn yellow and have shrunken.

Tubers have several uses, the most common being a source of natural carbohydrates. They also produce superior starch that bakers use to make biscuits, pudding, and cakes. The tubers can also be boiled or roasted and used as a bread substitute in the morning.

If you want to know more about arrowroot farming, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation session. 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lodrick

    I would like to know more about disease control and identification of varieties given the nature of mixed varieties or cross breeds that are in western kenya

    1. safiorganic

      kindly contact our agronomist via : 0726204112 or 0725778829

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