Harvesting plays a critical role in the cassava production value chain. A review of some existing cassava harvesting options is necessary to facilitate the proper adaption and uptake of improved harvesting methods applicable to farmers from different parts of the globe. In terms of capacity, manual, semi-manual and fully mechanised harvesting options respectively require about 22–51 man-hha-1, 16-45 man-hha-1 and 1–4 man-hha-1. An added advantage with mechanised options is that the field is left ploughed after harvesting with savings on fuel, time and cost. Mechanised harvesters work best on ridged fields with minimal trash or weeds and relatively dry soils (12–16% d.b. moisture content). Earlier attempts at mechanised harvesting have been affected by constraints such as soil characteristics, nature and size of tubers, depth and width of cluster and bond between tubers and the soil, leading to high tuber damage. Though less research attention is given to cassava harvesting mechanisation, that aspect of the global cassava transformation agenda has always been the problem. There is still room for improvement in the provision of appropriate harvesting options for cassava worldwide and a more concerted effort from both the government and private sector is vital.
Part of the book: Cassava