Arrow roots – It is now possible to grow arrow roots away from river beds
Arrowroot is a traditional food in many cultures found in Kenya. The crop has been cultivated for a long time by small scale farmers who grew it to provide food for their families. Recently, arrow roots has seen a tremendous increase in demand in the urban areas as citizens have been sensitized to change their eating habits. Arrowroot is being preferred as it is grown organically hence no risk of chemical composition.
In Kenya, arrow roots farming has become a viable business venture due to its demand and has enabled farmers to reap an income from its cultivation since the market is readily available. The tuber crop is very nutritious and can be cooked simply. The crop which was seen as food for the poor has now found a place even in the five stars hotel and at a good price. With the increased demand for arrow root especially in the towns, the farmers are unable to meet the demand and thus more farmers are needed to grow arrowroots as an investment in a business.
Traditionally, arrowroots were cultivated only in the river valleys along the river beds since it requires continuous moist in the soil. However, through advancement of agriculture with the help of modern technology arrowroots can now be grown almost anywhere in most parts of our country- that’s the good part. There are varieties which have been introduced to be cultivated away from river beds. Eddoe variety with small tubers is suitable in many of the different ecological zones and can be cultivated away from river beds. This is unlike the large tuber variety, Dasheen, which requires large amount of water and is mainly cultivated near the river beds.
How to cultivate arrowroots
As a farmer wiling to venture in the growing of arrowroots as a large scale or small scale farmer, it is a necessity to grasp the best tips in order to have a good yield in terms of quality and quantity. Arrowroot farming requires just your attention mostly during planting.
During planting a good farmer will select suckers of high quality which are healthy and free from diseases.
Identify the portion of the land you want to grow your arrow roots. Dig a trench of 1m wide and the length of your wish. Dig the trench to a depth of not less than 60cm. Then put a large gauged polythene paper in the trench to prevent seepage of water.
Using a wheelbarrow put the soil of a medium tilth in the trench. The soil should be mixed with farmyard manure. The soil manure mixture should be put in the ratio of 2:1 respectively and then mixed proportionally.
After mixing the two water the trench to make the soil moist to ease planting of the suckers. Plant the suckers at a spacing 0f 30cm by 30cm and to a depth of up to 20cm. Mulching is done to prevent loss of water and reduce the emergence of weeds.
Ensure the trench soil is always moist and should be watered on a weekly basis. Weeding should also be done frequently.
Within a period of 3-6 months your arrow roots are ready for harvest. When mature the leaves starts shrinking. At the time of harvest, ensure the soil is moist so as to prevent breakage of the root tubers while uprooting. The arrow roots are now ready for the market.