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New arrow-roots Varieties That grows on Simple Moisture Beds

Arrow-roots farming

Murithi an arrow root farmer in Imenti, Meru County harvests more than 5700 kg or arrow-roots s s every eight months. According to muriithi, the arrow-roots  that he grows does not require much water but yields in plenty. The crop is planted in what he calls moisture beds lined with polythene. The polythene prevents seepage of water while the top is mulched to prevent moisture loss.

According to Kiambi an expert in arrow root farming, a farmer needs 11m by 2m polythene liner, organic fertilizer, well-composted manure, ash and arrow-roots  corms to start. Each moisture bed measures 10m by 1.2m. You remove about 0.3m of the top soil, which is then mixed with manure. Five wheelbarrows of manure are required for one moisture bed that costs about Sh5,000 to prepare.

The polythene liner is laid on the floor of the bed and covered with the soil mixed with manure. A farmer has to apply ash on the soil to regulate acidity as well as control worms that destroy the tubers.

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Waterbeds

After watering and saturating the bed, you should make holes spaced 9 by 9 inches. You then plant the arrow-roots  corms while putting 150ml of organic fertilizer in each hole. Up to 10 moisture beds can be prepared on a quarter of an acre, with each holding up to 220 arrow-roots corms. With good husbandry, a farmer can harvest tubers weighing up to 2kg per corm, which translates to an average of 400kg per bed in six to nine months, earning Sh20,000.

A farmer has to maintain the moisture by watering the beds once every week and mulching with grass during the dry season. The size of the bed allows for weeding and harvesting without stepping on it. Mulching helps to control weeds, increases warmth in the bed and prevents moisture loss.

Three months after planting the arrow-roots  corms, a farmer should add three inches of soil mixed with manure on the beds to get bigger tubers.

How To Establish An Arrow Root Farm

How to Prevent Pests and Diseases Affecting arrow-roots

End users want bigger tubers. Earthening up ensures that we have tubers measuring 4 by 9 inches and weighing 2kg. That is good quality for the local and international market. As the crop grows, one should scout for pests and diseases like tuber rotting caused by worms that bore into the produce. The worms are kept at bay by use of ash to lower soil acidity, which makes them thrive. Withering of leaves before maturity is an indication of pests and diseases.

Before harvesting, starve the beds of water for two weeks to allow them to harden. This gives room for the tubers to shed much of the water and develop a floury texture when cooked. The moisture bed is watered on the harvesting day to ease uprooting of the tubers

The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, copper, and manganese.

 

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How To Establish An Arrow Root Farm

Why You Should Grow Arrow-roots

  • It is a low perpetual herbaceous plant with thick, plump and crawling roots and long white filaments and is a decent source of flour.
  • Arrow root flour has a high business esteem in the universal market since it is best ingredients in making amazing biscuits and cookies.
  • Can grow anywhere if there is moisture in the soil
  • It is not influenced by many diseases or pests
  • Little agronomic practices

Varieties of arrow roots

  • Tissue culture variety
  • Cuenca strain
  • Indigenous Variety
  • San Pablo

Read: Here Are The Things To Consider When Establishing Drip Irrigation In Your Farm

Basic Requirements for Arrow root farming

  • Arrow root thrives anywhere provided there is enough moisture in the soil for its normal
    growth and development.
  • It grows best in places where rainfall is uniformly distributed throughout the year.
  • The rhizomes are resistant to inclement weather and can stay long in the soil.
  • They germinate in the same area where they have been planted.

Soil Requirements for arrow root farming

  • Arrow root requires a friable, well drained loamy soil. However, soil at the foot of the
    hills, in valley and newly opened areas are preferable.
  • Clayey soil must be avoided since it induces poor rhizome development and usually cause
    the deformation of the rhizome which tends to break during harvesting.
  • It is advisable to plant this crop in an open field provided there is sufficient moisture
    throughout its growing period. Planting in partially shaded areas can also be done but
    with reduce yield.

Read: 7 Requirements Of Successful Bee Farming, Number 3 Is The Most Important

Land Preparation and planting

  • Prepare the land by plowing and harrowing two or three times depending upon the soil
    Plow deep enough to provide favorable condition for better root development.
  • Arrowroot can be propagated by suckers and rootstock or rhizomes with two or more
    nodes each.
  • Two suckers may be planted to a hill at a distance of 1.0 x 0.75 meters. Under poor soil
    condition, the hills should set closer about 0.75 x0.30 meters apart.

Irrigation and fertilization of arrowroots

  • No irrigation needed provided there is enough moisture in the soil especially at the early
    stage of growth.
  • The crop responds well to fertilization.
  • Compost or commercial fertilizer can be applied tothe plant.
  • An application of 300 to 400 kg of 14-14-14 per hectare is recommended.

Weeding and Cultivation of arrowroots

  • Simultaneous weeding and cultivation must be done during the first three to four months,
    depending upon the weed population in the field.
  • Alternate hilling-up and off-barring must be employed until the plants are bid enough
    tocover spaces between rows.

Harvesting of arrow roots

  • The crop is ready for harvest 8 to 10 months after planting.
  • Produces higher yield when harvested in eleven to twelve months, with higher content of
    starch content (25%).
  • Like any other root crops, it is harvested by passing a plow close to the furrows, exposing
    the tuberous roots, then cut-off the stem.
  • Harvesting with the use of a fork may also be done on by pulling up the whole plant in
    case of sandy loam soil.

Uses of Arrow Roots

  • The rhizomes of arrowroot, comprise of an effortlessly processed starch when extracted is a source of a dry white powder. This powder is a source of one of the purest type of natural carbohydrates.
  • Superior quality starch is utilized as a part of making a top of the line scones, baked goods, pudding and cakes.
  • Its flour being exceedingly digestible and ready to prevent curdling is utilized for the most part for invalid’s also, baby’s milk.
  • It is additionally an amazing element for thickening ice-cream.
  • The rhizomes are great rice substitute or extender. The tuberous root can be eaten when boiled or roasted before they become fibrous, and taste similar if not better than corn.
  • Arrowroot is additionally a successful substitute for cornin broiler ration.
  • Other plant parts are superb roughage and silage for animals.
  • The fibrous materials remain after the extraction of starch can likewise used as dairy cattle feed.
  • Arrowroot starch also has demulcent properties and in some cases utilized as a part of the treatment of ailments of the intestine.
  • Powdered rhizomes might be utilized as poultice for wound and ulcers.
  • Plant leaves are infrequently utilized as packing materials, while the pulp is utilized as a part of paper fabrication, cardboard, cushions and wallboard.

Read: The Demand For Honey Is Big, How About You Think Of Bee Keeping

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Upland Arrow Root Farming Without a Swamp

According to Daily Nation (Seeds of Gold) arrowroot farmers in Kenya can now double their yields, thanks to a new high-yielding and fast-maturing variety from Rwanda that has an average yield of 3 tonnes per acre in just six months.

The variety is available at Kalro, Thika. This is good news to farmers who are currently harvesting an average of 1.68 tonnes of arrowroots from the same size of land in eight months.

The hybrid variety requires less water compared to the traditional one, which is popular in the Kenyan market hence can survive in semi-arid regions.

However, there is a sudden high demand for the tuber in the country due to increased health consciousness. Arrowroot leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals.

They are a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and zinc, and a very good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, niacin, potassium, copper, and manganese. Arrowroot corms are very high in starch, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

One acre of upland arrowroots technology grown tubers will accommodate 29,333 plants, which will yield 29,333 tubers sold at Sh 20 each, which translates to Sh 586,660 gross income.

Read: How profitable is tomato farming in a green house?

Technology

Arrowroots are traditionally grown along the river valleys and on wet areas. With the upland arrowroots technology, they can now be grown away from river valleys.

This innovative farming method can contribute greatly to food and income security, while helping in climate adaptation, bearing in mind many river valleys have dried up due to global warming.

Upland arrowroots technology involves planting the crop in trenches lined with polythene paper and filled with soil manure mixture at a ratio of 2:1.

Planting trenches are spaced at 0.5m. In this technology, crop and water management is done when avoiding stepping on the trench while weeding to prevent compaction.

Tubers grown using upland technology require ample moisture throughout the growing season and therefore, irrigation is required once per week. Soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is favorable.

Read: Different Types Of Poultry Farming And Their Products

How to plant Arrow Roots and manage it

  • Remove all weeds along the designated area and dig a straight trench, 1m wide and 60cm deep.
  • Remove top soil (40cm) and subsoil (20cm) put them in separate side of the trench, put the polythene sheet to line the trench.
  • Mix the top soil with manure and return the mixture in the trench leaving a depression of about 10cm, then wet to saturation.
  • Plant the suckers in a spacing of 30cm by 30cm inserting the plant up to 20cm.
  • Spacing between beds should be 0.5m
  • Mulch the area when planting during the dry spell and water once a week to maintain wetness. Old and dry leaves should be removed regularly and corms are ready to harvest between six to eight months.
  • Finally, ensure the trench soil is always moist and should be watered on a weekly basis. Weeding should also be done frequently.

Maturity index

When mature, the leaves start shrinking. At that time of harvest, ensure the soil is moist to prevent breakage of the root tubers while uprooting. The arrowroots are now ready for the market.

Advantages of upland technology (mesophytes)

Security of the harvest is guaranteed since the crop can be grown on a normal farm. It curbs damage from floods and production is throughout the year and easy to enrich the soils by adding manure and making the trenches. With good management, there is higher yield since more suckers are produced and there is low labor requirement.

Varieties which can withstand conditions like those of mesophytes 

Eddoe type has small tubers and this is best for upland technology due to its productivity in low water. On the other hand, the Dasheen type has large tubers. It is reported that currently, a piece of Eddoe arrowroot is retailing at Sh80 while the Dasheen variety, which is a little larger is going for Sh100 in various markets in Nairobi. Just like Eddoe variety which can do well away from river bed, this hybrid variety has thin small leaves and deep roots to minimize on water use.

Source (Seeds of Gold, DN)