Plantain farming in Nigeria brings good profit to many entrepreneurs; it is one of the most common crops in our country. These plants develop in clusters and each mature bunch has several suckers that should not be cut. Some people make a big business out of growing plantains, while others just have a few plants in their gardens. If you would like to know how to start plantain farming in Nigeria, keep reading this article to get some interesting and useful tips.
Anybody can try their hands on agribusiness and make good profit; the main thing is to know its key rules and laws, and you will earn yourself a source of steady income without any worries. It is important to understand rules of maintenance carried out on farms, like weeding, cleaning, feeding the soil and harvesting.
In this article, we have considered the basic steps that will bring you closer to your goal.
1. Selection of land
If you plan to grow plantains, you should choose an area that is easily accessible and does not have sharp slopes. The land should be well dried, as plantain fairs poorly in marshy areas, shallow grounds or in places with constant water tides. It does very well loamy soils with a high content of loamy substances.
2. Preparing the land
You do not have to spend much efforts on processing. You can employ manual labor as opposed to mechanical cleaning tools. You need to keep the top layer of the soil with all the useful substances intact and avoid compaction of the earth.
Plantain trees are best planted with a space of 3 meters between rows and 2 meters inside a row. A hectare of land with intervals of 2,5 m and 3 meters between the rows can be used to grow 1320 plantain trees. Direct rows are more popular, as they allow sufficient air flow and good lighting.
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4. Selection of suckers for plantain cultivation
It is better to choose medium sprouts, not giant ones. Of course large plants give large fruits, but they are subject to adverse natural effects. For example, their leaves can be easily damaged by strong wind. In addition, you will have to wait longer for the fruits to grow and ripen.
You can use machete or shovel to harvest selected suckers, just be careful not to damage the root system. Then you need to clean the new seedling and remove the false roots. In such a case, it will be more difficult for diseases to attack the plants
5. Planting of suckers
This stage should be started after you have prepared the soil. The space for each landing should occupy 0.3*0.3*0.3 meters. Be careful when separating lower and upper soils. Simply put the root system in a dug hole and cover it with soil.
6. Time and conditions of planting
Plantains develop during the rainy seasons, however, you should not choose the last months of the season to plant. The ideal time is the beginning of the rainy season. Plantain needs up to 4 months to develop and suitable weather and atmospheric conditions will ensure a rapid growth.
Extremely cold or hot environments can damage your plants; the most appropriate condition for it is one between 26-30 degrees Celsius. Also be sure to prepare a good drainage system for this purpose. As for the sun's rays, the plantain can protect itself; as the plants grow in groups, their leaves cover each other. Having other trees surrounding your plantation is also an advantage.
You should however be aware that you will face great competition during sales period. If you want to deliver goods to the market when other people's stocks are already depleted, you can take the risk of planting your suckers in the middle of the rainy season.
7. Fertilizing and mulching
You must provide the plants with a sufficient amount of organic substances that contribute to their proper development in a suitable habitat. Add nutrient to the soil in the form of organic and inorganic fertilizers. It’s desirable to mix both for optimal efficiency since they each have unique advantages. You can start adding fertilizer to the soil one month after planting.
8. Get rid of weeds
It is very important to get rid of weeds because harmful plants can steal vital nutrients meant for your plants. Arrange the cleaning at intervals of 6-8 weeks. Choose a manual or mechanical method - as you like. Weeds will do less damage when the plants get stronger; which is about six months after planting.
9. Nutrition of the stem and fruits
As soon as your plants start sprouting fruits, you must maintain their growth in order to prevent damage and breakage before time of maturity.
This is the moment you waited so long for. It comes about 3 months after the appearance of fruits. It is necessary that 1 or 2 fingers turn yellow before you harvest.
As you can see, plantain farming is not as complicated as it might seem. We hope these tips were explanatory enough. Now you can start to work on your own farm in Nigeria and make profits.