At a time when the economic situation in Nigeria has been unfavourable to a whole lot of citizens, it is important to tie down the little funds that comes our way by investing in lucrative businesses, most especially the agricultural sector. One of those agriculture related business to be considered is commercial plantain farming.
Commercial plantain production is without doubt one of the most lucrative agri-business ventures. A lot of entrepreneurs have always over looked this money spinning venture due to lack of the knowledge as most people always feel that a lot of money is required to set up a plantain plantation, which is definitely not true.
Commercial plantain production is relatively easy to start once certain factors which I will be discussing in this post are taken into consideration.
Just like every other business, hardwork, dedication, careful planning and management are essential for success, but another thing that makes this venture very easy is that there is no repeat of planting. Planting is done just once, after which it is harvest all season.
Another important aspect of this business is that aside the plantain fruits that are produced for sale, healthy suckers are also sold every season, which is also another source of income.
Another reason why it is important to consider this business is because of the high demand for plantains in Nigeria. It was reported in a 2010 study by the Department of Agriculture, Benson Idahosa University, that the annual production of plantain in Nigeria is over 1.85 billion kg.
Despite this massive amount of local production, it is surprising that the country doesn’t export plantain. This is simply because the amount produced is only enough to satisfy local demands.
This highlights the great economic potential of plantain production. The market for plantain is readily available as it is regarded as a staple food in this part of the world.
It is mostly prepared by frying, boiling, steaming or roasted with charcoal. It can also be used to make chips. Plantain are also being processed into flour which is consumed locally and also exported from to other countries.
The plantain market is young and uncrowded, that’s the major reason why I decided to put up this post to educate prospective investors on the major points to consider while planning to venture into this field. Below are a list of the most important points to consider.
1. Get a Land
This is the first step in the process. Getting a suitable land with suitable soil is paramount to the success of this venture.
It is important to get lands that are easily drained as young plants don’t do well on water logged soil. It is also important to consider the size of the land.
Most ideal for beginners hoping to go commercial is 1 to 2 hectares. Also important is fencing the land against thieves.
2. Land Preparation
This is the process of preparing land for a new farm operation, it involves clearing bushes, removing stumps, trees, stones, rocks and every other obstacle that may reduce the size of crop producing land.
This can be done with the help of manual labour or mechanized labour, although the choice of labour depends on the size of the land. Land preparation also involves application of manure to enhance land fertility.
3. Get Healthy Plantain Sucker
Plantains suckers are juvenile plants that can be nurtured into mature fruit producing plants. These suckers should be bought from reputable farms.
Ensure that suckers are well treated to avoid pests and diseases. Averagely, a conventional sucker is sold between N50-N100 and while hybrid is between N150-N200. Although, this depends on your source and location.
4. Plant The Sucker
When planting the suckers, ensure that the space between each plant is about 8 to 10 feet. Also ensure that there is no form of grass or weed competition prior to planting as presence of weeds and grasses greatly affects the development of young plants. This can be controlled manually or by the use of herbicides.
The young plants should watered regularly and kept moist but not necessarily wet or water logged as plantains don’t do well in overly wet conditions.
5. Plant Care
The plants should be cared for by making sure every weed and grass competition is eliminated. It is also important to manure plantains with a combination of poultry manure, household wastes and woodash.
This is known to improve plantain growth and yield. A compound fertilizer can also be applied when necessary. Irrigation should also be applied periodically to wet the plants and soil. During irrigation, it is necessary to avoid water logging.
After about 8 to 10 months of planting, the fruits should be ready for harvest. One good thing about this is that there is no need to replant suckers after harvest is that this plant is capable of consistent production for nothing less than five years.
It is important to have a carefully structured market plan before the plants begins to produce as plantain is a highly perishable food.
If the farm is not situated close to the market, it is important to make transportation arrangements beforehand. Your products can also be directly supplied to local companies that process plantain into flour.
Right now , I’m quite sure a lot of you are itchy and ready to venture into this Agribusiness. For that reason I wil make available the potential cost analysis to setting up a plantain plantation in Nigeria.
Land clearing: This is between N3000-N5000 per plot. Although this depends on the
location, and the thickness of vegetation.
Land preparation: This includes farm layout, pegging e.t.c it is done at N500 per plot.
Sucker procurement: A conventional sucker is sold between N50-N100 and while hybrid is between N150-N200. Although, this depends on your source and location.
Planting: This is averagely N50 per sucker. This activity involves digging and planting of the suckers. Althought the cost normaly soars depending on the hardness of the soil. For a hectare of land, you will be planting at least a thousand suckers.
Read Also: How To Start Beans Farming In Nigeria
Procurement of fertilizer: NPK 50kg is sold for N6000 and urial is N7000. For a farm of one hectare, 50 to 100kg fertilizer is suitable depending on the fertility of the soil.
Procurement of poultry waste: It is very important to fortify your soil and plants with organic manure such as poultry wastes.
The current price per 50kg bag is N500 although this depends on your location. The amount needed depends on the fertility of the land, but if fertilizer will also be applied, then 1000kg/ha is enough to enhance the fertility of the soil.Click here to see the latest Jobs opportunities in Nigeria.
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