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8 Steps To Start Commercial Orange Farming Business In Nigeria

Orange is one of the most popular fruits here in Nigeria. There is hardly a household in the country that doesn’t consume oranges.

The demand for Oranges in all parts of the country especially the cities, is always very high, thus making commercial farming of orange fruit a lucrative Agribusiness to consider.

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One good thing about this business is that planting is done just once, after which its all harvest. This continuous harvest commercial orange farming a means of earning continuous stream of income.

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8 Steps To Start Commercial Orange Farming Business In Nigeria
Orange Farming Business In Nigeria – Photo Source: https://www.pinterest.com

Orange is a very popular fruit here because of its health benefits. It is considered as a very good natural source of Vitamin C which is known to play some vital medicinal role in the body.

This includes cell protection, by neutralising free radicals; photochemical screening, prevention of kidney disease, wound healing and many others medicinal properties.

There are three major varieties of oranges, these are sweet oranges, bitter oranges, and mandarins. Sweet oranges are the most popular in this part of the world.

In Nigeria, sweet oranges can be eaten in its raw form, it can also be used to produce fruit juice and other end products like frozen concentrates, fragrant peels, pectin, flavours e.t.c.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization statistics, Nigeria produces about 3.4 metric tons of citrus fruits annually from about 3 million hectares of land, making it the 9 th global producer and the largest producer in Africa, followed by Egypt, Morocco and South Africa.

Bulk of the Oranges produced in Nigeria is produced in Benue State, other Orange producing States in Nigeria are Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Ogun, Osun, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Taraba, Ekiti, Imo, Kwara, Edo and Delta.

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Orange is a tropical fruit which means it can do well in most parts of the country so climate shouldn’t really be a problem for prospective investors.

This Agribusiness is also one which the market isn’t crowded, so while advising you to grab this opportunity, I will be listing the steps you need to take to ensure a successful start up.

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1. Make a Business Plan

This is very essential for the business as it lays down significant areas of the business in simple terms with the intent of making clear your chances of success in the proposed business.

Your business plan should consider the overall business description i.e the size of the farm, the market demand and a convenient and available market for your harvests.

Its also important to consider your competition, available funds in relation to the financial forecast and staff strength. This shouldn’t be discarded as an idea of what to expect beforehand is always priceless.

2. Get a Plan

After setting up a good business plan, getting a suitable land with suitable soil should be next on the road. Sandy loam is best for the cultivation of Oranges.

Another very important factor to be considered while choosing your site should be the site’s water retention. If the soil is not easily drained, then such a side is not suitable for Orange farming.

The chosen site should be easily drained. Also, soils with an underlying hardpan of about 1m or less to the top soils, or slain sites are not suitable.

Apart from these, citrus can be grown on a wide range of soil types. Most ideal size of land advised for beginners hoping to go commercial is 1 to 2 hectares. Also important is fencing the land against thieves.

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3. Land Preparation

This process is carried out to prepare the proposed site for farm operations. It involves clearing bushes, removing stumps, trees, stones, rocks and every other obstacle that may reduce the size of the available crop producing land.

It is very important to remove every tree that may form shades for the young plants as Orange plants are not shade-loving.

Land preparation can be done with the help of manual labour or mechanized labour, although the choice of labour depends on the size of the land. Do not forget that land preparation also involves application of fertilizer or manure to enhance land fertility.

4. Get Healthy Orange Nurseries

Orange nurseries should be bought from reputable farms. Ensure that these nurseries are obtained from a reputable source and are well treated to avoid pests and diseases.

Special hybrid species are normally sold for prices between N800 – N1000. Although, this may vary depending on your location and source.

5. Plant The Nurseries

It is very important to plough the land before setting up nurseries. It should be planted at times during the rain season when the rain has fully started.

Dug holes should be wide enough and deep enough to accommodate the entire root system. Averagely, the holes for planting the young plants should not be more than 3-4 inches deep, while also making sure that a 10-15 ft distance per stand is given to allow enough rooms for the plant to grow its branches. Ensure that the trees are planted no deeper than they had grown in their nurseries.

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6. Orchard Management

Make sure every weed and grass competition is eliminated. A regular weed control schedule should be adopted. Oranges are known to be susceptible to insect pest attack and fungal diseases at their various stages of development.

Therefore, it is important to be very observant. Insect pest attacks and fungal disease can be checked by applying certain chemicals at concentrations depending on the plant’s development. This should be done under the supervision of an expert.

Also part of the orchard management is fertilizer application, which is also very important to the survival and yield of the plants.

According to ICS-Nigeria’s (Information and Communication Support for Agricultural Growth in Nigeria) information on orange farming, fertilizer shouldn’t be applied in the first year of planting, although poultry manure can be applied. After the first year, it should be applied twice every year around June and September to obtain maximum benefits.

Irrigation is also necessary during the dry season as Orange trees are known to wilt during the dry season due to lack of adequate water. Plants should be watered atleast twice a week.

7. Harvesting

Normally after about 2 years, the trees should start producing fruits, although not in very large quantity, but the yield is expected to always increase at every harvest season.

One good thing about this Agribusiness is that there is no need to replant trees as they wil be there to consistently produce for as long as the owner desires, so long maintenance is taking seriously.

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8. Marketing

It is important to have a carefully structured market plan before the plants begins to produce as orange is highly perishable.

Your market should be readily available. It is also important to make transportation arrangements beforehand. Local companies that need oranges as raw material for manufacturing other products can also be contacted before harvest to strike up a supply deal. A well structured storage facility is also very important as it will directly reduce losses related to spoilage.

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Adegbija David

David is a content developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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