Here in this post, we are going to give you a detailed guide on steps to start palm kernel farming in Nigeria. We hope you find this informative.
Palm kernel (or palm oil) as it commonly referred to in Nigeria is a reddish liquid substance that is used in domestic cooking in most Nigerian homes. Scientifically, it is regarded to as Elaeis guineenisis.
A common variety in Nigeria is the Tenera which is erect and bunchy in nature. Naturally, this type of palm fruit is used mainly for the production of mesocarp oil and palm kernel. The palm fruit is clustered closely at the base of the main stem.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the steps involved in setting up a palm kernel farm in Nigeria.
How to Start a Palm Kernel farm in Nigeria
1. Determine the type of production scale
One of the common mistakes prospective farmers make is not deciding earlier on what type of farming scale they wish to venture into.
Being certain about the type of farming scale (i.e. small or large-scale) you would wish to start will help you determine the cost, profit and other miscellaneous items to ensure a successful business outcome
2. Source for good land
To establish farmland, the entire farm must be properly surveyed. Certain factors are considered when choosing good farmland. These factors are:
The soil is the part of the outer layer of the earth’s surface that is formed from a mixture of minerals and decaying organic matter. It is the normal medium of plant growth.
Plants receive their water and nutrient supply from the soil, therefore, good soil is important for the production of good fruits.
Good soil is properly aerated and allows for smooth passage of water and other nutrient materials. It constitutes a balanced ratio of sand, clay, dirt and humus which provides the micro and macronutrients needed for plant growth.
Water-logged land areas are not suitable for farming especially areas that are prone to erosion. Erosion can take away plant nutrient and weaken the root of the plant destroying it. Plants need to have a well-drained soil that will retain some moisture.
A most clayey soil will not be suitable for palm kernel production because it absorbs too much moisture and does not give room for the plant roots thereby retarding the growth of plants, rather than benefitting them.
Topography refers to the outer features of the earth’s crust and it includes the shape of the land compared to its underlying rocks of the earth crust.
The shape of the land affects the rate of transportation and the quantity of water in the soil. Surfaces with slopes tend to facilitate erosion and soil formation.
A table-land exposes the entire land surface to various environmental factors such as erosion and delays soil formation.
Climate changes should be taken into account when deciding on good farmland. The elements of climate that are most relevant are rainfall, temperature, wind. Relative humidity and sunshine are closely related to them.
The level of rainfall will determine the type of soil that is formed. Usually, palm kernel seeds flourish in areas where rainfall is 1520-1770mm.
The role of temperature in the growth of the palm kernel cannot be undermined. Most seeds will germinate at a temperature ranging from 38-40 degrees Celsius, which is fairly high.
Windy regions can affect the growth of palm kernel because soil materials will be constantly moved from one location to another, thus decreasing the nutrient content of the soil.
Sunshine will catalyze photosynthesis in the plant and increase the temperature in a place.
Usually, palm kernel plantation is usually grown out in areas that are in the outskirts of town considering its height and potential life-risk if an accident should occur.
Nevertheless, a suitable land area must be located in an area that is accessible to buyers in order to ease transportation and carriage of materials in and out of the farm. Good farmland has to make economic meaning.
It is completely necessary to have fore-knowledge about the history of your land-in-view. Knowledge of the previous landowners will also be useful.
Understanding the water, temperature and tide patterns will help to give foresight into what species of plants can thrive there.
For the best result, virgin forests are preferred to soils that have been cultivated. This is because it reduces the risk of soil nutrient removal and future environmental problems.
3. Source for viable seed:
Using a good seed for planting ensures genetic and physical purity of the palm kernel. It also gives the desired plant production.
It helps to provide a good root system and strengthen the plant. It also ensures that plant growth is uniform and timely maturity. Good quality seeds provide resistance against pest and diseases ensuring plant longevity.
Good viable seed should have:
- long shelf life
- Great vigour
- Large field establishment
- High market value
- Good shape, proper size and colour
- Balanced moisture content for storage
- High physical purity
- Free from pest and disease
- High genetic purity
4. Farm financing
Before starting a farm, you need a reliable source of capital. It will enable you to plan and expand the scope and volume of production.
The uses of capital in palm kernel farming cannot be thoroughly exhausted. There are several sources of capital such as:
- Commercial bank
- Co-operative societies
- National Directorate of Employment
- Private money lenders
- Thrift and savings society
- Commodity merchant /Traders
Read Also: Prices Of Agricultural Machinery In Nigeria
Understanding The Processing And Storage Method
Palm Fruit Tree
The operations involved in the processing of palm fruits to palm oil and kernel can be briefly summarized thus:
Sterilization-stripping-milling-separation-pressing-clarification-storage-sale of palm oil
After sterilization, the kernels are allowed to dry for some days in order for it to get softer and make extraction easier.
The fruits are then stripped and re-sterilized for 30-45 minutes. The fruits are then milled and after milling the mesocarp is pounded until no trace of coloured outer skin is visible
The pounded mass is then sent to a press for the extraction of the oil. The extracted crude oil is clarified by boiling and slamming. The oil extract is stored in drums, tankers, tins or bottles and is ready for consumption and marketing.
Marketing is a means of increasing farmer’s income. To make the optimum profit from palm kernel farm business, you need to understand the intricate of marketing. This will aid in assembling and storage of goods. It will also enhance the assortment and presentation of goods to consumers.
Steps to Good Marketing Of Palm Kernel Oil:
1. Sorting, packing and processing
Researching various methods of processing palm kernel will help you to determine which method will produce the best results.
Consumers are less likely to purchase palm-kernel oil that does not have a bright-red colouration. Also, it is good business ethics to sort your goods to suit your various consumers.
This includes sorting, the palm kernel oil according to quantity, quality, size and other quantities which influence the commercial value of the product.
In a commercial business, the packaging is everything. If you choose to brand your product, ensure that the branding is distinct and registered.
2. Assembly and storage
The method you use to gather your palm kernel oil will greatly determine your profit/output. Engage in methods that do not allow wastage of palm kernel oil extract.
How you choose to store your finished will determine how good your sales will be. Palm kernel oil is best stored in air-tight containers and at room temperature to ensure its liquidity and avoid contamination
3. Advertising to create consumer awareness
Advertising is very important in expanding the market base of any business. You can make use of social media or media houses to inform others about your business.
Also, a means of increasing your consumer base is to give a discount on purchases. This will act as an incentive and will encourage prospective customers to purchase more palm kernel oil.
For a business to progress, its owner needs to place fixed prices on goods. So, no matter the type of product you sell, the price you charge your customers will affect the productivity of your business.
The basic rules of pricing state that; all prices must cover costs and profits, higher costs incur higher prices, and review market prices regularly.
One of the greatest mistakes most business owners make is setting-up a fixed price without considering cost and profit while hoping for the best. This is wrong and often leads to the untimely downfall of the business.
One of the major problems facing both palm kernel oil producers and consumers is the problem of transportation often created by distance.
In most cases, you would need to hire trucks and higher vehicles to ensure the safe transportation of your goods from one location to another.
In addition, you need to understand that while transporting certain risks may occur that can cost you some money. Understand that these risks cannot be avoided but only reduced.
When I say labour, I am not referring to only un-skilled labour but also those employed to fill-in critical business positions. You can ease the employment process by:
- Define the position
- Set a reasonable salary and incentives
- Advertise the position
- Establish a performance review
- Don’t expect them to do everything
- Don’t play favouritism
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