How to start plantain farming in Nigeria – Basic Tips

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria – Plantains grow best in conditions where the soil retains water, that’s why plantain plantations in Nigeria are irrigated. You may not have the means to carry out irrigation so you should consider soils that retain water, have a good humus layer and you should always improvise by incorporating animal manure to the soil to improve on the humus and texture of the soil to retain water. You can also make your own compost by using chicken manure to increase its fertility


How to start plantain farming in Nigeria

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria
Step #1: Purchase suitable land to start your own plantain farm

Plantain needs the right kind of climate to grow- for it cannot survive in too hot or too cold environments. If you already have land you need to ensure that it meets these basic conditions.

Plantains grow best in conditions where the soil retains water, that’s why plantain plantations in Nigeria are irrigated. You may not have the means to carry out irrigation so you should consider soils that retain water, have a good humus layer and you should always improvise by incorporating animal manure to the soil to improve on the humus and texture of the soil to retain water. You can also make your own compost by using chicken manure to increase its fertility.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria

Step #2: Clearing the land

Once you have purchased your land, you will need to clear it.

Clearing of land includes removal of trees, brush, stumps and stones amongst other obstacles. This is necessary to increase the area of the land base for producing crop, or to make your land suitable for plantain farming operation.

Depending on your budget, available equipment and the location of your plantain farm, you can go for either manual or mechanised clearing.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria
Step #3: Prepping the land

Once the land for your plantain farm is cleared, you will need to take certain steps for making the land suitable for growing plantain. This is necessary for creating the right soil conditions for a healthy growth of these young plants, and to ensure that your plantain plantation is successful in the long run.

Land preparation should be done long before you start the process of transplantation of the plant suckers. Although this step may require significant efforts and investment, you cannot skip it, or you will have an unsuccessful harvest, which will set back your plans of owning a successful plantain farm.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria

Prepping the land will also enable you to structure and plan your farming operational processes and procedures.

The areas that you must consider are:

The availability as well as the quality of water for irrigation that you have
Mechanical actions that will need to be implemented and how they will be implemented
Selection of land
Any chemical requirements for improving the soil before transplantation
Equipment and tools that will be required for the cultivation of plantain
Labor and manpower requirements
Leaching schedule
Time schedule
Financial requirements
Hole preparation

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria

Step #4: Purchasing Plantain Suckers

Plantains are propagated vegetatively, from corms, which are underground bulbs or rhizomes or from suckers, which are shoots that grow from the bud that is at the plant base.

Plantain Farming in NigeriaSince the use of the entire corm is quite laborious, the more common method is to grow those using small corms. The mother plant makes three kinds of plantain suckers, namely sword suckers, maidenheads and water suckers.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria

Sword suckers come with a short pseudostem and have narrow leaves, similar to blades, along with a narrow base. When they mature, they have fruitful and healthy pseudostems.

Maidenheads come with a pseudostem that is large and does not produce any fruit; white water suckers have broad leaves with short pseudostems.

Water suckers do not have a strong attachment to the rhizome, and produce less fruit with weaker plants. They are less preferred in comparison to large sword suckers and maidenheads.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria

It is essential that you purchase suckers only from a farm that is reputable and trusted. There is no fixed price for these, a conventional sucker can cost anywhere around N50 to N100, while a hybrid will cost around N120 to N200. This price may again, vary depending on where you procure it.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria
Step #5: Planting

It is essential that before you begin your plantain plantation, you eliminate any grass or weed competition. To prevent any re-growing of weed, you can use mulching.

However, for turf grass, you will need to either use herbicides or go by the hoeing technique. If you are planning to plant for producing fruit, there should be a space of at least 8-10 feet in between. Irrigation needs to be applied at regular intervals to keep the soil moist. Ensure that there is no standing water since plantains are not tolerant to wet conditions.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria
Step #6: In-organic and organic fertilization

After planting, you will need to manure them using a combination of household waste, poultry manure and woodash for improving the growth and yield of plantains. It will also help to reduce the infestation by nematodes and borer weevils.

Organic manure helps maintain the temperature of the soil, conserve its moisture content and help regulate soil acidity. This will help you make the most of your efforts for plantain farming in Nigeria.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria
Step #7 Harvest

Plantain trees produce large bunches of heavy fruit, which may cause the tree to slump or droop. If you find that your plantain tree is struggling to stand up due to the weight, use string and bamboo poles to tie and prop the tree.

Fruits appear within 90 to 120 days after the tree flowers. Upon fruiting, plantains are typically ready for harvest within 6 to 8 months.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria
Step #8 Market

Plantain Farming in NigeriaAs a farmer or producer of plantain your ultimate aim is to secure buyers for your produce. In most instances this should be straight forward as there is currently a high demand for plantain.

Buyers can range from the mama in your local market to large companies/industries. However, since industries do not buy small quantities and require that plantains meet international standards, you will only gain access to this important market if your production is to industry specification, both in terms of quantity, quality and time.

How to start plantain farming in Nigeria

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