Plantains and bananas are staple foods that can be fried, baked, boiled, or roasted and eaten alone or in combination with other foods. The consumption of plantains and bananas in Nigeria is substantial, making this a profitable farming operation. Due to their popularity among Nigerians, they are marketable products. This nutritious food also has several applications. The cultivation procedure is the same for both plants; the only difference is food stores as starch in plantains and sugar in bananas.
How To Begin Plantain And Banana Cultivation In Nigeria
- Carry out a feasibility study
You can hire an expert to assist you develop a feasibility note and a business plan, depending on the size of your investment. You can construct your own business plan by asking around for information and data regarding plantain and banana growing in Nigeria, as well as the marketability. Do not skip this step. Do not rely solely on what you read on the internet. Ask questions about plantain and banana farming on the street.
- Obtain training in modern farming
Plantain and banana cultivation in the manner of our predecessors is likely to result in a loss of investment. Many Nigerian plantain and banana farmers do not know how to cultivate plantains and bananas efficiently. They simply dig holes and plant seeds.
You must first learn how to cultivate plantains and bananas. If you are unable to run your farm on your own, hire experts in plantain and banana cultivation. Do not be fooled into hiring individuals who pretend to be experts yet know nothing about farming. This group of people can be found all over the internet.
- Purchase farmland
To optimize your profits from plantain and banana cultivation, purchase farmland in rural parts of Nigeria’s rain forest belt. Why is there a rain forest belt? Plantain and banana require a lot of water to provide a good yield. Nigeria’s rain forest and mangrove swamp zones receive more rainfall than the country’s other climatic zones combined.
Plantain farming should not be done on rented or leased farmland. It is preferable that you acquire farmland. Purchase good farmland in Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ekiti, Cross Rivers, Imo state, and other southern Nigerian states. In states with less rainfall, irrigation, ideally drip irrigation, is required.
- Preparation of the land
You must clear your farms of trees and stumps. But, you should let some trees to shade the plants from the sun and wind. The farmland can also be ploughed and harrowed. No till farming is an option if your farmland is virgin. When growing the plants, a lot of manure should be applied. Although it is uncommon, some farmers prepare wide beds when growing plantains and bananas. Don’t forget to do soil and water tests.
- Set up drip irrigation
Drip irrigation, also known as trickling irrigation, is the ideal method of irrigation for plantain and banana farming, as well as most other crops. Drip irrigation allows you to irrigate your plants all year. During the rainy season, most plantain and banana growers in Nigeria cultivate this crop. These plants receive barely 5-6 months of rain. Imagine your plantain receiving irrigation all year; the production will be 50-100% higher.
If you use fertigation, you can have a yield of greater than 100%. Fertigation is the process of delivering nutrients to plants in the form of soluble fertilizers via a drip irrigation system.
- Purchase healthy tissue cultured plantain and banana seedlings
Plantain and banana suckers should be planted after the farmland has been prepared. Planting should be done throughout the wet season. The planting hole should be approximately 30cm x 30cm x 30cm. Never buy uprooted plantains or banana suckers if you are duped. Most of the time, these suckers are already infested with illnesses. When you introduce a disease sucker into your farms, you risk introducing new diseases and causing harm to your soil, which will effect any crop cultivated on the area.
It is advised that you purchase a clean tissue cultured sucker. Some of these suckers are created in labs, while others are grown in sterile greenhouses. A sucker produced from clean tissue is likely to give increased yield because they do not have any diseases or pests that can impact their growth.
- Carry out the planting
Many individuals who engage in plantain and banana cultivation get it wrong right from the start. The first rule is to collect a large amount of manure. When covering a hole, do not return the soil to the hole; instead, fill the hole with manure. This will greatly increase your crop output. It is best to grow your crop during the months when you will harvest during the lean season.
8. Farm management
You should strive to manage your farm effectively. Follow all best agronomical techniques. If you do not know how to run a plantain and banana farm, it is usually best to hire a professional.
Depending on the cultivar, you should harvest your plantain and banana after 8-11 months. It is preferable to harvest your crops when they are still green.
Ask questions about plantain and banana marketing as you go around. It is also preferable to plant and harvest during the off-season. The price of a plantain or banana bunch in Nigeria might vary by up to 50%. Avoid selling through middlemen since they are likely to defraud you. You will make more money if you sell processed plantain and banana items.
Techniques for Profiting from Plantain and Banana Cultivation in Nigeria
To optimize your profit from plantain and banana cultivation in Nigeria, use the following strategies:
a) Adequate irrigation
Never believe anyone who claims that irrigation is unnecessary for plantain and banana farming in Nigeria. Irrigation, particularly drip irrigation, can considerably enhance yield. The plants require a lot of water all year. Do not respond solely on the basis of rainfall. Install a drip irrigation system on your farm.
Fertilizer applications should be made 10 weeks following planting. Before the fruiting period, you can apply fertilizer up to two or three times. When purchasing fertilizer, only deal with reputable companies. Practice fertigation as well. As previously stated, fertigation is the application of fertilizer or nutrients to your plants by a chemical injector or dosing pump. The drip irrigation system is linked to a venture injector.
c) Usage of high-quality insecticides and inputs
The application of effective pesticides such as fungicides and insecticides will keep your farm free of disease and pests. Before purchasing insecticides, make sure to check the expiration date. Also, make certain that you are purchasing from reputable sellers.
d) Prepare your plantain and banana crop.
Plantain and banana processors earn more money than plantain and banana farmers in Nigeria.
Plantain can be processed into the following products:
- Amala plantain flour * Plantain chips
- Banana bread and cake * Plantain porridge
Tips On Plantain And Banana Cultivation
- Plantain and banana farming can be very profitable. It is not uncommon to see plantain farmers making millions of naira as profit in Nigeria. A one hectare plantain and banana farm can return a profit of over N1 million if well managed.
- Plantain and banana takes 7 – 9 months to fruit. You can start harvesting the bunches from the trees after 9 months. Some varieties may take a little more than 9 months to reach the harvest stage. Ripening of the bunches usually take 1 – 2 weeks after full maturity of the crops.
- 500 – 1200 plantain and banana trees can be planted on one acre of land depending on the crop spacing you use. Drip irrigated farmlands can take more trees than those without drip irrigation system.
- The best time to plant in Nigeria is the rainy season as there is abundance of water. The humidity level during the rainy season also positively impacts the planting of the crops.
- Plantains and bananas can be harvested 1 – 2 times in a year. In the first year of planting, they can only be harvested once in a year.
6. You need a suitable and fertile farmland, suckers, manure, fertilizers, labour, tropical climatic conditions and well ploughed farmland in order to set up a plantation business.
- Plantain and bananas can be sold in the open markets like Mile 12 market, Lagos, Nigeria. You can sell them anywhere in Nigeria. You can also sell to hotels and supermarkets.
- NPK fertilizers, potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate and chelates etc. are the best fertilizers for plantain and banana. They are potassium hungry crop so it loves fertilizers rich in potassium.
- Plantains and bananas prefer tropical and humid climatic conditions.
Starting a plantain and banana plantation can be a lucrative venture with a steady demand for these crops in various markets. It is important to do thorough research and planning before embarking on this venture, including selecting the right location, obtaining the necessary equipment, and establishing a reliable distribution network. Proper soil preparation, planting, and maintenance practices are also crucial to ensure a healthy and productive plantation. With the right strategy and dedication, a plantain and banana plantation can be a profitable and sustainable business opportunity.