One of the sure agricultural business to start is plantain farming and it is considered as a business that can be done with low level of skills as required by a great many farming businesses.
We have all consumed plantain in one form or the other such as plantain chips, roasted plantain, boiled plantain, ground plantain and many more. Let us delve more into plantain farming and look in depth into its potentials.
The huge demand and market for plantain
Nigeria is not known for producing plantain not because we don’t produce plantain but due to the fact that what we produce isn’t enough for the country’s consumption and hence, exporting plantain isn’t feasible yet.
There’s a huge demand of plantain in Nigeria and partaking in this business can make you rich quickly. Nigeria produces about 3 million metric tons of plantain annually and almost all are consumed locally. So if a bunch of plantain sells for N1000, the market size should be about N30 billion assuming a bunch of plantain is 10kg. I stand to be corrected on this fact and this means that Nigerians spend N30 billion annually buying and selling plantain. Here’s a step by step guide on how to successfully start this lucrative business.
It is very obvious that plantain farming will need a good and fertile land for proper growth and development of plantain suckers. Getting a hectare of land isn’t bad for a start. Another important thing to consider is the water retaining capacity of the land as well as the PH value of the land. Also, you’ll have to carry out some pre-planting practices like pest control, application of manure and even bush burning.
Plantain plant is not a tree and is not planted by seeds. It is planted through asexual method. The primary element for plantain cultivation is SUCKERS. Acquiring plantain suckers is the major challenge for many plantain farmers. The questions that arise include: Where to get plantain suckers? What kind of suckers does one need for maximum yield? Once you’re able to answer these questions, you’re half way done with your plantain farming. One of the best and improved variety of plantain suckers is the Agbaba (Giant Elephant). It is resistant to bacteria, nematodes, viruses and diseases in general. There’s no stable price for suckers. However, you can get the popular suckers for as low as N120 and the hybrid suckers for N200.
When planting the newly acquired plantain suckers, the holes should be properly spaced to prevent overcrowding and competition for nutrients. Also, there’s need for removal of weed and grass to also prevent competition. You may sometimes use herbicides to prevent these weeds from growing again.
Apart from just cultivating the plantain, it is essential to adequately take care of the plants to ensure proper growth and development of the plantain. Improper care or negligence can cost you more money. So it’s wise to do the needful whilst the development of the plantain. Regular weed control should be part of your farming practices.
Weeds are unwanted plants that pose threats to the proper growth of any crop. There are many herbicides available in the market today to kill these weeds. Also, it is proper to apply fertilizers that are rich in Nitrogen, Phosphorous and potassium.
How Much Do You Need to Start This Business?
Well, I can’t really say the exact amount you need to start this lucrative business. However, it is ideal to have a target budget in mind, say N700,000. This will cover fertilizer cost, manure cost and other important expenses. In summary, plantain farming is certainly a lucrative business. With the high demand of plantain, you can see that starting this business will bring in cash to your bank account.