When considering the most lucrative agricultural businesses in Nigeria, there is no doubt that plantain business is one of them.
It is just so sad that many consider farming as a dirty job, so the youths prefer to do the white-collar job, and even the youth who now believe in Agriculture and are ready to go into farming, lack the right knowledge they need to excel in this unique agric enterprise.
Plantain is a very special meal in Nigeria, sometimes it can be used as a stand-alone meal, and at other times, it is used as a compliment.
Some of the favorite meals made with plantain in Nigeria are:
Fried plantain, boiled plantain, roasted plantain, plantain chips. It has even gotten better with the introduction of plantain flour which is fast gaining acceptance in Nigeria.
However, we intend to open your eyes to the simple steps you need to take in starting a plantain business.
Acquire A Proper Land
The number one point to consider in starting a farm is to seek for farmland. So as to achieve your goal in this business, ensure that all farms have the proper soil and let them be situated in a neighborhood with good weather for the safe growth of plantain.
It is advisable that the soil type of the land is loamy soil because plantain grows well in a loamy soil.
Also, the soil has to contain adequate organic matter and a good level of moisture.
There are some states in Nigeria that are known for the commercial growth of plantain. They include Ogun State, Delta State, Ekiti State, Edo State, Cross River State, etc.
Note that if the land you plan to purchase for plantain farming is not loaded enough with the right soil nutrients, it is best you develop it yourself before you start planting.
How can you achieve this?
Simply apply chicken manure, cow manure, and other organic manure that are helpful for the soil nutrients.
A good way to know if a land is blessed with adequate soil nutrients is thick vegetation. As soon as you notice that the land you want to but has thick vegetation, let your mind be at rest because this is a strong sign that the soil is well loaded with benefits for your plants.
Work On The Land
As soon as you purchase the land, the first thing to do in preparation.
This is a whole lot of work that you should not even think of doing them yourself, you need to hire laborers to help you out, you can then monitor them. Some of the activities that will be carried out are:
Clearing the bushes on the land, clearing the trees, stones, and other hindrances.
You should also dig the land to apply manure so that the land will be fertile.
An alternative to hiring laborers is renting a machine to help you get the land ready for your farming.
Get Plantain Suckers
Plantain Suckers are devices used in growing fresh plantain plants. They usually develop from the base bud of the mature plantain plant. You will find short and narrow leaves on most plantain suckers.
There are mainly three types of plantain suckers. They are water suckers, maidenhead, and sword sucker.
The best in this category is maidenhead or sword suckers. This is because these types of suckers help plants to grow well as it resists pest attacks. The plants from this sucker types are usually healthy and strong.
The price of plantain varies, some may sell it 100# while others sell it for 150#, location is the determinant of the price.
To locate reliable local farmers and approach them for the purchase of suckers, they should give you a discount since you won’t be buying one. Meanwhile, if you are lucky to get good suckers, they will be useful for many years.
Now Plant The Plantain Sucker
Make sure that your suckers are as long as 4-5 feet. As you plant the suckers, let there be at least 8_10 feet in between the suckers. The soil should be a little bit wet before you plant your suckers. Usually, plantain doesn’t thrive in areas that are full of water.
Do The Weeding And Use Fertilizer
It is certain that Weed and other plants will fight for the nutrient in the soil with the real plant which is plantain and that is why it is highly commendabledable that you weed regularly. This work may be too hard for you, so laborers users who can help you get rid of the weed.
Meanwhile, it is important that you are careful concerning the application of fertilizer on the farm. If the soil is fertile, this may not be necessary but if you feel you must apply fertilizer, ensure you make use of a fertilizer that has a perfect blend of nitrogen, potassium, nitrogen.
Another easy way to enrich the soil is to apply the leaves that fell off during your last harvest or during other activities.
Time To Harvest
You should be ready for harvest as soon as the plantain is 8-10 months old and the good thing is that as soon as the harvest starts, the plants will keep bringing out more fruits until the harvest season ends.
Do your harvest when you notice the plantain is becoming ripe.
How To Market Your Product
Truly there is a high demand for plantain and this demand is ever increasing. This is a product the market is ever ready to accept, sometimes the supplies are not even enough to meet the local demands.
So your options for sales are wide, you can decide to sell in the local market, or sell to companies that make plantain flour.
If you have the resources, you can also export them out of the country.