How to Start a Plantain or Banana Farm in Nigeria

The same process applies for both plantain and banana farm. Plantain farming is a highly profitable business venture. The amazing thing about this fruit is you do the planting once and earn income for years. 
The plant contains low sugar, starch and produces suckers that grow into other plantain trees. Predominantly found in tropical regions the delicious fruit is eaten as a whole meal or snack.
How Plantain is eaten
Plantain could be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, grilled or fried. It is the main ingredient in plantain chips or certain Nigerian dishes.
It is also processed into plantain flour and sold in local markets. There are also huge export potentials for the fruit.
How to Start a Plantain Farm in Nigeria
  • Planning
  • Procure Land
  • Prepare soil
  • Purchase suckers
  • Control weeds
plantain farming
Planning
The most important aspect of the operation is planning. The planning involves field selection, availability of water, labor requirements and planting.
Other requirements are initial funding, irrigation, purchase of organic manure, equipment and leaching schedule.
Top Nigerian States that Produce Plantain
Plantain grows in areas with regular rainfall and moderate climate. It does not grow well in areas of hot humid climates or very cold regions.
There are many states in Nigeria were you find plantain. They are found in Lagos, Edo, Cross River and Akwa ibom. Other areas are Ogun state, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti state.
  • Lagos
  • Edo
  • Cross river
  • Akwa ibom
  • Ogun state
  • Ondo
  • Osun
  • Oyo
  • Ekiti state.
Land
The most important aspect of agricultural farming is procuring land. Farming lands are usually found in barren plots in the metropolis or rural areas. Ideally farm lands are found outside the urban city limits.
The land of choice should be fertile, loamy and rich in organic matter. You could create composite from agricultural waste and organic fertilizer.
The land should have good drainage system and located in the tropics. The location should have periods of steady rainfall to achieve maximum yield.
Preparing the Soil
The first step is to demarcate the portion of land you wish to farm. An area with rich dense vegetation is ideal for plantain farming.
Once the land is acquired you need to prepare the soil for the crops. The land is cleared by removing stones, cutting vegetation, plants and uprooting stumps.
The process could be facilitated through manual or mechanized machinery. You could save your strength by employing casual labor to clear and till the land.
  • Demarcate the portion of land
  • Remove dense vegetation
  • Clear the land
  • Removing stones
  • Uprooting stumps.
plantain suckers
Plantain Suckers
Plantain Suckers
Once the soil is prepared to receive the plants you need to procure plantain suckers. Plantains grow through the process of propagation.
They grow naturally from rhizomes or suckers planted by the farmer. There are 3 types of sucker produced by plantain the maidenhead, water suckers and sword suckers.
Sword suckers consist of a narrow base and are ideal for propagation. Maidenheads are also used through an intensive process to achieve results. While the water suckers are not ideal candidates for propagation.
Makes sure you buy the suckers from reputable farmers in bulk. You could also approach an agricultural research institution for suckers.
The plantain suckers are generally planted 9-10 feet apart. This is done to accommodate the large fruiting plant and reduce soil competition.
Types of Suckers
  • Maidenhead
  • Water sucker
  • Sword sucker
Labor
To prepare the land for planting hire casual workers with knowledge of farming. There job description includes weeding, tilling the land and using composite material. Alternately procure mechanized machinery and prepare the land yourself.
Farm Maintenance
Once you have planted the suckers you need to maintain the farm. Irrigation should be periodic and prevent weeds and competitive vegetation.
Use herbicide and apply organic fertilizer when appropriate. Organic manure helps maintain moisture, regulated temperature and soil acidity. 
Marketing and Harvesting
There is continues process of harvesting on maturity of the fruit. It takes about 8-10 months to reach full maturity and the fruit is removed just before full ripeness.
Sell your plantain wholesale to market women or fruit vendors. You could sell to manufacturing companies that use the product or consider exporting your produce.

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