Plantain is a popular food in Nigeria. It can be eaten raw, boiled or fried. Plantain can also be made into plantain chips. This is a very popular snack in Nigeria. Plantain is also processed into flour. Plantain farming business in Nigeria is very profitable, and requires lesser capital to set up compared to other farming businesses in Nigeria.
This is a comprehensive guide on how to start a plantain farming business in Nigeria.
How to Start Plantain Farming Business
Follow these steps to start plantain farming
1. Write a business plan
Before you start your plantain farming business in Nigeria, you have to write down a business plan. A business plan helps you decide the direction to take in your farming business, and helps you answer the following questions;
- How much do you need to start your plantain farming business?
- How much profit can you gain from your plantain farming business?
- What farming equipment do you need to start a plantain farming business?
A business plan will really help your plantain farming business grow.
2. Get capital
You need enough capital to start a plantain farming business. However, the plantain farming business in Nigeria is low a cost business and is not as expensive as you might think. You can raise capital through saving or loans.
3. Acquire farmland
To start your plantain farming business in Nigeria, you have to acquire farmland. You can either buy or lease farmland. This largely depends on how much you can afford for farmland. However, make sure the farmland has loamy soil.
4. Prepare the land
After buying or leasing your farmland for your plantain farming business in Nigeria, you have to prepare the land for cultivation. You should;
- Clear the land of bushes, stones and stumps
- Till the land
- Apply manure to improve land fertility
You should not clear all the trees on the farmland. This is for the purpose of protecting the plantain plants from excessive sunlight.
5. Buy and plant plantain suckers
After land preparation, it is time to buy the plantain suckers which you will plant on the farmland. A plantain plant is not a tree but a type of herb; it cannot be grown from seeds. Plantain plants are grown through suckers. Suckers grow from a dying, mature plantain plant that can be transplanted and re-grown. Suckers are outgrowths (shoots) which develop from the bud at the base or corm of the mother plantain plant.
Plantain suckers have short and narrow leaves which are spear shaped leaves and are about four feet high. Make sure when buying your plantain suckers, such suckers are chosen from plants that are vigorous. Only buy your plantain suckers from trustworthy plantain farmers that can sell healthy plantain suckers to you that are disease free and also free from pest damage.
There are three major varieties of plantain suckers;
- Water suckers
- Sword sucker
They all have their pros and cons. It is not advisable you use water suckers because they are not so ideal to use for plantain farming business. It is preferable you buy and plant maidenhead or sword suckers. This is because these maidenhead or sword plantain suckers are highly resistant to pest attack, produce strong fruits and are highly fruitful.
When buying plantain suckers from plantain farmers, make sure you buy in bulk so you can buy the suckers at discounted prices. When you buy healthy suckers when starting your plantain farm at the very beginning, these plantain suckers will serve you for many years. Also, if you need more plantain suckers in the future, you can easily get the plantain suckers from your plantain farm.
When planting plantain suckers, it is important to note that there is a corm at the bottom of each mature plantain tree. Therefore, when transplanting a plantain sucker, you should cut downwards so as to get as much corm and root as possible.
Plant these plantain suckers. Then, cut the plantain sucker to aid evaporation. Make sure there is two to five meters between each of the planted plantain suckers. When your plantain suckers are still at the early stages of growing, make sure they are kept moist at all times but are not too wet. This is because they don’t have leaves which can evaporate the water.
However, plantain plants grow best when in bunches because they protect each other from the harsh sunlight rays. The plantain plants should be sheltered by other trees as well.
6. Apply fertilizer and clear weeds
After planting your plantain suckers and they are in the early stages of growth, it is time to apply fertilizer. This ensures that the plantain plants are provided with the necessary nutrients they need to grow. You can also throw the dead leaves from the plantain plants back into the soil so as to maintain the rich quality of the soil. Make sure the fertilizer you use is an NPK fertilizer.
You should also weed consistently to make sure your plantain plants grow well. This is important for the maturity and growth of your plantain plants. You don’t want weeds taking over your plantain farm.
7. Harvest plantains
When your plantains are fully grown, it is time to harvest them. However, before harvesting, you should have started looking for customers for your plantains. When harvesting, you can employ the services of farm labourers to assist you so as to make the work easier and faster. You can then store your plantains or load them in trucks to supply your customers.
8. Market and sell your plantains
For you to sell as many plantains as possible, you should market your plantains to as many prospective customers as you can. You should note that if plantains are not stored properly or sold on time, they can spoil really easily and all your efforts will go to waste. You want to avoid this and sell your plantains as quickly as possible. There are many customers who will buy your plantains such as;
- Market women
- Makers of plantain chips
The plantain farming business in Nigeria is a business opportunity you should definitely look into. It is a very profitable business and has low risk and requires low investment, which too many Nigerians are not really looking into.