The Rains are Here

Nigeria’s rainy season is from March to July, then September to October after the short August break. During this period farmers practising rainfed agriculture, experience the most intense farm activities.

Consumers are happy, your favourite fruit is in season, and the market is filled with fresh farm produce. And farmers are smiling to the bank as they reel out more produce from the farm.

With multiple advantages from the rains, especially as a very lucrative side hustle. It is surprising that many youths are yet to tap into the opportunity of this season. Perhaps there is a knowledge gap that must be filled.

red tomatoes in the box
Photo Credit: Natalie Parham – Unsplash

The return on investment in agriculture is huge, to find out what you can earn from farming go to https://start.farmz2u.com/.

This article aims to bridge the knowledge gap on three major crops.

01. VEGETABLE PRODUCTION: The place of vegetables in most Nigerian dish is indispensable, like jute (ewedu), waterleaf, pumpkin (ugwu) and much more. Their numerous health benefits and easy management makes it top on my list. To get into vegetable farming; fertile land, good seeds, and access to water (provided by the rain) are necessary.

Land clearing and preparation is the first step. Water the prepared land for 2 to 3 days before planting. Depending on the specie, make a trench (adequately spaced between and moderate in depth) along the farm, to ensure increased yield and aid easier management. Then, evenly distribute your seeds in the trenches. The fertility of some soil needs to be augmented with either organic or inorganic fertilizers to sufficiently support the growth of vegetables. It is advised that organic fertilizers be applied before planting for effective uptake by the plant. Weeding should also be done routinely.

In 4 weeks, the first batch of vegetable will be mature for harvest, and ready for sale.

02. MAIZE PRODUCTION: Maize is arguably the most popular staple grain in Nigeria. Apart from its diverse use in human consumption and animal feed, it is also sourced for by Agro-allied industries. A fertile land, viable seeds, access to fertilizer, water, and pesticides are major determinants of success.

The land can be cleared before the rains. Land preparation involves tilling, for easy penetration of the roots. While spacing is usually done at 90 * 60m, before the seeds are sown at the rate 3-4 per hole (local seed) or 2 (hybrid seed).

Other management practice for maize farming includes: supplying of seeds to missing stands, fertilizer application, weeding, thinning, pesticide application, and top dressing.  At the end of the third month after planting, matured maize cob should be ready for harvest. Though four months is not an anomaly owing to seed viability and management practices.

green corn plant field
Photo Credits: Henry Be – Unsplash

03. RICE CULTIVATION: Since the ban on rice importation, the demand of locally produced rice has skyrocketed. As one of the most important foods in Nigeria, farmers have enjoyed increased sales revenue from rice cultivation.

Depending on the variety, rice can grow in almost all geographical zones of Nigeria. A fertile land with moderately high-water holding capacity is advised at the least, but heavy soils with high clayey content is mostly preferred. The land is prepared by either harrowing the field just before the first rain or be allowed to be flooded by the first rain. A decision which is dependent on the method of planting; either sowing the seeds directly or transplanting raised seedlings in the nursery to the field at 21 days. Note that rice should only be planted when the rain has been fully established.

Other management practices involved in rice cultivation are: supplying to areas where seeds are yet to germinate, maintenance of field water level, fertilizer application, weeding, pest and bird control. It takes four months for rice to be ready for harvest, under normal circumstances.

Indeed, farming requires knowledge and experience to guide you through uncertainties and avoid losses. At Farmz2U, we support farmers with technical agricultural expertise using data like soil composition. Visit farmz2u.com to get started or send an email to precious.e@farmz2u.co.uk to learn more!

Don’t waste the rains!

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