Agriculture is a money maker. Agriculture is the cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. We all are conversant with this definition, but only a few understand the implication of this.
Food is a necessity for man, while we wake up with the troubles of the day, the craving for food cannot be killed. Which better way is there to provide food if not farming?
With more than 60% of Sub- Saharan Africa’s population in small scale Agriculture and only 23% of its GDP coming from the Agricultural sector, this simply shows its not exploited well. Be bold to see that food can be exported to other countries of the world. Anambra State in Nigeria exports Vegetable.
Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania are countries where we have seen the effects of Government intervention in the Agricultural sector. The coming to power of President M. Buhari of Nigeria, promised increased funding to the Agricultural sector to boost its production and change the Narrative of depending on oil. Whether this is been achieved is a question for another day.
Plantain, otherwise called “cooking bananas” are starchy fruits with a relatively neutral flavor and has a soft texture when cooked. They produce fruit all year round and this makes them a staple food for most families.
The possibilities of making it big in Plantain Farming are much.
As an entrepreneur, you should see it as the most common crop in the country, this spot is shared with cassava. Plantains develop in clusters, while each mature sucker brings forth another sucker, making for easy propagation.
Plantain Farming Business is that agri-business that anybody can try their hands on and smile home with cash. Plantain starts producing fruits from 7-9 months after planting, so you are assured that if you do it right, your first yield will be enough to cover initial expenses.
You need a piece of land to plant on. Else, you are from the year 3030 when plants will be grown on thin air (Lol). While selecting land for this crop, do bear this in mind
Plantains love rich loam soil, do avoiding sharp slopes and places with a bad water drainage system. In all, if the soil is rich in loam content, not marshy but moderate in holding just the right amount of water, that’s the land you need.
While preparing the land, please avoid compaction of earth, employ manual labor as opposed to mechanical work. Do using organic manure is very welcome.
According to Alabi Isreal’s Article On Medium,
The recommended spacing is 3 m between the plantain rows and 2 m within the row (in other words. 3 m x 2 m). An alternative is 2.5 m x 2.5 m. If spaced 3 m x 2 m, 1 hectare should contain 1667 plants, but with a spacing of 2.5 m x 2.5 m, it should contain 1600 plants.
This arrangement makes for good spacing, adequate sunlight and air circulation. Also, note that if your land is on a slope, the arrangement should be done in a way that ensures little erosion. This can be done by following the contour lines.
Planting should be done with about “30–60 cm (11.8 in –23.6 in)” deep in the soil.
A good breed of the plantain fruit will better your chances at making the best off it. While choosing your suckers, it is advised to choose from vigorous plants, they should have small spear-shaped leaves and are about 4ft high.
Plantains develop best during the rainy season, although they produce all year round, do not plant towards the end of the rainy season. The best period to plant is the beginning of the rainy season, these periods give it about 4-5 months of constant water while ensuring you reap the fruits in the 7th/8th month. Extreme weather conditions can damage your crops.
Sufficient manure is necessary for proper development. The combined use of Organic and Inorganic manure gives the best result. A month after planting is enough time to add additional nutrient to the plantation.
Mulching should be done around the base of the plant to help the plant conserve nutrients and reduce erosion at the base of the plant.
weeding should be done regularly so that plants don’t compete for nutrients. Schedule for weeding in about 6-8 weeks.
The known pest for Banana and Plantain are BATS, MONKIES, AND HUMAN. You should find ways to ensure that plants are adequately protected.
The moment we all have been waiting for, once you see your fruits, harvesting should come in 3 months. Fruits normally appear within 90 to 120 days after the tree flowers. Upon fruiting, plantains are typically ready for harvest within 6 to 8 months.