Plantain is one of the popular plants grown in Nigeria and in West Africa. In fact, it is believed that Nigeria produces 2.8 million metric tons of plantain annually. This is not even enough to satisfy all plantain lovers in the country. This is because a lot of farmers are not into plantain farming for one reason or the other. Besides, this is a good reason to venture into plantain farming. If you are interested in venturing into the world of plantain farming, here is what you need to know to get started.
Get a Land
Just like you would start a Pig business or another one, in fact, the first thing you need to do to start any farming business is getting land. It is best to know that plantain grows best in a tropical environment and in a loamy soil. The soil should have moderate moisture organic content and enough organic matter. You should try as much as possible to get land that has never been used for farming before. But if otherwise, you can revitalize a used land through the application of manure and fertilizers. Also, it is better to farm on land with thick vegetation because it indicates a soil that is good for plantain farming. Afterward, you prepare the land by clearing the bushes, trees, etc. This can be done manually or automatically.
Get your suckers
Plantain suckers are the plantain seeds and are used to grow plantain. Suckers normally grow outwards and develop from the bud at the base of the mother plant. It is best you seek the knowledge of an expert before you get your suckers. There are three types of suckers:
- Water suckers
- Maidenhead suckers
- Sword suckers
Maidenhead and sword suckers are the best. They produce plants that are strong with a high level of productivity. In addition, the fruits are healthy and are highly resistive to pests.
The size of the farm will decide if you will hire extra hands to carry out farming activities. Ensure that the holes between each sucker are well placed. Most people prefer between 8 to 10 feet between each sucker. As a result, the plantain trees will be well placed and will avoid competing for available spaces.
Taking care of the Plant
Weeds are unwanted plant and they tend to affect the growth of the plantain suckers. Therefore, constant weeding is required. Also, fertilizer should be applied in adequate proportion.
The plantain should be ready for harvesting within 8 to 10 months. You can decide to hire laborers or do it yourself but make sure you do it carefully. Cut the down the branches carefully when the plantain is ripe. Store the harvested plantain in a place with high ventilation and less heat.
Marketing is also as important as every part of the business. Just imagine having what to sell but don’t know how to sell it. So, you have to market your plantain as well as you can to reach out to as many customers as you can. It is best to let people know before the harvesting season. Thus, people would order for what they want, and all you need to do is deliver it to them.
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