Let’s play a game. The next time you see the word “Go” I want you to, in ten seconds mention the first ten fruits that comes to your mind. Ready? Go!
I am almost 100% sure that you didn’t mention Strawberry. Not only did you not mention it, but it also didn’t cross my mind. It is hard to mention Strawberries when mentioning fruits because they are not common in this part of the world. This is largely due to the fact that many farmers don’t know how to grow it. A lack of good growing materials like splits and seedlings is also a reason.
Most strawberries in Nigeria are imported from Kenya and South Africa, but Nigerian Strawberries are now high in circulation because of careful domestic production in states like Plateau. If you have plans on venturing into Strawberry farming in Nigeria, follow these complete guide to help you start well.
If you are targeting fresh consumption the varieties below are the best.
Selekta – this is the most popular variety producing long and wedge-shaped glossy red fruits.
Chandler-this produces firm strawberries with a distinctive strawberry aroma.
They require well-drained, sandy-loam to loamy soils with a PH level between 5.0 and 5.5. However, they can also be grown in more clayey soils if a sufficient quantity of compost is added to the soil during soil preparation. Compost is a form of fertilizer made up of vegetation and manure.
First, you get the plants. You can buy disease-resistant plants from a reputable nursery, of a variety recommended in your area. There is also the option of planting them. Seedlings will send out runners, or ‘daughter’ plants, which in turn will send out their own runners. It means from must you can get more many other seedlings from a plane.
Your planting holes must be wide and deep enough to accommodate the entire root system without bending it. They require a minimum of six and a maximum of ten hours sunlight daily. If you want the best success you should practice crop rotation.
Do not plant in a site that recently had strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant. Establish new plants each year to keep berry quality high each season. It is also possible to grow strawberries from the previous year’s runner.
In the first 2 months, you will pick off blossoms to discourage strawberry plants from fruiting because If they are not allowed to bear fruit, they will spend their food reserves on developing healthy roots. The yields will be much greater in the 3rd month.
Eliminate daughter plants as needed. First and second generations produce higher yields. Try to space each plant about 2 feet apart. Moisture is incredibly important due to shallow roots. Water adequately, about one inch per week. Keep the beds mulched to reduce water needs and weed invasion. Be diligent about weeding. Weed by hand, especially in the first months after planting.
Pick off the fruits with their stocks as soon as they turn red. When you plant your seedlings, in 3 months you should have your first fruits and runners. You can harvest up to 2 years on the same plant.
Here you can choose to pack your strawberry fruits in nice packages and sell to supermarkets. Or you can approach juice making companies, yogurt factories, ice cream, and many others. You can as well decide to add value to the fruits by making juice, jam and other products.
Now that you have gotten the full guide, I hope to see you at the forefront of Strawberry farming in Nigeria.
light sleeper, heavy dreamer.