The full potentials of agribusiness opportunities in Nigeria have not been fully tapped, there is an abundance of opportunities yet to be fully explored by agripreneurs. One of the untapped opportunities in agribusiness is cucumber farming.
Cucumber Farming in Nigeria
Cucumber farming in Nigeria is a very profitable agribusiness due to its popularity, acceptance and health benefits. Individuals who have invested in cucumber farming in Nigeria can attest to its profitability. Cucumber is not as complex as other areas of agriculture, one can start cucumber farming in Nigeria with little or no experience in farming.
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most important exotic vegetables in the country. It is the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and known to be one of the best foods for the body’s overall health. It is one of the most popular members of the Cucurbitaceae family.
There are several reasons cucumbers farming in Nigeria have become accepted in recent years. This acceptance drives the high consumption rate of cucumbers, which increases its demand. Here are a few benefits of cucumber:
Benefits of Cucumber
Cucumber is high in Nutrients
Cucumbers are low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals, protein, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, manganese. To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals.
Cucumber contains Antioxidants
Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases
Cucumber Promotes Hydration
Water is crucial for the body’s function like temperature regulation and the transportation of waste products and nutrients. Because cucumbers are composed of about 96% water, they are especially effective at promoting hydration and can help meet daily fluid requirements.
Cucumber aid in weight loss
Cucumbers could potentially help in weight loss. Cucumbers are low in calories, high in water and can be used as a low-calorie topping for many dishes. All of these may aid in weight loss.
Cucumber Promote Regularity in the Body
Cucumbers help support regular bowel movements. Dehydration is a major risk factor for constipation, as it can alter your water balance and make the passage of stool difficult.
Cucumbers are high in water and promote hydration. Staying hydrated can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation and help maintain regularity.
Cucumbers can be eaten fresh or pickled. They can be enjoyed as a low-calorie snack or used to add flavor in a variety of dishes.
Cucumber is also rich in silica, which is an essential component that aids in developing strong and healthy connective tissues in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones.
Steps on how to start Cucumber farming in Nigeria
Conduct market survey
It is always important to carry out the necessary survey when starting any agri-business. Conduct a background search and feasibility study. Gather information as much as you can on cucumber farming in Nigeria, how it is been done, how to set up your farm at the right location, target markets, their requirements, and prices.
Carrying out feasibility study before starting cucumber farming in Nigeria will help you understand the implications of starting your cucumber farm, including the required capital, your competitors, and potential target market.
Cucumber can be grown in almost all the part of the country so it doesn’t really matter where you’re located. Light to medium, well-drained loam soil is the best for cucumber cultivation, soils rich in organic matter with moderate soil moisture. A pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 is recommended for best growth. Ideally, the selected area should have sufficient exposure to sunlight because sunlight is very essential for cucumber growth. Finally, the selected site shouldn’t be too far from your potential market or target customers.
Selecting the right seeds
This is one of the important factors that determine the success of cucumber farm in Nigeria. Buy seeds only from a reputable source, do not buy seeds from an open market. Purchase seeds of cucumber that favour the climate of your area. You can always get varieties of seeds from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) nearest to you.
Cucumber can be planted at any time of the year. Cucumber needs adequate water to thrive, so if you’re planting during the dry season, there should be an irrigation system in place to ensure sufficient water supply to the plant. You can plant on the bed and you should ensure the right spacing between the plants.
After planting, it is necessary to support the growing plant with stakes or pillars. This is because cucumber plants are climbers by nature and they require the necessary support for optimal growth.
Weed and Pest Control
Weed and pest control are one of the important management practices to ensure optimum cucumber production. Weed control in cucumber farming can be carried out through a variety of methods which include the use of cover crops and mulches, cultivation and hand weeding, and applications of herbicides targeting the specific types of common weeds in a particular field. Cucumber plants are vulnerable to varieties of insect, bacterial, fungal, and nematode infections. Early identification of infections is key to a successful management. Disease prevention methods in cucumber farming include crop rotation, good site selection, sanitation, soil treatments, and appropriate seed selections.
Try to prevent the leaves of cucumber from turning yellow, but if it does, do apply high nitrogen fertilizer.
Cucumber is usually harvested after 40-45 days after planting depending on the variety planted. Harvested cucumber when the fruit is still green in color, avoid the cucumber is not ripe before you harvest them.
Harvesting of cucumber is usually done manually with hands and the fruits should be handled with care to prevent bruises and damages.
After harvest, wash the cucumber in water and packaged for sale
After Harvesting Cucumbers can be sold in retail, wholesale, in a market near you, or to companies that specialize in cucumber processing. All you need to do is ensure that the cucumbers are green, big, attractive, fresh and juicy, and of a high quality.
Cucumbers are in high demand, and as long as you inform target markets that you have cucumbers you will have them waiting in line to buy them.
Price of Cucumber in Nigeria
In the open Market in Nigeria a bag of cucumber weighing about 40kg sells for #3000- #8000 on the average. In a more organized market (Supermarkets, Foodco, Shoprite etc), a kilogram of cucumber is sold for #400-#600.
Note: prices varies depending on location and season
Cucumber Farming in Nigeria pdf
Get all the skills and information needed in cucumber cultivation from one of the best books on cucumber farming. Highlights in this cucumber farming in Nigeria pdf includes:
- Pre-planting and planting operations
- Soil and environmental conditions
- Pest and disease control measures
- Harvesting practices
- Storage and marketing strategies
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