One of the Agribusiness ventures gaining more global attention is Pineapple Farming in Nigeria. There is an increase in demand for fresh pineapple and its juice globally, which has invariably created a readily available market, sales, and profit by these effects.
Pineapple has a worldwide cultivation coverage with Nigeria and Kenya leading the African-producing countries. Other leading producing countries are the Philippines, China, Thailand, India, and Brazil.
Its worldwide appeal stems from its sweetness and great flavour. Similarly, pineapple known nutritional and health benefits have contributed to its raw consumption, complementary purposes in fruit salads, and fruit cocktail. It is also processed into products such as wine, fruit juice, jam, and for ornamental purposes.
Pineapple farming in Nigeria is encouraged on large scale, however, it can be grown as backyard farming with a great return. Its profitability is inclined towards the overall technicalities and management which are sure to be provided in a few sentences here.
Species of Pineapple
There are many cultivars of pineapple but the two commonest ones are – the smooth leaf (cayenne) and the gold (yellow) crown. The gold crown is the newly developed cultivar and it has some better qualities.
Nutrient-rich soil is paramount for great yield. Pineapple thrives well on Sandy-humid soil with good water retention capacity and with pH between 4.5 and 5.5.
Get rid of weeds and stumps on the farmland. Plough and leave the farmland for 10-12 days before making ridges. During this period the farmland is exposed to sunlight which kills parasites and insects that might affect the plant. To avoid waterlogging and control erosion, make sure the site has a good topography. It is advisable to plant on ridges. It is a bad practice to plant on flat ground.
Planting Pineapple in Nigeria
Pineapple is best propagated by its suckers because the sucker grows quickly and is easily accessible. However, it can also be planted by its slip, seed, or crown. The seeds are collected from over riped pineapple. Treat the sucker with acetylene or smoke before planting for optimal yield.
Pineapple planting season
The best time to plant a pineapple sucker or crown is between 6 – 8 weeks after harvest. During this period moisture dries. Also, this is the time to treat the sucker with acetylene or smoke. The selection of specie is strongly based on the information about which specie sells best in a particular area.
Climatic and Water Requirements
Pineapple grows well with water during the first four-month of planting. It thrives well under mild temperatures.
Adequate spacing for the pineapple plant is 30x60cm. The distance between rows is up to two (2) meters. Pineapple sucker should be at least 20cm high in height before planting.
Apply weedicide immediately after planting to delay weeds from growing. Weeding should be kept on pineapple farm during the first four months after planting to avoid nutrients competition between the pineapple plant and the weed. It should be done about three to four times before harvest. It can be done with chemicals (Atrazine and diuron) or uprooting by labourers.
Pineapple needs a high demand for nutrients. To deal with this, NPK (20:10:10) should be applied between 2-3 months after planting, then afterward, apply manure or urea at the sixth and eighth months. However, it does not need applying manure if the plant maintains its dark green in the eighth month.
Irrigation and Drainage
An irrigation system should be available throughout the whole period. Irrigation is done in the morning or evening for two (2) times during the dry season. For water management, Deep Irrigation System Technology can be used. It is also used for liquid nutrients application.
Pests and Diseases
Common pineapple pests and Diseases are mealy bug, symphylids, wilt, phytophthora, black spot, and root rottening. They are controlled by applying insecticide on the field when their effect(s) is noticed. Root rottening is controlled by proper soil drainage.
The maturity period differs for each pineapple mode of Propagation. The shortest maturity time is nine (9) months which is for sucker propagated pineapple plant. Crown and seed pineapple propagated mode are longer. It is at this stage pineapple plants are artificially induced.
Artificial Inducement is a process of making a mature plant change from the vegetative stage to the reproductive stage of growth. An act of forcing a plant to start producing flower. It is done by an expert to prevent excessive fruiting and to enable fruit production during the off-season.
Harvest time for sucker propagated pineapple plant takes place between 13-14 months while for crown propagated plant takes up to 19-20 months.
Market and sales research should be done before starting out this venture. However, there is no cause for aches as there are markets (such as Lagos Mile 12 market), fruit companies, and groceries that are readily available to buy pineapple at large scale. You just need to find one.
Yield and Profitability
Pineapple fruits at 3-4 months intervals. Profit is so sure as it aggregates at continuous fruit harvests. Pineapple sure does bring a steady and stable source of income.
You do not need to wait any longer. Now is the right time to start pineapple farming in Nigeria.
Pineapple farming in Nigeria PDF
Get all the information required in pineapple cultivation from one of the best books on pineapple farming. Highlights in this pineapple farming in Nigeria PDF includes:
- Soils and climatic Requirement of Pineapple
- Varieties of pineapple
- Preparation of planting materials
- Weed and Pest Control
- Harvesting and Post harvest Handling
- Packing Operations for Export
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