The African continent has a vast abundance of land, resources, and climate variations that allows it to produce different varieties of food and cash crops in its agricultural sector. This industry goes on to employ up to 70% of the Nigerian workforce, while contributing about 40% of the country’s GDP.
In the light of the economic output agriculture contributes to the economies of various African nations, the widespread demand and consumption of fruit and vegetable products in fast growing urban and rural areas has made vegetable farming in Nigeria or Africa a lucrative agribusiness to venture into.
According to data made publicly available by Statista, the worldwide production of vegetables as at 2014 sits at 1.1 billion metric tonnes, with China been the highest producer at 25.2 million metric tonnes.
Nigerian leads the production volume in Africa with about 1.1 million metric tonnes of vegetable crops produced in the year 2014, followed by Tanzania with about 339,193 metric tonnes produced in the same year.
This excessive production and global demand for vegetable crops is quickly driving up the production capacity of leading producers like China, India, and then Nigeria and Tanzania in Africa.
This opportunity is driving knowledgable farmers living in these countries to take advantage of the fast growing market by either expanding their fruit and vegetable farms or to setup fruit and vegetable farms as one of their agribusiness subsidiaries.
Fruit and vegetable farming is the cultivation of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. They can be grown by planting them in hanging baskets and window boxes or sown into dry or moist ground, and are widely consumed in many places around the world.
See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Potato Farming Business In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide
Fruits and vegetables have been feeding both humans and animals as far back as history has recorded. They’re highly nutritious and can serve as emergency meals in situations where cooking certain meals may take a long time to complete.
Some commonly consumed fruits include:
And thousands more.
As for vegetable crops, there are different types of vegetables, and they range between leaf vegetables, root vegetables, fruit vegetables, pod vegetables, seed vegetables, flower vegetables, and bulb or stem vegetables.
Some Leaf Vegetables are:
Some flower vegetables include:
Some podded vegetables include:
Some bulb or stem vegetables include:
Some root and tuberous vegetables include:
Some commonly consumed fruits & vegetables in Nigeria in their standard and local names include:
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This is also know as Ugwu in Nigeria, and is widely consumed in almost every part of the country. It is used in the preparation of a vast number of dishes and soups, because of its highly nutritious content and rich taste. Its tolerance to drought, poor soil, and extremely high demand makes it a top choice for vegetable farmers around the country.
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This is a very common vegetable in the western part of Nigeria. It is largely used in the preparation of soups, and its adaptability to almost any type of farmland makes it a profitable vegetable for any farmer to cultivate in large quantities.
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This vegetable crop has a wide number of uses; from food to being a critical part of the cosmetics industry, and so much more! It can be grow in organically rich and dry soil, but must have enough access to sunlight.
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These vegetable crops are also used in the preparation of meals, especially soups, because of their rich nutritional content and taste. They’re also known as Gumbo, Ochro, and Lady’s Finger in many English speaking countries. Its popularity in Nigeria is so high that almost everyone has at one point or the other consumed an Okra soup.
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Cabbage is a spicy vegetable crop that is used in the preparation of many meals. It can be eaten raw, and as a result, is largely used in the preparation of salads. It grows on fertile, drained soil, and cold environments, but must have a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily.
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These are one of the most widely used fruits in meal preparations in many countries around the world, especially Nigeria. They can grow in warm, dry, and clear weather, and must have a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight daily.
See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Tomato Farming Business In Nigeria (Comprehensive Guide + eBook)
Asides just serving as a great source of food, fruits and vegetables are also used in the production of consumer goods like hair dye, olive oil, jam, foot rub, and metal polish.
The first step in starting a fruit and vegetable farming business is to decide what type of fruits or vegetables you intend to grow. As earlier stated, there are vast numbers of fruits and vegetables to choose from, and picking the right one or set is critical to growing a successful fruit and vegetable farm.
Some questions to ask yourself in your decision making process are:
When you’ve answered the questions to the best of your knowledge and are satisfied with the preliminary results your fruit or vegetable crop of choice may fetch you, you can go ahead to start a fruit or vegetable farming business in that regard.
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Depending on the type of fruit and/or vegetable crop you’ve decided to plant, you should choose a farmland that’d work perfectly for it. Some factors to consider in choosing a farmland include:
Every fruit and/or vegetable crop has the best type of soil or conditions in which it can grow, and your second job as a farmer is to choose the best farmland that’s suitable for the fruits and vegetables you’ve decided to grow.
Mix a soiless mix and a balanced fertilizer that contains equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with the soil. Soiless mixes are sterile and will help rid the soil of weed and diseases, and also provide great drainage for the vegetables.
Next, separate each vegetable per container and plant the seeds at the correct depth. Also ensure there’s enough spacing between the plants.
Water the plants carefully, at least once a day to keep the soil moist, and re-fertilize the soil when the plants begin to grow.
After a couple of months, depending on which type of fruit and vegetable farming business you ventured into, the next step is to harvest your crops, keep them in optimal storage locations, and sell them through your supply chain network.
See Also: How To Market Your Farm Products In Nigeria: 10 Ways To Get Distributors
Some of the challenges of fruit and vegetable farming in Nigeria and many parts of Africa include:
1). Lack of experience
2). Land tenure insecurity
3). Low and unstable investment in agricultural research
4). Financial Constraints:
5). Storage Constraints:
6). Farm Inputs Constraints:
7). Infrastructural Constraints:
8). Marketing Constraints:
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