How To Start making Money From Plantain Farming

How To Start making Money From Plantain Farming

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How To Make Money From Plantain Business

Plantain is one of the agricultural produce with great potentials to create a lot of wealth in a continuous and continual manner, ranging from farm to table.

In this piece, I will expose to you various ways and place at your disposal necessary information that will enable you to venture into the business.

Plantain is one of the staple foods in Africa and other developing countries of the world.

Nigeria is one of the largest producers of plantain in the world. It is ranked third among starchy staples in Nigeria thus occupying an important position in the food chain in the country. Yet the production, which is in the hands of smallholder farmers, is mainly for local consumption.

Today, there is increasing interest in plantain production meaning that Nigeria could be one of the largest producers of plantain not just for local consumption but for export, earning much-needed foreign exchange.

You could be part of this revolution by tapping into this very profitable agribusiness and contribute to a diversified economy in Nigeria.

Besides Nigeria, other major plantain producers of the world are Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Guinea, Malawi, Ghana, Colombia, Rwanda, Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Guinea, Bolivia and Cuba. In 2009, the FAO rated Uganda the top producer of plantain in the world, with 9.5 million metric tons of harvest.

Farming

Plantain is a drought-tolerant and herbaceous (no woody stem) plant that grows from an underground mass of roots. It grows well in tropical, moisture-rich, humid, low-lying soils.

The full grown plantain plant flowers at the top in-between the leaf clusters and eventually grows into a bunch and may have between three and twenty hands. Each bunch holds fingers ranging from five to 10 fruits. The raw green plantain ripens to an enhanced flavour and sweetness as its starch converts to sugar.

Food Value

Plantain is one of the staple sources of carbohydrates, starch and energy. It is rich in protein for body building, fibre, which helps in bowel movement, reducing constipation, Vitamin C (helps the body to develop resistance against disease), Vitamin A (plays an active part in visual system and skin complexion), and potassium (helps to control bold pressure). It also has Vitamin B complex, B6, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous, among others.

Uses

Plantain can be prepared in a number of ways. Ripe and unripe plantain can be processed into one form of food or other. The unripe or immature fruit can be sliced, peeled and dried to be ground into powder and is eaten in form of fufu.

The mature fruit can be cooked, baked, pounded, roasted, fried as chips, and the overripe fruit can be processed into beer spiced with pepper or fried with edible oil. It also serves as a raw material for many value-added products, especially in the agro-allied industry.

Processing

Plantain can be processed into chips and a lot of young people are doing brisk business from this venture. It involves frying the plantain until it becomes crisp chips and packaging it properly. Plantain chips are sold everywhere in Nigeria, supermarkets, bus stops, shops and walkways.

The capital requirement is low while return on investment is very high. Many are making a living through it.

Advantages

Plantain is an easy plant to cultivate and maintain quite unlike other plants we discussed in previous editions. Once you plant plantain, it multiplies by itself.

As you harvest the bunch, the stem dies and new suckers sprout to take its place. A plantation will give you endless source of income year in, year out. All that is required is intermittently clearing the weeds.

Species

There are different breeds of plantain such as musa, a fast-growing variety that does not take long to mature and fruit, and culture banana, another type grown in tropical regions. The fruit production is the fourth largest in the world. African Rhinohorn, produces few fruits, which are of enhanced size, while Brazilian plantain is the sweetest. Choose the one that is marketable in your area, suitable for your soil.

Planting

Land is a crucial factor in this business. You can start by acquiring a piece of land either by buying, leasing or through inheritance.

You could start from that open space in your compound. Hire some farm hands if you cannot do it directly by yourself.

Plantain grows very well in the southern and middle belt parts of Nigeria. It can be planted throughout the rainy season but not towards the last rains. Since plantain does not bear seeds, the only way you can plant it is by its suckers.

Select the suckers from plants that produce big bunches of plantain.

Good plants produce bunches twice a year. The suckers should be well spaced, about 3m between the rows and 2m within the row. The rows should be straight to give the plants sufficient sunlight. If the soil is not very fertile, fertilizer, manure or ash could be applied to nourish the plant for a good yield.

Weeding

Weeds can be removed manually or by spraying weed-killer chemicals on them. Make sure that weeds do not overrun the farm. Clear the weeds periodically as the need arises.

Disease And Disease Control

The major disease that attacks a plantain plantation is called black sigatoka, which is caused by fungus. There are also pests such as nematodes and stemborers. When attacked, the leaves show yellow spots and later turn brown and black before the plant dies.

Applying fungicides such as chlorothalonils, benomyl, dithiocarbamates and so on aerially can control them. Nematodes are tiny worms that attack the plant’s roots. These can be controlled by applying nematicides around the plant.

Marketing

Plantains are sold in markets, on roadsides, or even in the farm. Retailers and wholesalers often go to the farm to make purchases.

Some farmers take orders from boarding schools, hospitals and hotels while some take transport the produce to urban centres and distant markets by trains, Lorries and trailers.

Profitability

Plantain is highly sought after because of its flavour and food value. It is also used as an industrial raw material. The demand for plantain is always higher than the supply.

A big bunch of plantain sells at between N2,000 and N3,500, depending on the size and location. If you have a plantation of 200 stands, you are likely to make N400,000 at N2,000 a bunch. Multiply that by two as they would produce twice a year. You can then imagine the quantum of cash you would be raking in effortlessly every now and then.

Whichever part you play in the value chain, whether as a farmer, a trader or a processor, plantain business offers you endless streams of income.

It is a business you can start even on a small scale in your compound and grow into a big farmer, with little or no capital. And those who dare to play big are turning millionaires by the day.

This may be your chance to prosper!

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