HOW TO START A PLANTAIN PLANTATION
Plantain farming is sure one of the top profitable farm businesses to venture into when productive and profitable farming businesses are listed. Agricultural business is like a goldmine and it reward is unimaginable. It is interesting to know that the plantain we eat daily fetch millions of dollars into the pocket of few farmers. Only few farmers in Africa plant and grow plantain, this factor makes the demand for plantain very high. Plantain farming is a very productive and profitable business in NIGERIA.
STARTING A PLANTAIN PLANTATION
The first thing you must consider is the right climatic condition of your area. Plantain cannot grow well in a too cold or too hot environment. The best climatic condition for the effective growth of plantain is between the range of 26-30 degree Celsius.
The best soil for planting a plantain is a rich and fertilized soil and the best places to grow plantain in Nigeria are osun, ekiti, delta, rivers and ogun state etc.
Plantains are grown through suckers. A strong and active sucker should be chosen for transplanting, when transplanting suckers make sure that as much corm and root as possible are gotten and are planted. Let the spacing be between two to five meters . At the early stage of planting, keep them moist and not too wet as they do not have leaves to evaporate the water. As the plantain grows it is important for you to sprinkle fertilizer s once in a while but most importantly throwing back the dead leaves of the plantain into the plant is good enough to help sustain the rich quality of the soil. For instance, if you plant 1000 suckers of plantain on an hectare of land, you will not only get back your money in your first harvest but will also make good and reasonable profits. About four months later you will come back to the same plot of land to harvest more.
COST OF STARTING A PLANTAIN PLANTATION
Starting plantain farming does not cost much. It cost depends on the average dimension of your farmland. You will need first a hectare of farmland and cost of labour to clear the farmland and the purchase of suckers can cost up to #450,000 depending on the community and state where the land is situated.
The interesting part of plantain farming Is that suckers are only bought once and planted once because once the suckers are planted, they can keep producing for the next 25 years or more if you maintain the land well. This means that you will only need to buy another set of suckers if you want to plant on a fresh land.
In plantain farming one can make as much as #150,000 per hectare on an annual basis and this can be made continuously over and over again for many years if the land is maintained properly. For instance, let’s assume you planted 700 suckers and you sell a bunch for #1000 you’ll get #700,000 per year on that.
The sucker continues to reproduce itself until the land losses fertility.
POSSIBLE CHALLENGES YOU MAY FACE IN PLANTAIN FARMING
There are quite a lot of problems you can face as a plantain farmer but it all revolves around the diseases of plantain. If these plantains are not being taken proper care of by the farmer, diseases may attack the plantain and this can lead to poor yield during harvest. Diseases like Eelworm which attacks the roots thereby creating galls, the attack done by nematodes and borers which make plantain dry off.
The farmer can control these pests by applying Nematicides to the soil twice in a year and it is best applied in April and September.
Regular maintenance is important to record success in this farming business. Transportation of farm inputs and farm produce from the farm to the market, labor factor are all part of maintenance and transportation.
Plantain farming business is one of the best agricultural businesses in Nigeria you can venture into if you really and truly understand how it works.