In this article, I will discuss in detail, how to Start and Succeed in Plantain Farming Business in Nigeria and make profits. Plantain farming is one of the most lucrative Farming Business Ideas in Nigeria right now. If you are looking for a smart Agribusiness to invest in, Plantain farming is your answer.
If you’ve not cleared your land, kindly do so now because the best time to start plantain farming is at the beginning of the year once that rain starts falling.
With all indications, the rain will start sooner this year, and it’s gonna rain wonderfully well as it did last year.
If you’re farming plantain commercially next year, this is the right time (around January/February/March) to start planting your suckers. You need to plant now so you can harvest your fruits towards October this year, by this time there will be the presence of rain and you need the rain for your plantain to fruit without stress.
Another advantage of planting early is that you’ll harvest when plantain bunch is very scarce in the market, you can sell a bunch for as high as 4k in this period.
If you plant in April/May, you’ll harvest towards January next year, by that time, we’re already in the dry season, your plantains at this time will need water to sustain themselves, if not they’ll dry up and abort fruit production.
If you do not supply water at that time, there is the probability that almost 70% of your plantain will dry and tip-off, the fruiting ones will abort production, and you’ll be at the mercy of irrigation to avoid losing your farm to drought.
For an old farm of 1 year 6month plus, you might not experience this because their root system is well developed, they can withstand the drought, and still fruit well.
This is why it is not advisable to plant with heavy rainfall if you’re not going to provide water at a fruiting time, weather shock and stress will kill your plantains, and you know that if you plant at the peak of the rainfall, you’ll harvest at the peak of the dry season.
That’s why rural farmers plant early to harvest when the rain is still falling.
If you’re also using swampy land, this is the best time to plant, if you plant during heavy rainfall, you have a higher chance of losing all your suckers as their corms will soak up too much water and burst.
You need to plant when the land is still dry before the rain comes fully, your plantain already had a well-developed root, you’ll only need to create drainage in between your farm to take out excess water.
If your land is an upland (dry land), you should not use suckers from a swampy plantain farm, they’ll not survive the drought cos they’re very succulent and need water to stay fresh.
Get all your suckers from a dried plantain farm, those can withstand the drought
My aim is to plant a minimum of 500,000 plantain stands this year.
How To Clear and Prepare Your Land For Plantain Farming
To those planning to venture into plantain farming next year, If your land is huge and there are many trees on it, this is the perfect time to start land preparation.
As I’ve always advised, using bulldozers to clear land for farming isn’t the best practice except you have extra funds to replenish the soil artificially, Scraping the topsoil takes away all the beneficial nutrients in the soil, you’ll have to replenish it artificially if not, your field will be very low or have no yield at all.
To manually clear an acre of land is around 25k to 35k depending on location and how dense the vegetation is.
If you’re leasing the land, kindly note that the landowners own the trees you’re felling on the site, they’ll take over the logs and sell them as firewood.
Your labourers will only clear the land while they contract the cutting of the logs to a chainsaw handler.
You would have to hurry them to remove the felled trees on time, if you don’t, they may take an eternity to remove them and this will hinder your farming operation.
Land preparation is a very tedious exercise, you have to start early so you won’t miss the actual planting season.
Plantain is very profitable when properly planned
Also note this;
If you’re leasing land, try to know the original owners and make findings on the land.
There are cursed land, these are land with ownership disputes, I don’t want to go into details, but as an African, you should understand better. Whatever you do on this type of land won’t yield anything tangible.
To clear an acre of land is around 25 to 35k depending on location and how dense the vegetation is.
You will have to start now and note that you’ll still have to leave the grasses to dry and burnt it
Land preparation for Plaintain Farming Business
Clearing land for plantain farming
Do not use a bulldozer
Do not use a bulldozer
Do not use a bulldozer
How many times did I mention that?
Start your land preparation early
Clear your land manually, leave the bushes and trees to dried and throw fire.
This method retains the nutrient of the soil and you may never need fertilizer for the first 1/2years of using the land.
Bulldozers scrape topsoil away and this layer of soil contains the major nutrient the plantains need for sufficient growth.
Manual clearing takes time, it may take several weeks or months to clear a few acres of land, this is why you need to start early, in fact, start now.
It’s cheaper and faster to clear land during the dry season than in the wet season.
You can clear now and in the next 5days, set fire to clear make the farm clean, but this may not be possible at the earliest time in the rainy season
The season is now, If you own land you’re not using at the moment, this is the right time to start clearing that land.
If you want to buy or lease land to start plantain farming, this is the time to get the land and also start the land preparation.
If on the other way you don’t have time to do all these but wish to own a plantain farm passively, you can join our plantain cluster farming in Agbowa where we do everything till harvest time for you
We lease land for 20k per acre per year and till the ground for you till harvest time
This is the Estimate for 1acre :
^Land leasing: 20k
^Agency fee. 10k
^Monitoring few: 50k
^2nd weeding: 20k
^3rd weeding: 20kk
^4th weeding: 20k
The estimate also works for people who want to run their farm themselves with the exception of Transportation, monitoring fees, land leasing, and agency fees.
This means that if you own land and you want to do everything yourself, plus or minus, you’ll spend around 250k to set up an acre of plantain farm, including logistics and monitoring, and you might end up spending 300k per acre.
The profit margin for Plantain Farming Business
A plantain bunch is around 1000 to 2000
All things equal, if we benchmark at N1000 per bunch, you’ll earn roughly 700k in the first year
Plantain starts fruiting at 7month and this extends up to the 13th
There is a document to sign and there are terms and conditions if you want to join our plantain cluster farming in Epe, Lagos.
So many clients have been asking me for suckers that can carry two bunches at maturity.
My response, getting all your suckers to produce two bunches is like asking your wife to produce twins at every birth.
It’s possible for suckers to produce two bunches at a time, but it’s a rare case just like women producing two or three babies at a time. It’s a probability and the odds are very slim.
While working on my farm today, I stumbled on this plantain stand producing two bunches at a time (Picture shown above), I had to take pictures and videos of it.
What you should look out for when buying plantain suckers is the ability to yield big bunches and also fruit faster, Looking for suckers that can carry two bunches is like looking for needles in a haystack.
I stand to be corrected though.
Plantain Species in Nigeria
And another misconception I’ll like to correct, there is nothing like HYBRID suckers, that word doesn’t exist in the plantain farming genealogy.
There are two commercially known plantain species in Nigeria, Elephant giant and Cameroonian dwarf
If you’re looking for species that yield very big and mature in 7 to 9 months, don’t look further, book for Elephant giant, that’s what I deal with, I can supply any quantity you need anywhere in Nigeria
And whenever you hear the word hybrid, it means interbreeding of two different species of an animal to bring out desired properties, it doesn’t in any way means you’re buying a “high breed”, the word high breed doesn’t exist anywhere in the dictionary, you can read more about this on Google
Best Time of The Year To Start Plantain Farming
The best time to plant your plantains is around January, February and March.
Rain is falling at least once a week now, that’s okay for plantain
Farmers started planting in January
Now (The beginning of the year) is the best time to beat the dry season in December/January.
Just as plantain needs water to grow vigorously, it also needs water to sustain fruiting.
Hence there is a probability that it’ll abort fruiting and fall off during the intensely dry season.
Steps involved in Plantain Farming
Done around November/December/January/February of every year.
You’ll have to clear your land manually, burn or remove scattered trees branches to allow free passage within the farm
Planting of Suckers:
This usually starts at the third rainfall of the year, it can be around January/February/March/April/May.
If your site is located in an environment where there is low humidity, you can wait for the rain to get fully established before planting your suckers.
However, if your land is swampy or there is high humidity in your area, you can plant with the 2nd or 3rd rainfall of the year.
Plant your suckers with a spacing of 2.5by2.5m, 2by2m, or 3by3m
Ideally, you should plant 700 suckers on an acre of land.
But if you’re leasing the land and want to maximize it fully, you can do 2by2m spacing and this accommodates 800suckers on an acre of land.
If the land is a swamp and there is a great humus deposit, you can do 1000 suckers to maximize the land fully.
Kindly note this;
800 to 1000 suckers on a plot of land will deplete the whole nutrient in the soil in a space of 1/2 years, you’ll have to rotate to another land the following year or invest heavily in poultry manure, pig dung or any artificial nutrient supplement to put the soil in shape the following year.
Periodical weeding: after planting your suckers, you’ll clear the weeds periodically, if you’re using virgin land, you’ll have fewer issues with weeds unlike when you’re using an overly used land
An overly used land will sprout weeds often and often and the moment your land starts growing grasses, that land is gone for good, you should rotate or invest heavily in fertilizers.
A virgin land will grow less or zero grasses, you’ll be having issues with much of shrubs and these kinds of weeds the Yoruba called Ewe Akintola (pardon me, I don’t know the English name)
On virgin land, you should plan towards 3/4 weeding before your first harvest.
Pruning of leaves is very beneficial to plantains, it helps them to thrive better, and helps the pseudostem look kempt, you start to prune when a stand is getting to 4ft tall, you prune leaving 5 to 6 leaves
Get a dedicated cutlass or knives to prune your plantains,
DO NOT use a cutlass for weeding to prune your plantains to avoid infection,
DO NOT also use a foreign cutlass to weed your farm or prune your plantain,
do not borrow, do not allow farmworkers to borrow, do not borrow anyone your farm implements
I’ll be here to guide you any time of the year if you buy suckers from me, I’ll offer free consultancy advice if you would let me help kickstart your profitable plantain farm
Other Ways To Make Money From Plantain Farming Business
If you own a huge plantain farm, you must have in mind that you must have a plan for plantain flour making.
In the dry season, many plantain stands will trip and fall due to prolonged drought, if any stand that felled is carrying unripe fruit bunches, the only option you have is to harvest, peel their back, sliced and sundried, then ground to powdered.
This will not let you have a double loss, at least you’ll make some money from sales of plantain flour.
You’ll experience this a lot throughout the dry season, the only way is to supply water so your plantains will have the strength to carry their babies to maturity.