Banana is one of the most consumed fruit in Nigeria, in and out of season the demand for banana and plantain is high, an entrepreneur with a good perspective will agree that banana and plantain plantation is one of the most lucrative farm business one can venture into. While farming of banana is highly abused by many farmers, testimonies are gathered everyday from the few entrepreneur who took up the risk and now they can sit comfortably in the committee of millionaires.
It is true about the saying which goes thus; it takes a risk to be a millionaire, with banana farming the risk involve is very minimal to the core, it is not the kind of farming that attracts too much competition, but it is the type that rains money for the farmer for many years.
Many families in the rural and urban areas use the economy of Nigeria as excuse for being poor, while many graduates from numerous tertiary institutions around the country rain abusive words on the government for not creating more jobs that they can get employed in, everyone conveniently forgets that God actually blessed the soil of Nigeria by making it a very fertile land for agriculture. Some other set of people believe that farming is meant for some set of individual in their village while they are meant to do white collar jobs, this mentality has led to the death of so many as a result of poverty instead of farming their way out of poverty. If many people in this country could take out a moment to sit down and review their standards of living, they will come to the realization that their complaints about poverty, unemployment and inability to take care of themselves in their present situation was actually their own making.
Owing to the fact that Banana farming is the most neglected farming in Nigeria, it is one aspect of farming that is promising and has profitable potentials than most other farming one can venture into. The most basic thing you need to begin your banana farm is knowledge which happens to be most useful and effective when applied and useless and ineffective when ignored. As a banana farmer you can be making five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) or more on a monthly basis just from your banana and plantain plantation if you place it in a commercial standard level.
I know of a University student called Dayo who has no sponsor to help him through the tertiary institution, but having the will to succeed and a little portion of land he inherited from his parents, he discovered how lucrative banana farming could be and then sought out knowledge on how to properly farm banana and plantain.
In this article I will be telling you the steps he took to becoming successful in banana farming.
The first thing my friend Dayo did was to gain knowledge on banana plantation. Since he didn’t have much money to pay for training, he decided to follow a banana farmer to cultivate his plantation. After few months, he gained basic knowledge of what to do and how to do it, and virtually all his questions about farming banana were answered in the process of his training.
After his training, Dayo made a plan of how to go about his plantation and academics. This signifies that banana farming won’t ask you to quit your present job, or stop your education, you could actually do both together without one hindering another. His plan covered questions like what are the things he need for his plantation, how could he get what he needed, what are his expected output and profit? And so many other questions were carefully answered after in depth research and documented.
This was my friends first step to farming banana.
The second step to farming banana is land procurement. If you can’t afford to buy one, you can partner with a farmer or rent a farmland that is not been cultivated. Although land procurement happens to be the next step, my friend got lucky because he already inherited a portion of land, so he moved on to step three.
In procuring the land you need to consider the climate condition of the environment. It has been discovered that banana plantations thrive very well in an average climate, that is a climate that is not too hot nor too cold. Also they do grow well in soil that is naturally fertilized or thick compost manure. You can also consider surrounding your plantation with tall trees so as to provide your banana with needed shades that is going to help maintain the humidity of their surroundings.
After procuring your land you need to prepare the land for farming activity. So the very first thing to do is clearing the land. Your purpose of clearing your land is to create more space for planting, make the land convenient for planting; to remove bush, stumps, stones and trees from the soil you intend to plant bananas and plantain. Basically land clearing helps you to boost the productivity of the plantation.
This is the step where you acquire the suckers you will be planting. Getting a good sucker is very important as it’s an prerequisite for making a good harvest. Banana is not planted like every other plant where you just drop some seed into the ground and it survives and starts growing, rather you get suckers not seeds for your prepared farm land.
After the suckers must have been acquired the next thing to do is transplanting, the sucker usually have corm at the bottom during transplanting be sure that the corm or the roots at the bottom is trimmed properly before planting. Make a space of about 8 to 10 meters between planted suckers and keep them moist.
As your banana grows, you need to manage them properly by clearing weeds around them. Weed clearing gives room to proper growth health of the banana and elimination of every growth threat the banana might face. As plantain grows in the plantation you should device means of protecting it from strong wind, also cultivate the habit of throwing dead plantain or banana leaves back into the soil of the plantation, doing this keep the plantain well nourished.
Your plantation will be ready in about 13 15 months from time of planting, after harvest you do not have to plant another suckers, as you harvest the matured suckers other suckers spring up by itself, continuously you plantation will last for 15 to 20 years without need to plant another sucker.
These are the basic steps that made my friend Dayo to be self sustained in school and after school.
1 sucker for 20 years, what a beautiful investment.