How to Start Cucumber Farming in Nigeria will guide you through the stepwise procedures required to start a cucumber farming business in Nigeria.
- Selection of Suitable Site for cucumber farming
- Site Preparation for cucumber farming
- Seed Selection
- Building of Stakes
Cucumber is one of the most popular vegetables widely consumed across the country. People who are into Cucumber Farming can attest to its lucrativeness.
Cucumber, scientifically known as ‘Cucumis sativus’ is considered to have originated in Nepal.
Cucumbers are produced around the world. Russia is known to be the largest producer of cucumber, followed by India, China, and the U.S. being the fourth hierarchical.
In Nigeria, most people think cucumber is only cultivated commercially in the north. Of course, this is not true. All that starting a cucumber farming needs is fertile loamy soil, adequate water, and sunlight.
Therefore, if you intend to start cucumber farming in any part of Nigeria, you can go ahead providing you meet the few indispensable demands mentioned above.
Cucumber is widely eaten raw. It can also be used in garnishing salads and served alongside meals such as jollof rice, fried rice, etc.
Cucumber has a thin, tender, and dark green skin that does not require peeling and is highly nutritious. It proffers cogent health benefits to the body.
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Steps on how to start Cucumber Farming Business in Nigeria:
1. Selection of Suitable Site for cucumber farming
As earlier stated, cucumber can be cultivated in any part of the country. All it needs is fertile loamy soil, adequate water, and sunlight.
Ensure you purchase or lease land with fertile loamy soil (could also be loamy-clay soil), whose pH is 7.0 (or around 7.0), and close to the market/urban settlement.
Also, ensure there are no shades around your land that could prevent sunlight from penetrating your cucumber, and guarantee your accessibility to a source of water either a well or borehole.
Cucumber needs water and sunlight to grow well. Therefore, ensure your land is situated where these are very much available.
2. Site Preparation for cucumber farming
Clear and remove unwanted plants from your land. Avoid using Herbicide to weed because its chemicals could affect the fertility of your soil.
Apply nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer (NPK fertilizer) at a ratio of 15:15:15 to help boost the fertility of your soil. This will help your cucumber grow healthily and fast.
3. Seed Selection
This is a very important step in cucumber cultivation. It is generally known said that ‘whatever you sow, you’ll reap’. You sow bad seed, you reap a bad harvest (fruit), you sow a good seed, and you reap a good harvest (fruit). Therefore, ensure your source for good seeds.
Avoid importing seeds from the U.S because they have a totally different climatic condition from ours (Nigeria). The importation of seeds from Thailand is ok since their climatic condition is similar to that of Nigeria.
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture is an agricultural research organization that could be of great benefit in supplying you with proficient cucumber seeds. You can visit the closest branch to you or log on to their site for inquiries.
Cucumber farming requires a lot of water for the survival and healthy growth of the cucumber.
Therefore, if planted during the dry season, there should be an irrigation system to help supply adequate water to the farmland from time to time.
Ensure there is space between cucumber seedlings to avoid competition for limited nutrients amongst crops.
It is not advisable to have nursery beds for cucumbers owing to the fragility of their roots. These roots easily get spoilt during transplanting.
Plant 3 seeds per hole and ensure the plants are 1 foot apart. Also, when planting, push the cucumber seeds about 1 inch into the soil on the beds.
5. Building of Stakes
Cucumber plants are climbers. Therefore, they require the necessary support for
optimal growth. This is why it is important to build up stakes at the side of the beds to support the cucumber leaves as they grow.
As soon as the seedlings sprout up, mulching (i.e. the covering of topsoil with plastic sheets, nylon, bark chips, etc. to prevent weed growth, retain soil moisture and prevent root freezing) should be done.
Also, water your plant on a daily basis and weed after 3weeks of planting to avoid insect and pest infestation of diseases on plants also, spray insecticides and pesticides from time to time.
This will help prevent diseases such as powdery mildew, fusarium wilt, phytophthora crown, etc.
Harvest your cucumber when they are immature and green in color. Harvesting is done manually with hands and should be handled with care to prevent bruises and damage.
Depending on the species of seed cultivated, the maturity of cucumber takes about 6 weeks. After harvesting, wash, and arrange your cucumber in bags ready for sale. Cucumbers should be kept in a cool dry place to avoid damage. Although it should not be kept or stored for long.
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Although cucumbers barely lack buyers owing to their high demand in the market, it is advisable to market your cucumbers before the harvest period to make buyers readily available after harvesting.
When your cucumbers are fresh and healthy, the market will be readily available to purchase them at good prices.
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