Better opportunities for farmers aided by friendly policies are on the rise in Nigeria. Farmers are the biggest beneficiaries under this arrangement. Hence this has made the agricultural sector one of the most promising sectors of Nigeria’s economy. Because of this, the number of farmers in Nigeria is on the increase. While this is the case, there are others who are equally employed in the agriculture value chain. This article beams the searchlight on the Irish Potato market. We will also look at the profit potential of this market and why you should consider taking part in it.
The Irish Potato Market in Nigeria
Irish Potato farming in Nigeria has a major impact on the lives of farmers. The same applies for those in the value chain sector. In recent years, Irish Potato has witnessed a growing demand. This comes mainly from consumers who have come to realize its health benefits. Not only that, new ways of preparing this tuber crop has made it more attractive. Irish Potatoes are consumed in a variety of ways. Some of these include fried chips, porridge, baked, mashed potatoes, as well as roasted potato among others. Although these are some ways of preparing it, there is no end to what you can do with it.
At the moment, there is a huge deficit in supply which needs to be covered. This can only be possible when more people begin to cultivate this crop. High profit turnover is an incentive you do not want to ignore. While this is the case, you require basic knowledge. This is what we have set out to provide in this article. Knowing how to farm Irish as well as its profit potentials is a necessary factor for success. Plateau State is a major producer of this crop in Nigeria. This is mostly cultivated through manual labour. However mechanized farming will be best for commercial production.
How Irish Potato is Cultivated
Irish Potato farming involves several procedures. It is also necessary to state that a temperate/cool climate is best. However only a handful of places in Nigeria have such climatic conditions. Jos, Plateau State is one of such, and this crop thrives in such a location. Despite these conditions, Irish Potatoes is known to grow in some Northern States too. First you need to get a land for this purpose. You can either lease such a land or buy it depending on your needs and what is available. Because we are interested in commercial farming, you will need to get a land large enough.
Irish Potatoes are tuber crops that have no seedlings. This means that the tubers themselves sprout new shoots when planted. The first things you need to consider include your land. You should choose a land that is well drained and aerated, your seedlings, fertilizer/manure or both. The potato tubers you would use for your seedlings should have been kept long enough to sprout shoots. These would start to germinate without a need for soil.
Planting Your Potato
After making your ridges, holes should be made with a hoe 20 cm apart. A handful equivalent of compost manure should be dropped in each hole. The Irish Potato seedlings should follow and properly covered with sand. After a 2 week duration from the date of planting, it starts to germinate. Irish Potatoes can be cultivated all year round. This is during the rainy season as well as through the use of irrigation. As your crops grow, you would need to provide the needed care. This is achieved through weeding, loosening the soil around the plant using a hoe to encourage enhanced growth and penetration of the tubers in the soil.
When loosening the soil around the plants, fertilizer is also applied close/almost at the base of the plant. This encourages the crop to achieve its ideal size, thereby avoiding stunted growth.
SEE ALSO: How to Cultivate Hybrid Maize in Nigeria
Profit is the single motivating factor for any business to be established. This includes Irish Potato farming. The inherent potential for profits are enormous. Some cities across the country form the bulk of major consumers of Irish Potatoes in Nigeria. These include Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Delta, and Kano. This is understandable because of the population of these cities, especially Lagos. Your profit potential can significantly improve if you have a transportation system in place. Owning your own transport vehicles gives you an edge as you can transport your potatoes directly to the major markets or to hotels and restaurants.
It is a well known fact that middle men make most of the money from the sweat of farmers. However there have been cases where farmers have successfully formed cooperatives which enables them negotiate a better deal. You should ask around if there is a similar arrangement. If not, you can form one with other farmers. By so doing, forces of demand and supply would be better controlled, thus increasing your profit potential.