Watermelon farming is one of the mainstay of agriculture in Nigeria which is gradually taking over from crude oil. This is so because the country is gradually witnessing a shift from crude oil focused exports, to agricultural produce focused exports. This has seen an increase in the level of foreign exchange earned by Nigeria, and by extension the farmers. Poverty is being reduced to a bare minimum through this. In this article, we will focus on an agricultural produce which is in high demand both domestically and internationally.
This produce is non other than watermelon. The watermelon fruit is highly nutritious as well as having the much needed water to hydrate your body. Due to its high nutritious content it is recommended by nutritionists to to be taken as often as possible.
Some Nutritious Benefits of Watermelon
Having introduced the subject of our discussion, let’s check out some nutritious benefits of this fruit to the body. Why is watermelon a highly desirable fruit? It is simply because it is made up of 92% water. Other nutrients contained in watermelon includes vitamin A, B6, and C. Others include antioxidants, lycopene, amino acids and potassium.
These are well known nutrients which are beneficial to the body and decrease the chances of the body coming under health risks. One of his several advantages is that it is easily accessible and very cheap. This means that it is well within the reach of the every Nigerian.
Watermelon Farming in Nigeria
Every part of Nigeria supports watermelon farming. However, a bulk of current production comes from the northern part of the country. Although this is the case, you can take advantage of its ability to grow anywhere within Nigeria to start cultivating it. Watermelon is always available. This is due to rainy season and irrigation cultivation of the fruit. This means that the fruit is available all year round.
There is always high demand for it which is why you you should consider starting this business. While being highly marketable and financially rewarding, the start up costs for this business is significantly low.
Requirements for Starting this Business
Capital is a basic requirement for starting any business. A watermelon business is no different. However, capital is not the only requirement you need as there are also others which must be put in place such as land, seedlings, fertilizer and labour. From the above mentioned requirements, land is one of the most important. However, getting one can be significantly costly. If you have one already, you would have significantly reduced the costs of starting this business.
You also have to determine which variety of watermelon you want to plant as there are several varieties of these fruits. Some of these include;
- The Crimson Sweet Watermelon – This is one of the common varieties of watermelon in Nigeria. It has a deep red flesh, as well as a very sweet taste.
- The Black Diamond – This specie is yet another type of watermelon variety. This has a dark skin, but has a red flesh within.
- The Congo Watermelon – Another varieties of watermelon include the Congo variety and the moon and stars variety.
Cultivation of Watermelon in Nigeria
There are several ways to cultivate watermelon. However, it all depends on your soil condition. It is important to note that when planting your watermelon seedlings,seedlings, you should try as much as possible to avoid waterlogged areas. This is because it does not thrive in such conditions. Ridges are the best for commercial production of watermelon.
The depth of your seedlings should be about 30 centimeters, while the space apart should be about a foot wide. This allows for proper growth of the plants and easy spread. If your farm has clay soil, then its water retention rate would be higher. Therefore if you’ll be using irrigation, you should water the plants once a week. Loamy soils are the best for watermelon in rainy season.
Other Important Requirements
It is very important that after having met all the above requirements, you should have a highly efficient marketing structure in place. This is to facilitate easy disposal of your products. Without this in place, you will likely lose your investments as these fruits are highly perishable.