Dry season vegetable farming business, by Agbaji Chinedu

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Today’s Agri-business

Dry season farming is crop production during the dry season i.e. when it is no longer raining. In this type of farming, you depend solely on water provided through dams, boreholes, rivers, etc.

Over time, the dry season has always been a challenging period for farmers because there are no irrigation facilities in the country and they most often than not, have had to incorporate different saving practices to adapt to climate change on their own.

This irreversibly results in low crop yields and the endangering of the livelihood of farmers. But in every challenge, there are opportunities to explore.

Profitable Crops for Farming During Dry Season

Cultivating vegetables in the dry season is indeed an uncommon form of farming in Nigeria. Contrary to what you may have earlier believed, there are crops that can survive and thrive well in this condition.

Warm-season vegetables such as onions, carrots, tomato, pepper, cucumber, okra, garden egg, melon, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, maize crops planted during the dry season are always fresh and healthy. Planting during the dry season pays more to farmers as the vegetables are usually more expensive and neat unlike the ones gotten in the rainy season.

Producing vegetables such as tomatoes, pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber, pepper, okra, ewedu (jute leaves), etc, can guarantee you a bumper harvest and an amazing return on investment (every 60 days) that could reach 100 per cent in profit.

Vegetables are a very important source of vitamins and minerals that forms an essential source of the human diet.

There is no much difference between vegetable farming and other types of farming. The only little difference is the duration of cultivation and maturity.

Depending on the variety planted, vegetables take a very short time to mature, compared to other crops. For instance, spinach takes less than three months to mature.

Cultivation During the Dry Season: Irrigation, borehole, dams, rivers are the way out for vegetable farmers during the dry season, the use of organic manure (poultry manure highly recommended) will boost the vegetable growth as well.

It is actually in the dry season that you sell more. In the dry season, a bell of vegetable costs doubles what it will cost in the rainy season. This implies that vegetables are scarce in the dry season.

Minimum Start-Up Capital

To grow vegetables on I hectare to 2 ½ hectares of land, you would need between N120, 000 to N150, 000. This amount is due to climate change, insecticides, etc”. Well, it depends on an individual’s target.

For instance, if you want to cultivate it in your back-yard, you can start with any amount. But if you want to cultivate vegetables on a commercial basis, I will advise that the minimum land you need is one acre and above.

Appropriate Farming Conditions: Contrary to popular belief, vegetables can be grown anywhere, it is the system that is used that would be different. A normal land that is not swampy; that you can grow vegetables during the dry season.

You make use of sandy-loamy soil. Sandy loamy soil is dark in colour and this type of land requires less fertilizer because they are rich in organic matter. You can also grow vegetables on sandy soil. Most sandy soil is best used for vegetables during the rainy season because it doesn’t hold water.

It drains water easily. While you can’t use it during the dry season is because you would need to be applying water every day because of the fact that it drains water easily.

Another soil is clay soil. You should avoid clay soil during the dry season because you would have to need a lot of water. Hence, during the rainy season, you can grow on virtually any type of soil.

Challenges: There could be a vegetable glut at a time when the harvest of farmers mature and are brought to the market at the same time. It is not peculiar to vegetable farmers alone. It could also affect other farmers.

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