Plantain farming is a lucrative farming venture that is unknown by many agro-investor. It is not only lucrative; the cultivation and maintenance process is also easy. The plant regenerates and multiplies rapidly on its own and thus makes the yield increase more and more overtime.
Additionally, it is easy to set up and requires just small amount of capital. It thrives well in roughly every Nigerian soil and can grow fruits round the year. The major cost of starting the business is the money to secure the land and purchase the suckers to start with. Thus, if you have any vacant land with loamy soil you can turn it into profitable plantation farming.
Plantain is a popular staple food in tropical climates where the temperature is warm with bright sunshine and suitable moisture for optimal growth. It is rated as the tenth most significant staple food that is eaten by people of all race globally. Plantain when it is unripe has a flavor related to that of potato. The texture as well looks alike. It can be cooked by steaming, boiling, frying, smoking, cutting into bits and cooked with vegetable.
What to include in your plan for Plantain Farming?
To start plantain farming, you will need the following:
Chose a land in a suitable climate
Plantain grows well in an environment that is neither too hot nor too cold. They thrive very well in a land that is natural manure or on which thick compost is added.
The best soil for growing plantain is loamy soil because of the presence of mixture of organic and inorganic materials. Organic materials like plants and insects that are decomposing supply the soil with the required air, nutrients and water-retention capacity. These in addition with mineral particles keep the soil loose and fertile.
It is better to plant plantain in groups to be able to get good harvest as this will as well protect them from the harsh effects of the sun.
After you have secured a suitable land, clear the land and get the land ready for cultivation. Plantain plants thrive better when they are grown in bunches or groups. This ensures they get adequate protection each from the adverse effects of the sun. This is easily achieved by planting them in bunch.
You can alternatively plant them under plants with shade to protect them. While clearing the bush, do not clear all the plant, leave some trees to provide the shade and provide the necessary environment.
Get Healthy suckers
Plantain is not a tree but a form of herb. Thus, the planting method differs from that of other plants. Plantain is planted through the sucker. Suckers are baby plantain plants that grow into new plantain plants.
It is therefore, highly essential for you to select healthy suckers. How healthy your suckers are will determine greatly the success of your plantation farming. It is better to use of suckers from matured and harvested plant.
Every mature plantain tree contains a corm at the base. You need to cut as much as possible into the corm when you want to transplant a baby sucker.
There is a corm at the bottom of each mature plantain tree. In transplanting a sucker, it is necessary to cut downwards and get as much corm and root as possible. There should be a space of roughly five meters in-between planted suckers.
It is significant to keep the plantain plantation out of weed. You can either decide to use traditional method by employing laborers. Alternatively, you can make use of herbicides.
As the plant grows, it is essential to protect it from strong effects of the winds. It is as well essential to keep the environment suitably moist.
Enriching the soil
You can make use of fertilizer occasionally but allowing the dead plantain stem and leaves to decay in the farm is suitable for regenerating the soil lost nutrients.
The type of fertilizer suitable for plantain is the NPK fertilizer. This means a fertilizer that contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Applying fertilizer on the plants once every month will boost the growth.
Maintenance of the farm
Maintenance of plantain plantation is not difficult. The only thing that is required is to take off dead leaves and dead plants close to the plantain. Also, you need to take off suckers that are growing close to the plantain plant. The only ones that you need to leave with the growing plantain tree are suckers that are made up of spear shaped leaves.