You might be wondering what benefits lie in growing cucumbers. It is interesting to note that those who have ventured into this business have been rewarded with pleasant surprises. Cucumber farming in Nigeria really pays.
While many graduates are in search of white-collar jobs, those bold enough to take risks and saw untapped opportunities in cucumber farming have been able to take care of themselves financially.
While there are lots of untapped opportunities in Nigerian agribusiness, cucumber farming in Nigeria is one of those goldmines waiting to be tapped. Unlike other farming opportunities that require a lot of expertise, you can start this business with little or no experience. Also, this venture doesn’t require
Also, this venture doesn’t require a huge amount of money. The key ingredient to successful cucumber farming is irrigation. Why irrigation? Over 80% of cucumber’s composition is water. For those who have basic or no knowledge about farming, this article will give you a step by step guide on how to grow a successful cucumber farm.
8 Major Steps to Cucumber Farming in Nigeria
Here are 8 really important steps (or guides) to consider when thinking about cucumber farming in Nigeria:
Step 1: Research
Before you start any business, a rigorous background search and study is very important, the same applies to any type of farming including cucumber farming. There are different species of cucumber that are specific and adaptable to specific regions.
Hence, before you venture into cucumber farming in Nigeria, you need to gather all the necessary information. Also, conducting a research will help you identify what marketing methods to employ to reach and attract customers as soon as your crop is ready for harvesting.
Step 2: Have a Clearly Written Business Plan
Most farmers in Nigeria don’t usually have a clearly written business plan; however, having one will give you a competitive advantage over others. With a good business plan, you are on the path to attracting private investors and financial institutions to fund your farm.
However, attracting investment relies on your ability to manage your business properly. No investor would like to put his money in a shabbily controlled business venture.
Step 3: Find a Suitable Location for Your Farm
Since you already know that cucumber grows well when there is sufficient supply of water plus a bit of sunshine, it is also important to know that cucumber best grows in a land with rich and humid soil texture. The best place to grow a cucumber is a land close to a water bed. Growing your cucumbers on a rich humid soil serves a lot of purposes.
First is, you get to spend less on irrigation since water is necessary to produce its big and greenish ones highly sought after in the market. Secondly, when you spend less on irrigation, your profit accumulates the more.
Step 4: Land Preparation and Planting
Once you have secured your land and finalized all details, the next step requires you to prepare it before you begin to plant the cucumber seeds. Since land preparation is unarguably the most crucial step in cucumber farming in Nigeria, the following steps will give you an idea of what to do:
• Clear all weed and grass on the land
• Till the land
• Apply fertilizers to the land, unless you favor organic farming
• Dig holes in the land, each should be about 2.5cm in depth for planting the seeds; and a space of 40cm apart to ensure proper growth.
You can prepare the land in rows and columns to allow for easy passage of tractors and humans for activities such as watering and harvesting. Also, you need to consider which type of cucumber seeds to use. Is it a local or foreign seed? Open or closed seed or hybrid or general seed?
Cucumber seeds respond well to fertilizers, and can be used with organic manure. To encourage branching, nip the tips of the main stems as they grow.
Step 5: Labor
If you are starting cucumber business in Nigeria on a small scale, say with about a plot of land, you will most likely handle most of the labor yourself, and only employ people for difficult tasks like making the beds.
However, if you intend to start big, you will definitely need to hire labor.as a guide, the minimum you will pay a laborer per month is N20, 000. Since most promising businesses fail as a result of lazy or incompetent labor, it is recommended that you start small and build up your labor force gradually with hardworking and trusted employees.
Step 6: Irrigation
As mentioned earlier, the major component of cucumber is water, hence, there’s a constant need for water. If you want to grow a successful cucumber farm in Nigeria, securing a good land and an adequate supply of water are necessary.
If you don’t have constant supply of water, your cucumber will look disheveled and will taste bitter. When you harvest a bitter cucumber, you know what that implies. Nobody will buy your cucumbers and you as well say sayonara to your profits. Even animals won’t eat it. Who wants to eat a bitter cucumber?
Step 7: Harvesting
Cucumber fruits are harvested before they become mature, say between 1and 2 weeks depending on when they flower. For the first harvest, the time is around 40 to 60 days after they are sown.
Again, this duration varies depending on the weather condition and can be done daily or with a few gaps in between days.
Step 8: Marketing
Like most business ventures, cucumber farming also needs you to advertise and reach out to potential buyers. However, once you gain customers and you are known for quality, your cucumbers will advertise for you.
To attract customers, you need to ensure that your cucumbers are green, big, attractive and juicy. Oh! They must be of high quality. Cucumbers can be sold in wholesale, retail, a market nearby, or in one of the many companies specializing in cucumber processing.
Also, do not underestimate the power of the local market women.
You might not make much profit like when you sell in retail; however, you will sell in bigger volumes and the money will come quicker and faster. As long as your cucumbers are of high quality, these local market women will struggle among themselves and fight to buy your cucumbers.
When you have a steady cash flow, you will be able to cover daily operational expenses, purchase inventory, pay employees and operate costs of your cucumber farm.