As a farmer who is just starting the cultivation, 1,000 heaps will be enough at a start. Knowing what capacity a particular piece of land will be able to contain is important – as a farmer you should be able to ascertain the capacity of a certain piece of land in heap wise.
As regards this, it is not that you will be counting the heaps, what you will do is just to make your furrow and give it enough space as mentioned above. Then, as you are planting, you will begin to count the numbers of vines you are planting. By following a simple procedure in the cultivation of potato, you can even get almost all the beds or furrow full of potatoes during harvesting.
Here Is The Procedure
After three to four weeks of planting, there is need for you to go to the farm with a hoe or shovel to cover the vines with sand – as the vines would have come out. Again, after another two weeks, the vines will begin to come further out and you do the same – the more you cover the vines with sand as they are coming out, the more potatoes you will get. This actually differentiates productive farmers with patience and endurance from other farmers.
How Lucrative Is The Business?
In the first place, it is a business that one can settle for on part time or full time basis. Potato farming business is very lucrative in the sense that the demand is a little bit higher than yam in the market. While potatoes can’t be prepared like pounded yam, it can be processed as potato chips, which yam can’t fit into and can be well packaged than yam. Also, as part of the processing aspect of potato, it can go extra mile as it can be canned in a tin.
Though, potato might not be a major food commodity in Nigeria which might not be unconnected with the work load involved in the processing of the product, however, if the product can be processed in a hygienic manner and well packaged, it will no doubt find ready buyers. Potato products will have high demand in hotels, homes, restaurants, and fast food outlets.
Potato Distribution Business
The business of distributing potatoes is also lucrative. There is a woman in front of my school who normally buys a sack of potato, which is a little bit bigger than a bag of rice for the sum of N4,500 from farmers and she sells the potatoes as a wholesaler for N6,000 to N7,000. She can sell at prices of N50, N100, N500 or N1,000, depending on the quantity buyers request for. Now, people have made her place a buying point and she prefers to sell to retailers who sell to the final consumers.
Below Are Answers To All You Need To Start A Potato Business Today
What Are The Industrial Uses of Sweet Potatoes?
It has now been determined that sweet potatoes have very diverse uses apart from just consumption. For the past decades, sweet potatoes have mostly been grown for food, both for humans and animals, but with advances in technology, it’s now possible for sweet potatoes to be used in various industrial processes. Here are a few industrial uses of sweet potatoes:
Sweet Potato Bio Fuel: Scientists from Taiwan have devised new and more efficient processes to convert sweet potatoes into bio ethanol. The new method means that sweet potatoes will in the future power a new and cleaner transportation, particularly in the developing countries. The use of sweet potatoes as Biofuel will also slow down global warming caused by the greenhouse gases from fossil fuels. For developing countries, this will be an easier means of building a green transportation industry as sweet potatoes are relatively easier to produce.
Sweet Potato Starch: Ten percent of the sweet potato produce in China is processed into starch often by small scale enterprises using manual or simple mechanized equipment. Chinese farmers, through small investments in equipment and processes have been able to convert millions of tons into starch. The starch is used mainly for noodles, while some are also packed in bags and exported to other countries in South East Asia. The sweet potato starch is also used to feed pigs helping boost China’s livestock production.
Sweet Potato Flour: Sweet potato flour can be used in making biscuits, baking bread and cookies and many other uses in the food industry. In China, sweet potatoes are even used in the making of noodles. There are countless ways to use sweet potatoes in other industrial and non industrial applications. Sweet Potato Flour has many applications in the food industry.
Simple Processes In Canning Potatoes
You first have to get your potatoes, be it from your farm or the ones you bought. You peel and wash, after which you fry and then can it after some necessary additives have been added to it. Here, it can be preserved for a long period of time, which lands it on the shelf of supermarkets, unlike yams which cannot be canned.
How Many Bags Can You Have In A Particular Potato Farm?
Looking at the profit potential, let’s start from the grassroots level with 200 heaps of potatoes which is always like flower beds. If you are able to manage it well, you can at least get four to five bags therein. Calculating further, let’s say each bag sells for N4,500, that is to say you will be realizing N18,000 just from 200 heaps.
What Is The Return On Investment Like?
Well, before anyone should go into a business, including farming business, he/she must be sure that what he/she will achieve will be commensurate with the effort and money he/she will be putting in. and that means he/she must first be training on that business so as to know how it works.
Otherwise, the person may run at a loss. You don’t go into potato farming just because you saw people doing it, if you did then you may not be able to plant the potato correctly, which could cause problem.
Another thing that could affect return on investment is the activities of weevils. Potatoes can be affected by weevils and it is also harmful to human. The training you will complete under someone who has been into potato farming will help you to know what to do. Maybe you are to use insecticides, herbicides, germicides or other things, such as adding water with kerosene and some insecticides to spray the potatoes.
If potatoes are affected with weevils, you will begin to notice some white rezones any time you plant the potato vines, which will not do well and is also harmful to human system. Aside this, there are local preservative means to fight this occurrence – after heaping, make sure you remove all objects like sticks which can affect potatoes. Sticks and other hard objects must be well packed away from where you plant potato because potato likes to stand on its own and not to rest on any object – because in the process of resting on objects brings about penetration of weevils.
In a nut shell, if the farmer takes cognizance of the above areas, the return on investment will be high – you just have to know more about potato, as it is a seasonal crop and if you want to indulge in potato farming the way irrigative vegetables are done, it will be expensive. So, it is even preferable to plant during the early rain season – between late March and early April and you harvest it before September. You can also plant during the late rain season in September – this makes its planting periods to be twice a year and the harvest period is between four to five months, and if the land is okay, you may sometimes harvest in three months.
What Is The Startup Capital?
At a start, since you wouldn’t be able to do it by yourself or you may not be chanced, you can call for labourers to clear a small portion of land for N3,000, ridge the area for at least N5,000, after which you get the vines free from someone who has been planting before, unlike yams that you will need to buy the ones to plant.
One rubber-paint full of the vines would be enough to plant the small portion of land, as the leaves can also be planted and it will do well. Now, if you have at least between N15,000 to N20,000 as minimum startup capital, you are good to go. But if you can take up some aspects of preparation yourself to cut cost, you can start with N5,000. In another vein, if you plan to do it on a commercial level, supplying large number of people, you will need like N100,000 as a large producer of potato.
Where Is The Market And How Is It Like?
As a potato producer, it is better for you to look for prospective buyers before you start harvesting. That is how I have been doing – telling buyers before hand and it has been yielding positive results as I have been enjoying referral opportunity. The woman I sell to has linked me up with other buyers who converge at her selling point.
Again, now that we have the processing aspect booming, it is believed that the market will be much bigger. The farmer only needs to do some leg work to inform potential buyers of availability to potatoes. Buyers can come to your farm to buy, but it is preferable that you take it to them because of the price – once they get to the farm they will want to buy at a reduced price, owing to the distance they have traveled to your farm and the stress. But when you take it to them, you will begin to talk about the transportation and others thing to be able to sell at a good price. You may also arrange a meeting place or selling point, not the farm between you and the customer.
As another business opportunity, you can set up a meeting place or selling point that buyers and sellers of potatoes meet to transact their businesses. Even your spouse can take up this aspect of taking the potatoes to the selling point, while you face your business on the farm.
What Are The Problems Confronting Potato Farming?
Major production constraints facing potato farmers are: land fragmentation, lack of improved practices, poor storability, insufficient credit facilities, poor extension services, poor road transportation and high cost of productivity increasing inputs. In addition, the marketing of the crop is dominated by middlemen and all the stakeholders are currently facing diverse challenges.
Most of the farmers are smallholders with low levels of education and poor productivity. Most of them plant potatoes as secondary or minor crop in a mixed cropping system. Another major concern of the producers is poor access to sufficient credit to buy productivity increasing inputs such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizer, improved seeds, among others. Hence, incidence of pests and diseases is a serious factor limiting potatoes production in Nigeria. Obviously, the problems always cause volatility in the retail prices of potatoes from one season to another.
Advice To Beginners
It is true that some people, even those who do not have something doing at hand may still be looking at potato farming like a child’s play; they should find access to farming potato and I bet it that their financial lives won’t be the same again. I should also say that it is not compulsory for everybody to go into farming potato; it is possible for some people to be distributors just as explained earlier and easily make money. That is to say, you can make money even more than the farmers.
Moreso, after knowing the business, you can go to the Agricultural Credit Facility Agent under State Government, like FADAMA to apply for financial support, which is available for farmers. You can join them as a member with a view to benefitting from the available financial opportunity.
You can also become a distributor and begin to link yourself to farmers – that when people need potatoes they will call you as a right middle man and you get your returns at the end of the day. You can also arrange to collect commissions from farmers for bringing them buyers.
Again, there are opportunities for potato processors to key into, as potato chips, potato flour, and also canned potato that I earlier mentioned are great business opportunities any one can tap into.
Planting/Sowing Time In Potato Farming
To secure high yields, it is essential to plant the potatoes at optimum time. The best time of planting is when the maximum and minimum temperatures are from 30°C to 32°C and 18°C to 20°C, respectively; The planting period for different potato growing regions is given.
- Plant seed potatoes (pieces of whole potato or a small whole potato, with at least 2 eyes per piece) 0-2 weeks after last spring frost.
- If you are cutting up potato pieces for planting, do so a 1-2 days ahead of time. This will give them the chance to form a protective layer, both for moisture retention and rot resistance.
- You may start planting earlier, as soon as soil can be worked, but be aware that some crops will be ruined by a frost.
- Spread and mix in rotted manure or organic compost in the bottom of the trench before planting.
- Plant seed potatoes one foot apart in a 4-inch deep trench, eye side up.
- Potatoes are best grown in rows. To begin with, dig a trench that is 6-8 inches deep. Plant each piece of potato (cut side down, with the eyes pointing up) every 12-15 inches, with the rows spaced 3 feet apart. If your space is limited or if you would like to grow only baby potatoes, you can decrease the spacing between plants.
To begin with only fill the trench in with 4 inches of soil. Let the plants start to grow and then continue to fill in the trench and even mound the soil around the plants as they continue to grow. Prior to planting, always make sure to cultivate the soil one last time. This will remove any weeds and will loosen the soil and allow the plants to become established more quickly.
Irrigation/Water Supply In Potato Farming
Keep your potato vines well watered throughout the summer, especially during the period when the plants are flowering and immediately following the flowering stage. During this flowering period the plants are creating their tubers and a steady water supply is crucial to good crop outcome. Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regularly when tubers start to form Potatoes do well with 1-2 inches of water or rain per week. When the foliage turns yellow and begins to die back, discontinue watering. This will help start curing the potatoes for harvest time. Drip irrigation helps Indian farmers increase potato yield.
Crop Rotation In Potato Farming
Crop Rotation is very important in potato farming, so practice yearly crop rotation. Common Pests and care in Potato farming:
2) Flea Beetles
3) Leaf Hoppers
4) Early/Late Blight
5)Potato Scab: Most likely cause by soil with high PH. Remember: Potatoes like acidic soil (do not plant in soil with a pH higher than 5.2). Dust seed potatoes with sulfur before planting.
Manure Application In Potato Farming
Potatoes like a slightly acid soil, pH of around 5.0 but will grow in a range from 5.0 to 6.5. Common potato scab (brown corky tissue on surface of tubers) can be a problem if the soil pH levels are on the alkaline or “sweet” side. If you have access to animal manures, aged or composted manures are the best.
Nutrient quality and quantities can vary a lot, with the age and storage method being two of the most important. No matter what the quality of the manure, there is still enormous value as far as providing the soil microbes with material they need to build fertility. Manures are best added to the soil in the fall before planting to allow the soil microbes time to do their magic, breaking it down into usable nutrients. Spread the manure over the garden before folding it into the top 6-8 inches (15-20 cm ) of soil with plough, rotary tiller-hoe or shovel.
- Baby potatoes typically can be harvested 2-3 weeks after the plants have finished flowering. Gently dig around the plants to remove potatoes for fresh eating, being careful not to be too intrusive. Try to remove the biggest new potatoes and leave the smaller ones in place so they can continue to grow.
- The potato must be harvested at right stage of maturity when leaves turn yellow and dry.
- If there is a demand in market slightly early harvesting may be done.
- Irrigation is with held before harvesting and harvesting is done when soil becomes dry.
- Cut the plants at ground level eight days prior to date of harvesting.
- It is done with the help of potato digger or by ploughing.
- Care should be taken to dug out the tubers without injury.
- Collect the exposed tubers and cleaned off by removing soil, roots, stolons etc.
- The damaged and diseased potatoes are sorted out and discarded.
- Remaining potatoes graded according to size and stored in shade to avoid sun injury.
- The diseases free, medium to big size potatoes are selected and stored separately for seed purpose. Yielding: The yield of potato varies from variety from variety season of planting and care taken during cultivation.
Potato farming is profitable with abundant water supply and sunshine along with care.
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