The knowledge of agricultural practices is widening by the day before now who would have thought that cucumber, watermelon and carrot farming could be possible in any other part of the country other than the north and give a good yield successfully. Carrot is a kind of fruit that is eaten in Nigeria and all over the world at large.
It is the darling fruit of many people, l like eating it often especially when it is succulent and juicy. The crunchy nature of the carrot makes more people to be hungry for it. Plateau state is the main producers of carrot in Nigeria because their weather and land seems to be favourable for farming carrots. As it stands today, carrot can be grown anywhere in Nigeria under optimum best practices and management.
In case you are wondering how lucrative is carrot farming? I must tell you any agricultural crop or farming is profitable but to make the best out of it will depend on you. Compare to other fruits if I may ask what is the consumption rate? Your guess is as good as mine. Carrot is used for so many things which are; for raw consumption just like any other fruit, for decorating food such as fried rice, and in the preparation of the salad.
Clear the land from every stump and debris, make sure the soil is well loosened. I know some states in the South, have soft land, example; Akwa Ibom State but in regards to carrot farming my land is already soft should not be mentioned because you are dealing with root so the same way you loosen cassava soil to grow large roots that is the same way carrot soil should be loosened for larger fruits.
If you are ploughing and the first work is not satisfying you can plough again to get a well prepare land but the ploughing should be on the surface. Raise beds for it in other to control the amount of water entering the crops and for erosion control.
Mix the soil with compost manure for optimum yield. Do not use fresh dung so as not to burn off the crop. The soil should be sandy-loam; it is very good in growing carrot. Avoid clayey, rocky and waterlogged soils.
Growing carrot from seed is easy but has challenges which are; the seeds are very tiny as such takes a longer time to germinate 12-14days.
Well waiting for it to germinate you have to keep the soil moist; this is to say constant irrigation should be carried out. The seeds should be planted in rows, since carrots seeds are very tiny it becomes difficult to get a uniform planting.
Plant 2 seeds in a hole of 4cm-5cm depth into the soil; it should not be planted on the surface to avoid damage. When the seedlings become 2cm in size you thin them in other to give space for them to expand in the soil.
Thinning should be carried out 2-4weeks. The thinning which should be done in such a way that the crop becomes 4cm-10cm apart in the row. Use knife to prone because if you use hand by pulling the seedlings you can inadvertently damage the roots. Some of which could have tangled this can affect their growth.
FACTORS THAT AFFECTS THE GROWTH OF CARROT
The number one factor is the verity (specie), that is why it is advisable to plant carrot seeds that can produce large fruits example is the Nantes verity, Carrot seeds from technism etc. Although some people believe that the smaller ones have good flavour than the others. This is not altogether true as hybrid seeds are now available which produces large fruits and well-flavoured. Another factor that affects carrot yield is the planting space, when closely spaced they are bound to grow small. Also when the soil is not well loosed plus lack of enough water during rooting stage, carrot won’t grow large.
After the first application of manure one month before planting apply again. And after thinning of carrot seedlings apply urea, apply another one 15 days after. Apply potassium and phosphorus after thinning; they are sure nutrients to use foe vegetative crops.
Use 50 kg of urea in a hectare and 75 kg of potassium and phosphorus in a hectare as well. Combination of carrot formula kelp meal is a mixture of phosphate and greensand which produces NPK of 1-9-3. This will make the fruit to be strong and big.
Read Also: How to start groundnut farming in Nigeria
Carrot plant should be watered regularly to ensure the soil is kept moist, especially during the time of their root enlargement and seed germination. They are very quick to react to dryness, when you water after a long time of dryness, it will make the root to split.
It is advisable to plant carrot during raining (April down) season but when draught sets in watering of the crop should be done regularly but care must be taken not to over water it to cause logging.
If you can use greenhouse to establish for carrot farming it will be a welcome development because you will be able to control the amount of water that goes into the soil. Weeding is done 2 weeks after planting, while the second weeding if necessary should be done in about 4-5 weeks.
PEST AND DISEASES IN CARROT FARMING
Like any other plants, carrots are susceptible to diseases and pest. Some of the likely diseases are powdery mildew the leaves become spotted with white pellicle and later dry off. Another one is the yellowing of the leaves and the presence of brown galls. In some you will see brown cycle spots or lesions, nematodes affect the roots. The control measure is to apply fungicides, plant resistant varieties, avoid overcrowding of the seeds and observe good agronomy management.
USES OF CARROT
It contains vitamin A, which is good in flushing out toxins from the body thereby helping the liver. The mineral content of carrot prevents tooth damage. Carrots prevent infection that is why cosmetologist extract it for the production of cream. It can help in the prevention of strokes when eaten often. The contain carotene (alpha, beta and lutein) which helps in preventing heart disease. When carrot is eaten it cleanses the mouth and act as floss to the teeth. Carrots are extracted and the juice is taken for the nourishment of the body.
Carrot takes about 4 months to mature. Harvesting is carried out when the roots are soft and juicy. Carrot is pulled out from the soil with the use of hand since the ground is soft already. You can also use spade to bring it out from the soil. When you delay harvest that is late harvesting will result in cracking. After harvesting the carrot cut off the top for proper storage this will help the fruit to stay for a while before consumption. This is because by removing the top it will prevent rot of the fruit.
VARIETIES OF CARROT
Thumberline: it grows to about 2 inches, very small in size just as the name implies. Mini carrot varieties are best grown in containers. Red-cored chantenay: they are short or stout red-orange coloured carrot, grows to about 6 inches (15-18 cm). Imperatoe carrot variety, they are long with tampered fruit. Nantes varieties are the easiest carrot for home gardeners and commercial carrot farmers to grow. They are large, sweet and very crispy, will not twist or fork-like others.
Locate market women/men and sell to them. Supply to supermarkets, shopping malls such as Shoprite, hotels, restaurants fruits and salad stores. Once you register your presence as someone who is into carrot farming, buyers will be coming to you on their own to buy from you. There is high demand of carrot so there won’t be any reason why your products will be wasted. In short, the rate of consumption far outweighs the supply. Advertise your market in online stores or groups such as small-scale farmers and get good patronage.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO CARROT FARMING
It is very profitable; a hectare of carrot farm will produce about 10-15 tonnes. If you deduct your expenses you are most likely to make more than 50% of your investment. Since carrot farming does not take more than 4 months you can lease a land for use. Carrots are resilient crops as such it is very easy to farm. People are not many that are into carrot farming because they are yet to know the opportunity that abounds in it.
There is room for expansion while taking advantage of the number of persons trading it. They are highly demanded, especially during the festive period.
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