Avocado farming in Nigeria is yet to have a boost as many people are still planting pear on subsistence basis. And most of the production is done in the rural areas before it will get to the city centre many of the pears would have spoilt. Few people are now cultivating them as cash crop in large-scale commercial purpose. It has market value both in the International and local markets.
Europe are the highest importers of avocado, it might soon Asian countries will follow. Since 2012 till now exportation of avocado has increased yet we don’t have enough to export. Most of the avocado produced in Nigeria is consumed locally. Our economy will fare better when attention is drawn to this crop by Government and private bodies. That is why we are encouraging investors to look into this money-making venture.
The botanical name is Persia Americana, it is also called butter fruit because of its creamy nature. Avocado fruit is actually a natural butter. That is why it is used for salads and sandwiches. Paste it round your bread and enjoy the very essence of butter bread. Avocado pear, originates from Mexico and is grown in; Peru, Kenya, India, New Zealand, Brazil etc. Mexico are the highest producers of avocado in the world while Kenya is the sixth but first in Africa. It is a tropical fruit plant and its like the pear fruit in terms of shape and creamy nature.
They grow up to 60ft and above, the fruits have different shape ranging from oval, spherical, egg shape and pear shape. Avocado is consumed mostly for medicinal values., it is rich in fatty acids but low in cholesterol. An ever green tree that is not capital-intensive but produces good yield, it requires low care and management. Temperature is between 17°C-27°C and annual rainfall of 1000-1500 for good yield.
Clear the land of grasses and trees, loosen the soil for aeration and water penetration. Apply manure during second ploughing to improve the soil fertility. Avocado grows in a wide variety of soil, however, a well-drained sandy loam soil rich in organic matter is ideal for optimum growth. The PH should be neutral 5.5-7.0 alkaline condition.
AVOCADO CULTIVATION TECHNIQUE
Avocado can be propagated through seed planting in the nursery and grafting. Matured seed from the fruit are used for direct sowing in nursery beds or in polyethylene bags. The seedlings should be transplanted to the main field after 6 months of planting in the nursery. Dig pit 90cm by 90cm and fill it with a mixture of top soil and manure in the ratio of 1:1. Start planting early February to April when the rains are just starting. The spacing can be 8m×8m, 10m×10m, 12m×12m. This will give you about 100 stands in a hectare but if you want to have up to 300 stands you can use 8m×4m, 10m×5m, 12×6m. But the chose of spacing depends on the variety. It can be grown in pots and containers.
IRRIGATION IN AVOCADO FARMING
It requires humid condition during important stages such as flowering and fruiting stages. Make sure you water them immediately after transplanting for quick establishment. Avocado pear seriously needs water to grow otherwise they die off. Irrigate them during dry season or when rain is in shortage. For commercial avocado farming use drip irrigation. Intense heat and dryness can lead to falling of leaves, flowers, fruit and branches.
Apply urea after every 3-4 months about 15-20 tonnes for a hectare. They are heavy feeders, avocado plants need Nitrogen in good amount to grow robustly. The plant can grow with organic matter only. But you can apply both organic and organic in avocado plantation.
Weeding should be done early either mechanically or manually. At the early stage you can carefully apply herbicides or pay labourers to clear the weeds for you.
INTER CROPPING IN PEAR FARMING
Nitrogen is very important to avocado trees so inter crop them with legumes such as beans, soya beans, groundnut etc. They will fix the soil and also add nutrient to the soil. Money realised from the proceeds of the crop will become additional income.
Avocado trees have straight and well-arranged branches and may not need Pruning but in case there is any tree with clustered branches, the tree should be lightly pruned.
Common pests are mealy bug, mites, scales etc. While common diseases are fruit spot,; root rot, leaf rot etc. Use insecticides and pesticides to attack them. Cultivate resistant variety.
Harvest starts between 5-6 years depending on the variety and method of propagation. If you use grafted method you can start harvesting in 3 years time the same with using hybrid variety. When matured the green changes to yellow while purple changes to brown. You have to keep them for about 5-10 days to soften. Use sharp objects to cut the fruit or you use your hand to pluck them. If you allow them to fall on their own they will get damaged (break).
The yield depends on variety, management practices and the age of the tree. 200-500 fruits can be gotten from one tree but yield decreases after 10-12 years.
People that are into avocado farming always sale. Sell to market traders, fruit sellers or export them abroad. Avocado pear is hardly ever enough for the growing population before you can blink your eyes there are already out of stock.
PROFITABILITY IN AVOCADO FARMING
Assuming you harvested 200 avocado fruits and you sell one 50. This will be 200×50=10,000. One tree will produce #10,000 multiply by 100 for a hectare you will have #1,000,000. Harvest can be thrice a year. This is how profitable avocado farming business is. And of course the profit is more than this because the price is according to size and the least is #50. Also the yield will be more than 200 fruits.
WHY YOU SHOULD START AVOCADO FARMING
- It requires low care/management
- The start-up cost is less than other cash crop farming.
- You can generate huge income from avocado farming
- It can be grown in pots and containers at your backyard or indoors.
Health Benefits Of Avocado(Pear)
1. It Reduces Cholesterol
Avocado is high in fats very good for the body; one cup of sliced avocado can provide 32% of daily fat recommendation. it is a monounsaturated fat, and helps in such conditions as lowering risks of stroke and heart disease.
2. It Helps To Absorb Other Nutrients
Many important vitamins are fat soluble, and require fat to be absorbed into the body. These vitamins include vitamin A, K, D and E – adding avocado to heavy meals such as bread will be of great advantage to the body.
3. It Can Relieve Arthritis symptoms
Avocados contain Polyhydroxylated Fatty Alcohols (PFAs), which is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps the body to reduce inflammation. It also contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E that helps in fighting inflammation, which may help to relive the symptoms of Arthritis.
4. It Helps Look After The Eyes
Avocado contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that are essential to eyes health, they help to protect the eyes from harmful light waves while decreasing the risk of eye disease.
5. It Contains More Potassium Than A Banana
You can find 14% of the recommended daily amount of potassium in an avocado fruit– more than the 10% found in banana.
6. It Helps Keep Us Smart
Avocados are filled with omega-3 fatty acids and natural vitamin E, which are both great for the brain. For example, they improve the blood supplied to the pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for planning, decision-making and critical thinking.
High potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, lowering the risk of strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure.
7. It Is Beneficial During Pregnancy
One cup of avocado contains nearly 25% of the recommended dose of folate for pregnant women, which is essential for both mother and baby.
8. It Is Filled With Nutrients
Avocado contains 20 vitamins and minerals – including a quarter of daily required vitamin C, which plays an important role in growth and repair of body tissues. Also, it is filled with B-6, which helps the body attack infection.
Before you start avocado farming first all find out the type of apple that is loved in your location. In Nigeria, the Hass variety is commercially grown.
Hass: it is high in fat, flesh with almond butter texture and a tough skin. It produces all year round.
Hall: it has a thicker and drier flesh with juicy fruits. It fruits from October to November
Other species are:
Daily 11, MacArthur, coquette, Vonage, Shepherd.
Avocado farming is the next thing that can happen in the world of Agriculture so start yours today. Grafted seedlings ensues uniform growth and early fruiting. Which is economically ideal because you will not have to wait for many years before harvest.
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