I am yet to see someone who is mainly into bamboo farming as a business in my locality,. All I can see are bamboos that were allowed to grow after using them for staking or for boundary demarcation. Bamboo is commercially cultivated in India and are the second largest producers in the globe after China.
Asian countries incorporate it as a part of their culture substituting it for wood for construction. We have few Nigerians who are into this farming business taking advantage of the opportunity it provides.
Agriculture requires; smartness, diversification and calculations. It is not for people who says anything goes. You should be able to see what others are not seeing and take advantage of it. Very soon wood will give way to bamboo especially in construction Industries. Population increase, human activities and rural developments is seriously altering our ecosystem, such as; the cutting down of trees that are never replaced.
Do you know that with only an acre of land you are on your way to becoming a millionaire through bamboo farming. There is nothing that doesn’t have market value these days. Whatever you produce will surely sale.
There is nothing that doesn’t have market value any more all thanks to Innovations and Technology . We need to take bamboo business to another level. The step by step guide in this post will make you succeed in bamboo farming.
Before you start, find out which bamboo moves market the most and. plant such. There are more than 100 varieties of bamboo and only few are commercially viable.
Examples are; Babboosa bambos, Bambusa tulda, Bambusa nutans, Bambusa vulgaris, Bambusa polymorpha, Dendro calamus brandisii, Dendro calamus hamiltonii, Dendro calamus strictus
WHY YOU SHOULD START BAMBOO FARMING
So many companies are coming up in Nigeria such as toothpick. We already have about three toothpick companies each in Ogun, Akwa Ibom and Edo States. Federal Government did say there were going to establish one this year. Very soon bamboo farming will become hot cake.
- It has varied uses and high demand
- Just a handful of people are in the business of bamboo farming
- It is highly profitable
USES OF BAMBOO TREES
- for construction such as flooring, bridge building, scaffolding, roofing, furniture etc.
- paper making
- musical instruments such as flute, drums etc.
- for producing beer example Bamboo beer in Kenya
- used as a source of food. The young shoots are a source of food and nutrition in India.
- for treating certain ailments.
- feeding of livestock
- as ornamental trees for aesthetics
Acquiring a land is the first and most important thing to do. Purchase a land in a place that is far from home or settlement. This is because it will not be ideal for you to establish such a farm were development can easily caught with it then the next Government or elders will tell you to remove the trees or give up the place for something else.
The second thing is that bamboo trees attracts snakes a lot; the plantation may pose a treat to the people living around there.
Clear the land and allow some trees that can provide protection to the bamboo trees from strong wind to stand. Cold wind is a problem to bamboo leaves, they kill their tips.
Bamboo can be grown in a wide range of soil except rocky soils. But for optimum growth a well-drained sandy-loam to clayey-loam should be used in an acidic PH of 4.5-6.0 just like in rubber farming.
They grow well in a tropical/warm temperate regions. Bamboo has shallow root and luxuriant growth, up to 30cm in height.
Bamboo is propagated through seed cultivation but the seeds are very difficult to come by because flowering takes so many years if at all. It can also be propagated through culms and rhizomes just like tiger nuts. The most common way of propagating bamboo is by cutting the culms and replanting them in the field (vegetative propagation)..
The seedlings can be grown in a nursery bed and then in a poly pot to grow for a year before transferring into the main field. For rhizome cultivation; dig out the culm with the roots; 1m height and plant them. This should take place during raining season. Avoid water log areas.
Generally bamboo should be planted during raining season this will give it time to establish before dry season sets in. Dig a hole 60cmx60cm and plant them at a distance of 5mx4m spacing. An acre will accommodate about 200 seedlings of bamboo.
INTER CROPPING IN BAMBOO FARMING
Planting cover crops will go a long way to reduce weeds and maintain soil moisture while at the same time bringing additional income. Part of the income can be used in managing the plantation.
Cultivate crops that can be harvested in a short time or within a year for the first three years. Example of such crop includes ginger, turmeric, potatoes, vegetables and any crop that accepts shade for other years continuous cropping.
Bamboo tree appears not to be bothered by any deficiencies due to their resilient nature but for commercial purpose you have to apply fertilizer. It will help them grow well, yield high and produce best quality. Like most economic trees, bamboo plants are heavy feeders therefore fertilizer should be applied to the farm from time to time.
The best way is to spread the application all through the year.instead of once or twice a year because the rhizomes are always growing except during extreme cold.
Apply fertilizer after every harvest, nitrogen and potassium are best suited for bamboo growth. Compost manure, green manure and animal dung can be added to the soil. If the acidity is too high you can apply 300kg of lime to an acre farm.
Already established bamboo will still grow even when water is less. The most important time to water the seedlings is in the nursery. Also when they are transplanted to the main field before mulching. Transplanted seedlings should be mulch in other to retain the soil moisture, control erosion and weed.
However irrigation can also be done when there is shortages of rain or drought. In this case drip irrigation is preferable. Too much watering will result in the leaf tips turning brownish.
Manual weeding should be adopted through the use of hoe. It can be done twice to thrice a year or when necessary. Herbicides can be applied however care must be taken so as not to damage the inter cropped plants.
The common pests are leaf biting and sucking insects. While the most commonest disease is Fusarium moniliforne others are; culms blight, intermedium etc. Use natural repeller or killer.
Bamboo starts maturity from 5 years upward. Depending on the variety but you may decide to harvest them from 6 years if commercial. Cut the mature bamboo from the down side; close to the root and allow culms of 1-2 years to continue growing.
The yield of bamboo depends on the variety and the agronomical conditions used. It may yield between 9-10 tonnes for a culm weighing 10kg during the first harvest, the yield will keep increasing until it stabilizes at 15 tonnes from 9 years.
PROFITS IN BAMBOO FARMING
A young tree can produce 3-4 shoots within 2 months. during next season the mother plant and the young shoots would have brought 3-4 shoots each. In about 4 years the plant would have produced 80 canes.
80 canes multiply by 200 for an acre is 16000. Assuming a cane goes for #100 each that means 100×16000 which is equal to 1,600,000 in 4-5 years time. And will keep repeating in the next season.
Of course the price of bamboo increases by age. The ones for staking can be harvested in 3 -4 years but that of pole and bridge construction have to be left for about 6 years.
You can raise a bamboo nursery and sell the seedlings to prospective farmers.
Before your bamboo matures look out for companies you can supply to so you don’t tie your money down. You can advertise it on social media for interested persons to contact you.
But you can place a market value on it by making artistic materials for sale to institutions etc. Chairs, poles, toothpick, charcoal supply for export, matches etc.
Bamboo farming is not the only way of making money, you might be interested in knowing how you can make money from Akwa Ibom Toothpick.
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