Grape farming can be done anyway in the world but grows best in hot climatic conditions. 11 years of research and experiment has brought about the growing of grapes in Nigeria which is a tropical region. Grape trees are beautiful ornamental plant which produces sweet and versatile fruits.
Apple farming like grape was difficult to grow in Nigeria. But today I make bold to write; you can plant them any way in the country by the use of hybrid seedlings. The new technique in grape cultivation has made it a huge success. Read this post to the end to see how it works.
Most of the grapes we consume in Nigeria are imported majorly from South Africa. By the time the grapes come into the country, the fruit would have lost its original taste. This is why we are calling on entrepreneurs to invest in grape farming.
How will you feel having this important fruit at your backyard and in your garden. You will harvest the fruits fresh and the taste will be awesomely great. Grapes also known botanically as berry is a decidious wooden vines of flowering plant.
Grapes are used in making jams, jjelly, juice, grape seed extract, grape seed oil and raisins vinegar. Berry can be found in big stores, malls, super markets and they are weighed in kilograms.
It is only very recently that roadside hawkers, hawk the fruits on traffics. Grapes contain minerals, vitamins and important substances needed by the body. A mature tree produces 25kg of fruits when scientifically cultivated and they grow in clusters of 15-300.
Grape farming is native to Western Asia and European countries, the major grape producing countries are; China, France, America, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, South Africa etc.. There are two types available in the market; grapes without seed and grapes with seed.
Grapevines are cash crops that lives for many years, because of this it is advisable for you to get a personal land were you won’t be disturbed. Go for hybrid seedlings which can mature within a year.
IN THIS POST YOU WILL LEARN
- How to prepare land
- Pests/disease control
- Profits in grapes farming
- Health benefits of grapes
WHY YOU SHOULD START GRAPE FARMING
- Grape farming is not labour intensive as such can be managed.
- It requires less water and manure to do well
- Grape farming is yet to be fully harnessed in Nigeria. Berry is highly loved by many people who will buy it no matter the cost. It is mostly consumed by the elites who will purchase it no matter the amount.
- Berry plant are vigorous growers with proper planting they will produce fruits without stress.
- It is very lucrative, you will keep reaping the dividends for a long time.
- A little space like a plot or acre is enough to make you rich in grape farming business.
- Grape is very easy to cultivate.
There are many different varieties which are grouped into 2. With each having its own characteristics.
- Table grapes: they are used for meals preparation example is sweeteners used in cake making.
- Wine grapes are used in the production of wine.
Here are the list for some of the varieties:
- Vitis viniferia (European or French grape) is the most widely cultivated variety.
- Europeans grapes do well in warm dry weather. American grapes are for cold environments
- Vitis rotundifolia (North American Native Muscadine),
- V. Labrusca (American grape)
Berry has different flavour, texture, size, colours such as; black, yellow, green, pink, crimson, dark blue and orange. purple grape was cultivated by Egyptians and North Africa.
We have more than 1000 cultivars for grape farming all over the world but the most commonest ones are:
- Sweet jubilee
- Crimson seedless
- Moon balls
- Cotton candy etc.
You have to find out which variety is best suited for your region. There are few Nursery Companies in Nigeria that sells hybrid grape seedlings example is Seedworld Integrated.
Clear the land and loosen the soil in preparation for grapes cultivation in Nigeria. The ground should be levelled in other to attain uniformity. Although grapes can be grown in any soil type whether sandy, loamy, clay or a combination of any. The best soil to attain optimum growth of berry is well drained sandy loan soil rich in organic matter. Grape farming soil should be deep and loosen.
The simplest way to propagate grape is from wood cuttings, other ways are; budding, bud layering, seeds and grafting. Grapes seed propagation will take 3-4 years to fruit. In grape farming the planting season is September to October for the rooted cuttings while February to March is best for root stock. Before you start grapes farming make provision for stakes that grapes vines can be trellis upon, it will reduce the risk of disease attack. Soak the young grapes roots in water for 2-3 hours before cultivating.
Spacing varies depending on the type of soil used and the variety. Muscadine requires much spacing use 2m to 3m for vines and 1.0m-1.5m between rows. For others use 2.0m-1,5m, 3.m-1.5m and 2.75-1.5m so you can plant more, like 5,000 seedlings a hectare.
Dig a hole of 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide trim any broken roots, set the vine into the hole and fill it up with the top soil. Use rectangular system of planting for commercial grape farming.
There is absolutely no need to irrigate berry plant during rainfall. They can withstand harsh conditions, however if the amount of rainfall drops below 500mm for a year you have to irrigate the plants. Grapes need about 900mm of rainfall to grow well.
The pests and diseases that threatens grape farming are; beetle powdery, mildew, black rot, red spider mite, thrips, flea beetles, leaf hoppers and mealy bug. Use Bordeaux mixture with cow dung and neem oil, water etc. Use mesh net to keep birds away from budding fruits because the like feeding on them.
Grape growing can be done completely with organic manure. Don’t fertilize in the first year, slightly fertilize in the second year. And in the third year use between 50-60 kg manure per hectare. Potassium should be highest followed by Nitrogen and then Phosphorus.
During fruit ripening the weather must be sunny and a dry warm temperature (environment). This is vital for increasing its sugar content while also reducing its acidity. One of the reasons grape cultivated under irrigation in hot deserts are sweeter than those from cold humid environment.
Do not allow fruits in the grapevine during the first year. Because it can damage the young vines with their weight. Cut back all the fruits and all the vines, leave the strongest branching of the cane. Prune about 90% of the new growth on the older vines the following year. Make sure you maintain the pruning of your grapevine every year if not they will bleed their sap and lose vigour. Another time to prune vine is when they are dormant.
Grape doesn’t have specific time for harvest, it can be harvested anytime of the year. Depending on when you planted it. Point to note; grapes will not continue to ripe after being picked from the vines like other fruits example banana.
Colour and size are not a yardstick for grape ripeness. Touch to see if you like it before harvesting. But they should be ready for harvest when they are rich in colour, juicy full flavour and easy to crush.
Eat some of the fruits to know if they are okay for harvest. The taste should be between sweet and tart. And they fruits should be tightly attached to the stem. If grapes are not ripening pinch back some of the foliage to let in more sunlight. Harvest is done by repeated pickings, it can be done twice a year.
YIELD IN GRAPE FARMING
The yield depends on the variety and agronomy practice, it could be 30 tonnes or 50 tonnes per hectare. Berry fruits can easily absorb odours from other fruits or vegetables.
Make sure you always keep them separate. Use cartons, cardboard boxes, to package the grapes separate each bunch with saw duct. Pack the grapes 4 kg per box. And consistently check for spoilage. Grape trees can last longer than 50 years.
Grapes have ready markets, the number of people that eat the fruits raw is high. Sell to wine industries that are increasing in number all over the world. Supply to supermarkets, big shops, super stores and roadside food vendors. Berry is an exportable fruit, you can start from neighbouring countries.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRAPE
- Grapes prevents series of heart diseases
- Berry aids healthy vision and also prevent Anaemia.
- The dietary fibre possessed by green grapes helps in lowering cholesterol and may possibly get rid of it.
- Berry fruits can stop atherosclerosis and certain cancer.
- Grapes prevent cold while strengthening the immune system.
- The fruit helps in reducing the risk of diabetes and in weight loss.
- It keeps nerve healthy and improves brain functioning. It also helps skin health and hair improvement.
- Grapes are good in stopping Alzheimer, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
- Relieves the body from inflammation and overstress.
PROFITABILITY IN GRAPE FARMING
A kg of berry is #700 and a tree can produce 25kg. 700×25=#17,500
Imagine having an acre of grapevines of 400 stands. Multiply #17,500×400=#7,000,000. Even if it is a plot of 66 stands you will have #1,155,000. This is what you will be getting year in year out for over a long period of years in grape farming.
Grape farming is one of the quuckest cash crop money making. It looks so aestestic when planted in rows. Grow it today for a lifetime finacial coverage.
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