Groundnut also called peanut is a legume crop which is grown mainly for their edible seeds. It is a proteinous crop that is very healthy for consumption and has several health benefits for both adults and especially children. The high rate of its consumption these days is an opportunity for proactive and smart agropreneurs and investors to take advantage and embrace groundnut farming.
If you are to plot a graph of the highest nuts consumed in Nigeria and the world over you would find out that groundnut tops the chart. I like fresh boiled groundnut so much and it seems to be in season.
It is a rainforest and savannah crop and Nigeria is one of the major producers of groundnut in West Africa other countries are; Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Mali etc. Groundnut can be grown twice a year during the early rains (March-April), late planting (August-September). The seeds can be used for feeding livestock (groundnut cake), vegetable oil (the best so far), for preparing soup, eaten raw as snack.
In this post, I will be stating the techniques to use for a successful groundnut farming business in Nigeria. This will be in the area of soil preparation, planting, weed control, diseases and pest control, harvesting, marketing etc.
Clear the land of grasses, remove stumps and debris, plough the ground before planting. Treat the land with insecticides to kill pest that may attack the seeds before and after germination. Dress the soil with manure preferable animal dung or compost. A ph of 5.0-7.0 is ideal for groundnut cultivation. It should be a sandy-loam soil, rich in organic matter. Groundnut can be planted on a plain ground, on ridges or beds.
In groundnut farming you can use shell or un-shelled nuts to plant, some people are of the opinion that the un-shelled nut is proper for use because it will be difficult for pests to destroy them easily but you nothing to fear if you have already treated your soil.
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Just in case you didn’t do that and you want to plant with the un-shelled ones, then you will have to soak them in cold water 18-24 hours and drain or dry them for 3-4 hours before planting so as to prepare them against pest and diseases attack.
Or you treat the seeds with fungicides such as fernasan D before planting The temperature should be between 18-32`C for high performance. Groundnut should be planted 3cm-5cm deep into the soil, 2 or 3 seeds per hole. The larger the size the deeper the hole should be. Give Im by Im for the erect ones and 25cm-1m for the spreading type.
WEED CONTROL IN GROUNDNUT FARMING
Early weeding is encouraged because groundnut can compete seriously with weeds. First weeding can be carried out after 1 month. Subsequent ones can be done by using discretion but you have to weed times before harvest.
Groundnut plant does not really bother so much about fertilizers because it fixes nitrogen which they use. But it would be wise to apply manure at every point of their development such as flowering and seed formation for a bumper harvest. If you are using inorganic manure apply the ones rich in Phosphorus. pentoxide can be applied during flowering.
READ ALSO: How To Start Beans Farming In Nigeria
The most needed nutrient is Boron, calcium is required during pudding, shortage of it will result in empty pods.
PEST/DISEASE CONTROL IN GROUNDNUT FARMING
White grubs: they eat roots and damage pods. They feed on roots thereby making groundnut plant to stunt or die. Others are termites, millipedes, aphids, groundnut hoppers, thrips, moth, beetles, leaf miners etc.
Groundnut farming is very interesting when you can handle pest and diseases.
Groundnut farming requires adequate amount of water. Spread throughout the whole of its growing season 4-5 months although they are drought tolerant. Irrigate the crops well, especially during flowering to avoid stress which can bring about reduce production and seed quality.
USES OF GROUNDNUT
- They are processed to groundnut oil for edible vegetable oil
- It is baked into groundnut cake (GNC) and used as livestock feeds.
- Groundnut is consumed directly either fresh, roasted or boiled.
- For peanut burger
- Red valence
- Texas peanut
- Homa bay
Groundnut matures within 4-5 months depending on the variety. Harvest can be done manually by the use of hand if the farm is small. Pull the plant if the ground is soft or use hoe to lift them out then use your hand to pluck the nuts out from their parent plant. But care must be taken in other not to damage the seeds with the hoe.
For a large farm up to a hectare use machine such as tractor-mounted groundnut shakers.
Shelling should be done by the use of hand, damaged or dirty nuts should be thrown away. Nuts that are to be used in the next planting season should not be shelled.
The yield varies according to; variety, environmental factors and husbandry. It can yield 6-10 tonnes per hectare. Dry the groundnut with their shell after harvest to a 6-10% moisture content.
When groundnut are not well dried, it would result in mould formation which can attract fungi. Thereby making the harvested crop non-consumable. Fumigate them and store in bags or silos etc. You can sell them outright to oil mill industries or marketers.
If the groundnuts were planted in March/April then harvest will be early August but if planted in August/ September harvest will be in November.
Groundnut can be inter crop with other crops such as maize. The crop to be used should be in the same hole with the nut. But it should be crops that are erected in nature. A space of 100cm by 100cm should be used when intercropping. Regular spacing reduces competition amongst crops and also allow maximum circulation of carbohydrate.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO GROUNDNUT FARMING
- It is very easy to carry out with little or no experience you can start and succeed on your own.
- It is easy to manage because they are crops that are not too demanding
- Groundnut farming is very profitable since fertilizer application may not be necessary, it has the capacity to fix nitrogen which is needed for growth.
- The demand for it is high thereby making it a ready consumable product. And the supply space is less than the demand thereby creating a gap to be filled.
- With little amount, you can plant an expanse of land and get a bountiful harvest.
- You can take it a step further to plant for exportation.
MARKETABILITY/PROFITABILITY IN GROUNDNUT FARMING BUSINESS
When I knew that groundnut is a fast-moving foodstuff that is highly consumed was when I did the business for just a short while. I actually added it to a business I was doing at the time. A friend of mine helped me to purchase it in Adamawa State I made good money out of it. If buying and retailing gives you much money how will it be when you plant and sell by yourself.
The profit is from 50% upward, you will make more profit when you unshell them for sale and greater profit if you mill to oil. Groundnut farming can give many people jobs, especially in the oil mill sector.
Market men and women are already waiting to buy from the available ones around them. If you check very well you will find out that most of the groundnut sold in the southern market comes from the north why can’t you increase the production so that we can have what to export to other countries.
PEANUT FARMING CAN ALSO BE DONE IN SACK BAGS
Mix soil and manure equally into sack bags and drop 2 seeds into a hole of 4-5cm. Tend it the way you would do on a plain ground. It would perform far better than plain ground. Make you perforate the sack.
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