Okra farming dates back to the primitive days were our fathers practiced it as subsistence farming alone. These days the story has changed, it has been found to be a sustainable agribusiness that is churning out millions to farmers who engage in the business.
Okra is a type of vegetable that is mostly used for cooking soup. They are majorly cultivated for commercial purposes in the North. Because of the huge profits and less stress of managing okra farm many people including those from the south are now staunch okra farmers..
Okra is said to originate from Southern USA but has spread to other counties of which Nigeria is one of the highest consumers. It can be used for the preparation of soup in different ways. For me, I particularly love the one that is prepared with ginger and garlic, without oil. Men! It makes sense wella. I will write out the procedure for the preparation this kind of Okra Soup.
OKRA FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
Since what you are going into is commercial okra farming there is, therefore, need to carefully map out plans on the size of farm to use, when to start the planting, the number of seeds needed, where to sell the okra, provision of pesticides/manure, labour/cost etc.
Okra farming in Nigeria will always do well no matter the part of the country you are carrying out the planting. In as much as you follow all the laid down okra farming techniques in this post.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO OKRA FARMING IN NIGERIA
It is profitable, Okra has high demands as such sustainability is sure, Because of the increased level of consumption, there is a gap which has to be filled since the demand for it far outweighs supply.
Okra is a kind of vegetable which has a short season as such you will realise your money within a year of planting.
PROFITS IN OKRA FARMING
All I can say is that it is very lucrative and highly profitable. one thing with vegetable is that it has much gain especially if you sell them by yourself. You plant only but one seed to harvest more than a hundred seeds, Apart from selling them fresh, they can also be sold dried or their seeds brought out and sold.
Till and make ridges or beds if you are from the South you may not need ridges or beds because the soil is already arable. The two should be high during raining season and low during dry season. This is to achieve a successful water retention.
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The land should be sandy loam rich in organic matter. You can dress the land with manure after clearing especially if the soil is not fertile. Okra grows well under a hot sun, if you plant them under shade it will not produce much fruit. 6 hours of sunlight is needed in a day.
Okra should be planted in the morning or late afternoon. You can soak the seeds in water a day before planting to hasten their germination. Mulch the farm after planting especially during the dry season in other to avoid too much loss of moisture to the sun.
Cold temperature can affect Okra germination. The temperature should be 15OC to 20OC and not less if it must germinate. (70-95OF).
Plant seeds 1-2 inches apart, the spacing is 1 foot and 12-15 inches apart within rows but close for semi-dwarf varieties. Plant into the soil ½ to 1 inches (1-2 cm) okra germinates after 3-5 days. 3 days when soaking in water, 5 days for the non-soaked ones.
IRRIGATION IN OKRA FARMING
You have to irrigate your farm during draught or more especially during ‘dry season okra farming’. Although the plant can do well with less water adequate water is necessary for optimum growth.
How To Make Steady Income From Okra Farming Business In Nigeria
Animal dung or compost can be added to the soil at different times – when the plants are 6-8 inches tall and after 2-3 weeks. After properly using nitrogen to dress the soil for quick germination, reduce their application in the next manure addition. Until fruiting begins in other to checkmate the growth if not the plant will produce more foliage with little flowering.
Aphids, stinkbugs, corn earworms feed on okra plants, you can hand-pick them or use neem oil to drive them away. For details on how to use neem oil refer back to my post on ‘pepper farming‘. Other pests that attack them are; thrips, mites and grubs although okra are not bothered by them.
Diseases include; yellowing of the leaves, yellow mosaic, leaf curl virus. Fungal diseases include, fusarium, cercospora, middas botrytis etc use pesticide. For flea beetles use notenone and pyrethrin.
Just like every other plant weeding is very necessary in other to eliminate competition. To avoid pest attack weeding should be done early.
Harvest is 2 months after planting and within a week of fruiting after which harvesting continues every other day. They should be harvested immature.
Okra farming share resemblance with pepper farming, the more you harvest the more it fruits. You can even harvest twice in a day use knife or scissors to cut the pod above the cap.
That is where their stem joins with the branch another pod will still come out from the very spot where it was detached and will continue like that until it stops producing.
Okra is self-pollinating but is sometimes pollinated by insects during this process the flower will not open but self-pollination is going on inside. It should be 2-3 inches in length before harvesting or 5 inches depending on the variety.
If you delay harvest you will end up with fibrous, woody, tough and non edible pods. Except you are planting for the seeds. Leave the pods to dry properly until they starts splitting, before you harvest them.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF OKRA
Okra fights heart and cancer diseases
It has health nutrients such as vitamin C, calcium and potassium.
Okra possesses low calories which are good for diabetic patients.
How To Make Steady Income From Okra Farming Business In Nigeria
Depending on the variety, okra can last for more than 3 years when dried. However, it is advisable you leave the seeds in their pods, and keep them in a warm place. If you have to remove them from the pod then they have to be kept in an air tight container.
Another way of preserving the fresh okra is to wash and cut them into smaller sizes as we normally do when we want to cook them, Then dry them under sun to be very dry pack them into containers for use whenever you need them. It is equally as good as the fresh ones.
Where long clothes and gloves to cover yourself during harvest because okra leaves and pods have spines that cause irritation. You can counter crop inter-cropped with beans, waterleaf and other vegetables.
But do not plant them where other Solanaceous plants have been cultivated before example potatoes tomatoes etc or brassicas example cabbage, broccoli etc.
Okra appears in two varieties red and green.
Annie Oakley takes 52 days to mature with spineless pods. It grows up to 3 feet.
Parks Candelabra Branching
Their base has a branching Louisiana Green Velvet. It is vigorous and grows up to 6 feet tall, smooth and spineless.
Fresh okra can last for 3 days after which they become darken, or yellowish in colour before rotting or decay sets in.
HOW TO PREPARE OKRA SOUP WITH GINGER AND GARLIC
- Okra 20 pieces
- Azuza few leaves
- Ginger a little slice
- Garlic one detach
- Maggi 1
- Crayfish 4 tablespoon
- Salt to taste
- Dry fish 1
- Meat 10 pieces
Wash and slice the okra to your desired sizes.
Wash the dry fish with hot water/salt and set aside chop the garlic and ginger to tiny sizes.
- Wash the meat and put them inside a pot, place the pot on fire add onions, magi, pepper and salt ginger and garlic to simmer.
- Pour water into the contents after 10 minutes add the pot of meat, When it starts boiling add the dry fish/crayfish into it after 5 minutes add the okra cover after 3 minutes add the azuza and cover. Allow for 5 minutes, then bring it down and serve with poundo.
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