Orange is a citrus plant. Its origin is traced back to India, Asia and China. Orange farming in Nigeria is a viable venture. Because it serves as a means of income to farmers who engages in their cultivation.
Due to increase in population growth, the demand for orange has gone up. Because the consumption rate has also increased. This is a good opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to grab.
Orange is an all season fruit that grows abundantly in late April to late May. A valuable source of Vitamin C . And can be processed into fruit juice, concentrates, jams or eaten raw.
Nigeria is the number one citrus producing country in Africa followed by Egypt and the nine producers in the world. Citrus producing states in Nigeria are; Benue, Nassarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Kaduna, Kwara, Osun, Ogun, Edo, Ebonyi, Delta, Imo, Oyo and Osun.
When we say citrus production the first thing that comes into any body’s mind is orange farming . But it doesn’t stop there it also include other citrus plants such as grapes, lemon, tangerine, lime etc. So whatever farming practice I state here is applicable to all of them.
In this post you will find out the best technique to use in orange farming and other citrus production as well.
Clear the land of debris and grasses,. The land should be mechanized (ploughed) to a levelled medium fine tilt . You can use glycophosphate (herbicides) to eliminate grasses. Apply manure during final dressing of the land so as to enrich the soil with organic matter.
Dig hole 60x60cm and give a space of 3.3 by 3.3m (10ft) between the next plant. This is to give them enough space to spread out as the nature of the plant is. Align the trees in a straight row and across (in rows). Planting should be done when the rains are just starting.
Remove the nursery bag and position the seedlings at the centre of the dug hole. Cover the hole with loamy soil before putting the under soil (sandy) which you dug out. Make the the place fiirm for quick establishment.
Keep the budded area above the ground to avoid infection . Cover the soil up to the actual level of the nursery sleeve. Ensure you stake the seedling to keep it erect while growing.
Oranges can be grown from sea level to 200m above sea level. It is more preferable to propagate them (vegetative budding). This is due to the fact that budded seedlings are grafted from alreay existing tree which can sustain its properties. And will take very short time to mature.
It takes a long time for orange or lemon to produce fruit when raised from seed (8-13 years). While vegetative propagation of seedlings takes about 2-3 years to fruit.
You can buy seedlings from people who are into a nursery or you cultivate them yourself. If you are doing it alone, get orange seed or any citrus seed, dry them under the sun.
Fill polythene bags with sandy loam soil. Perforate the polythene for drainage. Dig a hole ½ inch, drop 2-3 seeds into it and cover lightly.
Orange/Lemon seeds and the likes grow within 14 days. Transplant them to the main field between 3-4 months. The price of seedlings is about #1,500. A plot can accommodate 50 stands.
TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENT FOR CITRUS PLANTATION
High temperature or low humidity is good for orange growth. Because it will reduce disease intensity while giving the orange fruit good colour.
Cold temperature at night and hot temperature in the day gives a good colour development. The ideal temperature for citrus are between 13°C to 38°C . Optimum temperature should be 25°C to 35°C.
Extreme high temperature is bad during flowering or when cold temperature follow a hot period. This will result in leaf and flower droppings.
- Washington orange
- Ibadan orange
- Valencia late orange
- Sweet orange
- Acid less
Navel (sweet oranges)
FERTILIZER APPLICATION IN LEMON/ORANGE FARMING
NPK should be applied twice or thrice within a year at the rate of 1/2kg for each plant, keep increasing it every year by 2.5% during raining season every year. Muriate of potash increases citrus fruit sweeteners so it should be applied at 750 grams every year.
IRRIGATION IN ORANGE FARMING
Water the farm adequately avoid over wstering. Ctrus crops are highly exposes to root rot especially when they are intercropped with other crops. Precaution: do not plant the intercrop plants close to the citrus stalks.
Pests are snails, citrus leafminer, thrips and black bug.
PRUNING IN LEMON FARMING/ ORANGE FARMING
Pruning in orange farming makes the plant to be round-umbrella form. Selective and quick pruning of citrus tree branches, results in higher yield of fruits.
Growing of seed to seedling requires enough air and sunlight. Plenty of sunlight will reduce insects, diseases, pests and will also encourage good quality fruit-growth. Prune the tree to about 3-4m in height. Do not allow the tree to grow higher than 5-6. This will make harvesting difficult.
Budded citrus plant can start producing in 3 years from the time of transplant. Orange stays on the tree from 6-9 months depending on the variety and climatic conditions.
When the colour of orange fruit changes or it becomes yellowish in colour it a sign that it is ready for harvest. Citrus crops can be harvested by hand plucking, pulling and clipping from the tree. Put them inside basket or bag to avoid their contact with the ground in other to reduce infection.
Full productivity will be attained in 10 years. Average yield for a hectare is between 10-12 tonnes yearly. But this can be achieved when; good management practice are adopted.
And can even climb to 40 tonnes. One tree can produce about 120 kg every season. Most citrus fruits bear fruits two times in a year.
PROFITABILITY IN ORANGE FARMING
It is possible to be a millionaire through orange farming. But you have to do a lot of work with good planning don’t plant and forgot about it. If not you get little or nothing out of it. Observe this strategies;
Decide on the variety to use and of course hybrid seeds are preferable. They are disease resistant, mature fast and fruit abundantly.
Irrigate properly and practice good maintenance
Prepare against disease attack
Harvest early and sell the fruits oof quickly
A bag of orange (100kg) can contain four basket which is sold for #3,000. You can sell in bags to retailers at the cost of #10,000 for a bag.
Sell to fruit sellers in fruit markets, (there is a place called orange market in Abuja), fruit stores, companies producing fruit juice etc. You can even set up a fruit juice center, process and sell by yourself for more profits.
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