Sugarcane farming is a very lucrative agribusiness that can make a farmer a millionaire within a short time. Northern regions are the major producers of sugarcane in Nigeria. Kano State accounts for 30% of this, others are Kaduna 13%, Katsina 13% and Jigawa 8% (NBS, 2009). Assuming you plant 10,000 sticks of sugarcane and sell each #200 although you can sell more than that price. You will have 2 million revenue all things equal after expenses you can be hitting bank with one million plus in less than a year.
Although we still have pockets of sugarcane farming plantation in other States, it can’t be compared to what we have in the north neither is it enough to serve the nation.
This is a branch of the Agricultural sector that can generate huge capital for the Government running into trillions especially when they are exported to other countries. And also when the raw materials are converted to other bye products.
In Nigeria, it is popularly called rake, botanical name Saccharum officinarum from the family Poaceae. Commercial Sugarcane is grown in many countries including Asia, Brazil, Nigeria, America etc. It is said to originate from New Guinea and has a combination of sucrose, glucose and fructose content.
After South Africa which is the highest consumers of sugar in Africa, Nigeria comes second consuming millions yearly.
Despite, the expected benefits it will bring to our economy and to farmers; we are still depending on the importation of raw sugar for sustenance. Importing as much as 98% of this product for local consumption.
The question now is, why are people not tapping into this money spinning business? Could it be because we are not oblivious of the wealth it can create? But this is a farming business that can generate millions of job to our teeming youths if properly harnessed.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT SUGARCANE FARMING IN NIGERIA
There is a need therefore to boost local production; to tackle the challenges we are facing in sugarcane production. More awareness should be made on what we stand to gain in cultivating them. Also in other to meet up with sugar demands; there is need to set up more sugar refineries for now we only have few. So that they can make use of the raw material.
When large commercial sugarcane farming increases. Many sugar Industries will also encourage many people to go into sugarcane farming production in Nigeria.
Even as we are advocating for more sugar production refineries’; are you ready to go into sugarcane farming,? Lets take a look how we can plant and harvest sugarcane.
SUGARCANE FARMING IN NIGERIA
It is a tropical plant and a long duration crop. It is not like micro green plants that has short seasons. For consistency it can be planted in batches. This post is a step by step guide on sugarcane farming, ranging from
- land preparation,
- pest control,
- marketing etc..
It can be planted commercially in the south as well as increase production in the North.
It is a known fact that every land to be used for planting has to be loosed for optimum plant performance. Locate a good place which is not water log but rich in organic matter.
The best soil to plant sugarcane is a well-drained sandy-loam with a PH of 5.0-7.0. You can plant on a plain ground after clearing the land or raise a flat-bed for it.
HOW TO PLANT SUGARCANE
Sugarcane can be planted 3 times in a year (October, July and February/March). It requires about 25-35C Temperature for good germination. Delay in planting can result in poor yield as germination in sugarcane reduces with low temperature in late planting.
Lay cane in sets end to end in rows of 60-90cm distance between 2 rows. Press them into the soil with your hand or feet to a depth of 2.5-5.0cm and cover with the soil. The buds should face the sides in other to allow lower buds to germinate also.
SUGARCANE FARMING TIPS
Purchase long thick stems that will produce healthy new plants. The young plant will sprout from the stem joints. Cut the stem to foot sizes allowing 3-4 nods on it where it can germinate or sprout from. Remove any leaf or flower from the stem.
Sugarcane are planted horizontally on their sides in 4 inch furrows (trenches). Dig the hole or furrows long to the size of the cane you want to plant and give a space of 1 foot apart to the furrows. Irrigate lightly before planting
Do not plant sugarcane in a shady area because the require an adequate amount of day sunlight (for about 6 hours) for good yield.
Also do not plant cane stem standing or upright because it will not grow.
Sugarcane plants are heavy feeders just like tomatoes plants (because they are long duration plants) as such requires much fertilizer to do well. The best manure to apply in a sugarcane plantation is nitrogen and should be applied all through their development stages.
Apply manure during land preparation, then 6-8 weeks after planting, 8-12 weeks later and after 20-24 weeks.
Irrigate lightly before planting and after planting keep on irrigating until 2 weeks before harvesting you stop.
Normal constant weeding is required until the sugarcane plants grow shade to reduce or inhibit weed growth.
PEST/DISEASES IN SUGARCANE FARMING
Pest: bores and insects will affect sugarcane especially when planted in a swampy environment.
Disease: fungal growth disease and stock rots can attack sugarcane plant.
Plant sugarcane varieties that are resistant to diseases. Use fungicides and pesticides to attack them. Remove infected plant immediately and destroy.
Other enemies of sugarcane are grasscutters and stem borers. For grasscutters you can set trap for them.
It takes about a year to fully grow sugarcane, although you can harvest them at 6-8 months if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, harvest them at the right time because early or late harvest will affect the quality and quantity of the cane (resulting in loss).
Harvesting is done by cutting the down part of the cane in a slighting manner. Remove the roots and their leaves and cut off the immature part about 2-3 nodes. Use a brush to remove dirt from the harvested cane Tie them in bundles with rope and transport them to a depot.
sugarcane that are to be squeezed for liquid or juice should be used within 24 hours of harvesting. In other to avoid the sucrose present in it converting into glucose.
An average yield of sugarcane is 100-150 tonnes/ha depending on the season.
Supply to our Local sugar refineries who are in constant demand for the raw materials to produce sugar. Also, supply to Pharmaceutical companies and energy/power industries.
Sell to sugarcane vendors who hawk them around in wheelbarrows for individual consumption.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO SUGARCANE FARMING
- It is not crowded as only a handful of farmers are into it. As such the fear of glut is assuaged.
- Sugarcane doesn’t require huge capital for a start. You can start with #100,000 excluding land except you are leasing.
- Anybody can do this aspect of farming as it does not require special qualification.
- There is much profit in this farming business especially if you are planting a large commercial sugarcane farming
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SUGARCANE
It strengthens major body organs such as the eye, kidney, heart, sex organs etc especially when used often.
- Sugarcane provides natural glucose to the body necessary in maintaining power muscle.
- Treats fever, jaundice, sore throat, constipation etc
- Regulate digestive system functioning.
- Promotes wound healing, bone growth etc. Prevents cancer
- Good anti-oxidants; helps in preventing ageing.
sugarcane is available for everyone to be a part of its beneficial properties at an affordable price. It can be chewed by the use of teeth to crushed the peeled sugarcane squeezed with the mouth and the juice swallowed.
OTHER BENEFITS ARE:
- For electricity generation
- Sugarcane is used in the production of sugar fuel.
- Used in the production of preservatives and seasoning
- For industrial chemicals and leather industries.
We need more indigenous sugar refineries to serve our ever-increasing population. For now we have only a handful such as; The Family Sugar, Dogan, Golden penny.
We equally need more of sugarcane plantation in the southern region, so we can have enough to consume and for export.
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