One of the highly patronized fruits in Nigeria and abroad is Watermelon, it is largely cultivated and consumed across the globe, and as such, farmers have seized the opportunity of this profitable Agribusiness to establish financial freedom. Learn how to successfully start a watermelon farm in Nigeria today.
So if you are thinking of cultivating simple crops that can be planted and harvested within a short period like cucumber, okra, and the likes for instant gratification, then don’t forget to add watermelon to your list.
What’s more, watermelons are not picky in the areas for germination, they can be cultivated anywhere across Nigeria with little or no problem along the line.
How To Successfully Start A Watermelon Farm In Nigeria
The following steps are therefore needed to be considered in starting a successful watermelon farming in Nigeria and anywhere in the world.
1. Land Preparation
Since you can’t cultivate the watermelon in a river, you’ll have to clear the land to be used for farming against any grass and debris. If you are going to use dry land, tilling is very necessary to aid the root movement easily and to aid the easy penetration of water.
2. Seeds Preparation
After you must have done all the necessary things on the land, then you need to prepare the seeds to be planted.
If the seeds will be prepared by you, you are to dry them for 5 – 7 days to make sure they really dried off. But if you are getting the seeds from a store, you don’t need to since they only sell the dried ones.
3. Planting of the Watermelon Seeds
Depending on what you feel, you can plant the watermelon seeds the same day you prepared the bed. In so doing, give a space of about 2 ft by 2 ft and plant 2 to 3 seeds. Since you’ll be doing the thinning after days of successful germination.
4. Application of Manure or Fertlizer
It is immaterial that the soil is fertile, watermelon requires adequate nutrients at some certain stage of germination. To avoid any shortage of nutrients, you will need to be applying manure as it grows.
5. Application of Insecticide
The watermelon plant is susceptible to insects and diseases. The commonest one is Fusarium wilt anthracite, when you noticed any strange changes, kindly uproot and burn it.
So after the 10th and 14th days of germination, apply insecticide, subsequently, apply it on the 37th and 57th days of planting.
You are to water the watermelons in the first 2 to 3 weeks after seed planting. Watermelon is known for deep roots and this enables it to extract moisture, so until the roots grow out, the crop is to be watered with a slow deep soak.
Thus, you are to stop watering the plant when it begins fruiting regardless of whether or not it rains. This is to allow the concentration of the sugar in the fruit and the watermelon flesh to be crispy.
Watermelon takes up to 80 – 100 days to fully ripe and it can be harvested up to 20 times before its withering, albeit it depends on the species and management of the planted seeds.
Why You Should Start Cultivating Watermelons
Watermelon farming in Nigeria is highly beneficial for a variety of reasons asides from being a fruity snack. They are packed with lots of vitamins and minerals including
- Vitamin A: which is necessary for good eyesight
- Vitamin C: an antioxidant helps to clear the free radicals in the body hence promoting a clearer skin tone.
- Lycopene: for protecting the skin from sunburns and cancerous agents.
- Iron: for increasing blood production and preventing cardiovascular diseases.
- Watermelons help to boost libido in Men
- The watermelon business is a lucrative one and be sure to make huge profits from it, if you follow this guide.
FAQS on Starting a Watermelon Farm in Nigeria
How can I start watermelon farming in Nigeria?
First off, you don’t need much capital to start a watermelon farm in Nigeria.
Once you have a portion of land that can be cultivated, then you can go ahead. However, you would want to break the soil lumps for easy root penetration and apply compost manure on the land if it was not fertile.
Which soil should I use to plant watermelons
Sandy and loamy soil are the best fit for most fruit plantations as they retain water in the needed consistency.
What is the best time to plant watermelon in Nigeria?
Though you can plant watermelons all through the year, March and late August are advised for the early and late productions respectively.
How long does it take for watermelon to grow?
Most watermelon species take between 80 – 100 days to grow fully
How do you increase watermelon fruit size?
Proper irrigation automatically boosts the size of watermelons. You have to make sure that the soil is always moist but not to the extent of being water-logged. That is why watermelons planted in rainy seasons yield bigger melon sizes.
Applying phosphorus-containing fertilizers to the soil also makes added effects to increasing the fruit size
How often should I water my watermelon?
Because water is of high value to watermelons, you need to ensure plentiful and regular watering for quick growth. 8 – 10 liters of water should be given each day.
What kind of fertilizer do watermelons need?
Watermelons need fertilizers high in phosphorous. When applying the fertilizer make sure that the soil covers the seeds properly. If not, the seeds may not germinate.
How do I make my watermelon sweeter when growing?
Compost manure is the holy grail here. Even when the idea of using so much compost feels gross before doing it, they happen to sweeten the watermelons straight from their roots.
In case you don’t know, too many fertilizers can burn the watermelon sprouts however, compost doesn’t do this.
Are watermelons profitable?
No one would want to venture into any business without considering “what’s in for them”.
If you intend to start a watermelon farm in Nigeria on a large scale, then you don’t need to worry.
Watermelons are high in demand and are profitable because of the number of fruits that just one acre of land can produce.
Some business ideas for watermelon production include:
1. Selling the fruits on a large scale
2. Processing the fruits into packaged juice boxes.
3. Start a smoothie or fresh juice bar
Congratulations, you can now harvest, market, and sell your watermelon.