Thinking to start grape farming in Nigeria? If you’ve ever tasted wine, jam, jelly or even raisins or vinegar then you’ve had a taste of nature’s given grapes but sadly, you’ve not contributed to Nigeria’s economy because a great percentage of grape products consumed are imported.
The good news is that our climatic condition favours the growth and cultivation of grapes among a host of other fruit businesses, yet, it is an untapped venture. You can go into the market now and make a huge profit.
If you’ve read to this point and you’re probably wondering how possible and achievable it is to operate this business and you’ve got questions, you’re in the right place as we’ll outline the step-by-step guide you need.
In this post, you’ll learn everything about the cultivation of grapes, the health benefits of grapes, land preparation, planting procedures, harvesting and how to store this fruit.
Let’s get right into it.
Grape Farming Overview
Grapes are fleshy fruits that are naturally enriched with vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper and iron.
Health Benefits of Grapes
Grapes are also packed with other health benefits that include:
Prevention and control of acne
Promotion of a healthy digestive by preventing constipation
The polyphenols in them reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes
Grapes prevent heart diseases
Berries generally help in promoting clearer vision.
Grapes strengthen the immune system and prevent cold. They also help prevent anaemia.
They relieve the body from stress and inflammation.
Grapes improve brain functioning because they are packed with phosphorous
Their calcium content aids in bone formation and improvement.
How To Start Grape Farming In Nigeria
Grape farming isn’t limited by climatic conditions, however, they do well in hot or warm temperatures and luckily for us in Nigeria, we have just the right climatic condition for it.
Stop foot-dragging already and follow the guide we would outline here and you’ll be well on your way to owing a grapevine and enjoying the fruits and monetizing it as well. Below are the directives for the cultivation of grapes:
Land Preparation for a Grape Farm in Nigeria
Starting grape farming in Nigeria can either be for subsistent or commercial purpose and that would determine the hectare of land you need, you can start in your backyard or on a large piece of land.
Grapes don’t do too well in waterlogged areas and it’s important you make room for proper drainage if you’ll be planting on a massive scale.
The soil should be deep and organic manure should be made available as it will help improve soil fertility and increase yield in the long run.
Planting Your Grapes
The best time to plant grapes is during the dry season between October and March. This is because there’s enough sunlight and the temperature is warm at those times. Grapes need this kind of weather to thrive well as they don’t do too well with much water. So technically, the rainy season isn’t the best time to plant.
The first thing to do before planting is to erect a kind of support for it, you can use sticks for that (preferably bamboo). You can then go ahead to dig a hole 15cm deep and away from the support so you can plant the seed or cut into it.
Thereafter, you will cover the soil with a thick mulch of decomposed manure or compost, this helps to keep the temperature of the soil warm and protect the root from cold temperatures.
You can improve the quality of the berries by mixing humid acid, coconut water and sugar together and applying them to the bud at the development phase.
It is also important to water the soil and add more manure to it and also, the necessary spacing of 2 to 3m for vine rows and 1 to 1.5m within rows should be observed.
Proper training and cultivation of the grapes is another important aspect; this should be carried out at least twice a year on a trellis. Pruning should be carried out also when training.
Weeding a Grape Farm in Nigeria
Grapes like every other fruit have their pest, and the most common pest is the red spider mite. Others include thrips, leafhoppers, flea beetles and mealy bugs. The good news is there can be controlled with the right pesticide.
A mixture of cow urine, Bordeaux mixture and Trichoderma can be used to wave them off.
Grape trees are capable of producing grapes for up to 15 years and they have no specific period of harvest, the harvest solely depends on the cultivation time and the yield is dependent on the variety.
Also note that grapes do not get ripe after they are plucked, so always check that they’re ready for harvest before picking them out.
Generally, they are ready for harvest if they are rich in colour, full of flavour, easy to crush and juicy. All these can be checked by touching them and plucking some to taste.
The taste should range from sweet to tart and if the fruits are not ripening, it may be as a result of lack of sunlight; adjust the foliage to let in more sunlight. Grape harvest can be done twice a year by repeated pickings.
After harvesting, grapes should be processed or stores in cartons especially if they’d be sent to distant places away from the farmland or even exported. Endeavour to separate them because they have the tendency of absorbing smell/aroma from other fruits or vegetables.
Pack the grapes and ensure you always check for spoilage so the spoilt ones don’t contaminate the rest.
FAQs on How To Start Grape Farming In Nigeria
How many grapes can you grow in 1 acre?
For winegrape vines, you can get between 10 to 12 tons per acre, while table grapes can make from 8 to 10 tons per acre when mature
How long does it take to start a vineyard?
Starting grape farming in Nigeria requires 11 to 13 years before the vineyard can start producing many marketable grapes.
What is the lifespan of a grape vine?
Grapevines can live for over 100 years; the optimum lifespan of grape trees is 125 years, however, their grape production decreases once they are between 20 to 25 years. Vines that are more than 25 years are termed ‘old vines’.
Do grape vines grow fast?
Grapes grow quickly and can get quite heavy during the first two years of the growing season.
Do grapes need much water?
Grapevines have lower water needs when compared to most fruit-bearing plants. However, some varieties of grapes have specific water needs.
Starting grape farming in Nigeria, though profitable is not very common in the country yet and the demand for it is high. It can be managed by anyone because it is not labour intensive, this makes the business lucrative and worth it.
You can do so many things with grapes, such as making salads, selling them the way they are to local markets or agritech companies or export them and of course, you can eat them and enjoy all the benefits they are packed with.
We hope this post has shed enough light on grape farming in Nigeria and how to go about it, follow us and more updates and do well to share this post with someone you think might need it.