How To Start Cabbage Farming In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide

How To Start Cabbage Farming In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide | Image Source: Pixabay

Cabbage is a vegetable that has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. It was originally cultivated in North China, but over the years the farming of the crop has become widely practised globally.

China is the world’s largest producers of cabbage with a yearly production rate of over 32 million metric tonnes. It is also the world’s largest export of cabbage, with export volume exceed 900 thousand tonnes yearly and accounting for almost 39% of total worldwide cabbage exports in 2018.

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Cabbage is widely grown and consumed in Nigeria with almost every restaurant and event serving salads mixed with cabbage in them every day. The local consumption rate is very high and continues to grow with both the steady population rise and increased interest, making the lucrative nature of cabbage farming and trading to spike through the years.

If you’re want to learn how to start cabbage farming in Nigeria, read on.


What Is Cabbage?

Cabbage is a green, red, or white biennial plant which is grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense leaved heads. It is from the lineage of wild cabbage and is closely related to other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.


What Is Cabbage Farming?

Cabbage farming is the cultivation of cabbage plants in small or large volumes for personal consumption or commercial purposes.


Business Opportunities In Cabbage Farming

1). Medicine Production:

Cabbage leaves are very vital when it comes to the production of medicines. It stands as a solution to stomach pain, intestinal ulcers, high cholesterol and also asthma.

2). Food Recipes: 

Cabbage is one of the core ingredients used in making salads. It is sold fresh in most grocery stores and restaurants.


Facts And Benefits Of Cabbage Farming

  • Over 400 different varieties of cabbage are grown all over the world.
  • Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, vital for maintaining a robust immune system.
  • Cabbage gives you a boost of probiotics, which is one of the best things for a healthy digestive system and gut.
  • Cabbage is high in fibre and contains zero fat.
  • Cabbage contains anthocyanins, which is a powerful antioxidant that slows the formation of cancer cells and also kills already-formed cancer cells.
  • Cabbage contains glutamine, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, helping to reduce joint pain, arthritis, and ease allergies. 
  • Cabbage, particularly the purple variety, is great for the brain. It boosts mental functions and concentration. 
  • Cabbage contains vitamin K, which helps in preventing the deterioration of short- and long-term memory.
  • Cabbage also contains beneficial minerals; calcium and potassium, which help regulate blood pressure.
  • Cabbage intake reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Cabbage reverses the ageing process of your skin
  • Cabbage is high in energy-boosting vitamins
  • About a cup measure of shredded raw cabbage contains 190% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
  • Cabbage helps ease headaches
  • A hectare of cabbage farm can yield 70-80 tons of cabbage


Types Of Cabbage

1). Cannonball Cabbage: 

More commonly known as green cabbage, the cannonball cabbage is one of the most popular cabbage varieties. It is so named for the way its leaves wound tightly over one another in a dense, compact fashion; with the final product resembling a cannonball.

The outer leaves range from dark to pale green while the inside is pale green or white. When raw, its texture is somewhat rubbery and its flavour peppery, but once cooked, the green cabbage softens and takes on a sweeter taste.

2). Savoy Cabbage: 

Probably the most photogenic of the cabbages is this lacy variant. The leaves of the savoy cabbage are more loosely layered and less tightly packed than green or red cabbage, which gives it shorter shelf life.

Savoy cabbage is more tender than the other cabbages. It originated from Italy, has deep green crinkly leaves, and is considered the most tender and sweet.

The head is less compact, due to the wrinkled leaves, but looks similar to green cabbage. It is the better choice for stuffed cabbage since the leaves are more pliable and stand up to longer cooking times, but is also great raw in coleslaw.

3). Red Cabbage: 

Also known as the purple cabbage or red kraut, the red cabbage changes its colour according to the pH value of the soil it grows in – the leaves grow reddish in acidic soil and more purplish in neutral – acting as a litmus test of sorts. Red or purple cabbages take longer to mature, so these types are generally not as tender as green or white varieties. Most often, pickled raw shredded red cabbage also makes a striking addition to coleslaw and traditional salads. Red cabbage can be used interchangeably in most standard cabbage recipes, but be aware that the colour will leach into any other ingredients.

When cooking with red or purple cabbage, be aware that the compound (anthocyanin) that gives the cabbage the beautiful colour will also turn blue when it is cooked along with any alkaline substance.


How To Start Cabbage Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide

1). Land Selection And Preparation:

You have to choose a well-drained sandy loam soil because it is most suited for cabbage production. Once the land has been selected, you can then proceed to clear it of all stumps and bushes, then till the soil by making ridges to plant your cabbage seedlings on.

2). Planting:

Cabbage is a heavy feeder; it quickly depletes the soil of required nutrients.

Prepare the soil in advance by mixing aged manure and/or compost. Soil should be well-drained roots that stand in water.

Plant seedlings 12 to 24 inches apart in rows, depending on the size of head desired. The closer you plant, the smaller the cabbages.

When seedlings reach about 5 inches tall, thin to leave the desired space between them. If you wish, transplant the thinned seedlings elsewhere.

Mulch thickly around the area to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. The optimum soil temperature for growth is 60 to 65° F. Young plants exposed to temperatures below 45°F for a period of time may bolt or form loose heads.

Fertilize 2 weeks after transplanting with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer.

Three weeks late, add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Cabbage needs nitrogen in the early stages.

Practice crop rotation with cabbages to avoid a buildup of soil-borne diseases.

3). Irrigation:  

They need about 2.5 cm of rain per week for best results. If there’s no rain, give your cabbages one good, deep soak per week. It’s better to water like this than several shallow soaks, as cabbage roots run deep.

Cabbage requires consistently moist soil. While it won’t tolerate sitting in wet, soggy soil, it needs regular watering to produce its leafy heads. Water your cabbage once a week, applying 1.5 inches of water to the soil. If the earth is dry to a depth of 3 inches, water more frequently. Water in the morning to avoid water sitting on the plant’s leaves which encourages pests and diseases.

4). Management:

Spraying with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki) every 1 to 2 weeks will also help control cabbage family pests. Sevin also is effective. 

5). Harvesting And Storage:

Harvest when heads reach the desired size and are firm. Mature heads will split. Most early varieties will produce 1- to 3-pound heads.

To harvest, cut each cabbage head at its base with a sharp knife. Remove any yellow leaves (retain loose green leaves; they provide protection in storage) and immediately bring the head indoors or place it in the shade. Alternatively, pull up the plant (roots and all) and hang it in a moist cellar that reaches near-freezing temperatures.

To get two crops, cut the cabbage head out of the plant, leaving the outer leaves and root in the garden. The plant will send up new heads; pinch off those until only four or so smaller heads remain. Harvest when tennis ball-size (perfect for salads!).

After harvesting, remove the entire stem and root system from the soil to prevent disease. Only compost healthy plants; destroy any with maggot infestation.

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Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, wrapped lightly in plastic. Make sure it is dry before storing. In proper root cellar conditions, cabbage will stay for up to 3 months.


Challenges Of Cabbage Farming In Nigeria

Here are some challenges that can affect starting cabbage farming in Nigeria, Africa, or many other places around the world:

  • Pest and diseases
  • Lack of government support
  • Lack of funding for large scale production
  • Lack of a highly favourable market
  • Lack of highly equipped storage facilities 
  • Lack of efficient production mechanisms
  • Not popularly known
  • Absence of a vast ready market
  • Poor funding of research activities
  • Bush burning
  • Lack of capital for large scale production
  • Lack of easy access to the international market
  • Instability of the international market price
  • Lack of adequate widespread knowledge on how to produce high-quality products
  • Lack of funds to import international standard processing machinery
  • Thieves and criminals

See Also: How To Write A Business Plan: The Complete Guide


To Sum It Up

The cabbage farming business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your own ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a farming business to venture into, the cabbage farming business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.


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