Pepper is a spicy vegetable enjoyed all over the globe as a significant part of most delicacies in many cultures.
The world produces close to a million metric tons of pepper annually, with the amount produced in 2018 being 752,000 tonnes, growing by 5.1% against the previous year and with Vietnam producing about 39% of the pepper followed by Indonesia producing around 15% and India about 10%.
Nigeria, on the other hand, is the largest producer of pepper in Africa, with a production rate of over 68,000 metric tons of pepper annually as of 2017. Despite this number, the majority of the pepper produced in Nigeria is consumed locally, and the rest is mostly only being exported to neighbouring African countries.
If you’re locally for a profitable agro-business to startup that has a constant ready market and a great international demand, starting a pepper farming business is one way to go. This is also great and has a short-term return on investment as pepper takes only about three months to start producing fruits, with the global demand being far above the supply.
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What Is A Pepper?
Pepper is a spicy vegetable. It is a fruit from the pepper fruit and has different varieties.
What Is Pepper Farming About?
Pepper farming is the process of planting and harvesting Peppers for personal consumption, commercial purposes, and international trade.
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Business Opportunities In Pepper Farming In Nigeria & Around The World
1). Source Of Medicine:
Pepper is said to be highly medicinal as they have been known to help cure various diseases over the years like bacterial infections, constipation and many more.
2). Spice Production:
This is the most common use of pepper. Pepper has been an essential spice in different recipes over the years for many people living in many parts of the world.
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Facts And Benefits Of Pepper
- Pepper is one of the highest-selling spices in the world.
- Pepper comes in many colours, green, black, red and white but all come from the same plant, the colour is related to how ripe it is and how it has been processed.
- Pepper is a natural pain fighter.
- Hanging pepper in homes are seen as a source of good luck and good health charm.
- Pepper was mostly eaten by the wealthy in the past as it was so expensive and sort after, traders formed spice routes from India to Europe and would often fight over them
- Pepper has been used in cooking for over 2000 years!
- Pepper loses its flavour and aroma through evaporation, so its best to keep it in an airtight container.
- Red peppers contain more than 200% of your daily vitamin C intake.
- Red peppers help support healthy night vision
- Red peppers are packed with antioxidants.
- Pepper helps burn calories.
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Types Of Peppers
There are over a hundred varieties of peppers grown all over the globe. But, for the sake of this article, we would be focused on the types of peppers commonly grown and consumed in Nigeria.
1). Bell Pepper:
The bell pepper is a cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colours, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, and purple. Bell peppers are also known as “sweet peppers”.
This bell pepper variety is commonly called green pepper and big yellow used as a recipe for fried rice, and many other meals.
2). Chilli Pepper:
Chilli peppers are the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum which are members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. They are commonly dried and used as dry pepper or are used fresh.
3). Red Pepper:
They are also known as The cayenne pepper, which is a type of Capsicum annuum. It is usually a moderately hot chilli pepper used to flavour dishes. Cayenne peppers are a group of tapering, 10 to 25 cm long, generally skinny, mostly red-coloured peppers, and often with a curved tip & somewhat rippled skin.
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How To Start Pepper Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide
1). Soil Requirement:
Pepper thrives well in a warm climate. It requires well-drained silt or clay loam and favourable climatic condition.
Pepper grows well on highly nutritious soil with optimum soil moisture. It doesn’t also thrive in waterlogged and alkaline soils.
2). Nursery Preparation:
The soil used for raising nursery should be fertile, well-drained and free of diseases and pests.
Make seedbeds with topsoil mixed with compost (30 x 45 x 8 cm) on nursery beds or trays and leave an upper space of about 20 cm for watering while using trays.
Beds should be about 1 meter long with an inter-row space of about 1 meter also.
Water the beds about 14 hours before sowing.
Next make drills of 5 to 10 cm apart across the bed and sow about 100 seeds per drill. Cover lightly, then thin the seedlings to one per 2.5 centimetres of drill 15 to 20 days after sowing.
Alternatively, holes can be made at 4 x 4 cm apart on the bed and 3–4 seeds dropped in each hole.
The seedlings are later reduced to one per hole.
Similarly, seeds can also be drilled or planted in specific spacing (4 cm x 4 cm) in the tray.
4). Disease And Insect Control:
The seedlings should be sprayed regularly with insecticides for the control of insects and diseases before they are transplanted.
Peppers are usually harvested red or as it starts to turn red, except for bird peppers which can also be harvested green because it may be consumed green for some special delicacies. Harvesting can be done once or twice a week.
It is usually harvested into baskets and sacks.
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Challenges Of Pepper farming In Nigeria
Here are some challenges that can affect starting pepper 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
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To Sum It Up
The pepper 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 pepper farming business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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