How To Start Plantain Farming In Nigeria Or Africa: Complete Guide

How To Start Plantain Farming In Nigeria Or Africa: Complete Guide

Plantain farming is one of the most profitable agricultural businesses in Nigeria and many other places around the world. Despite this, the agro-business opportunity has not been effectively taken advantage of because most entrepreneurs lack the knowledge required to effectively set up, manage, and build a strong local and international supply chain network for the plantain farming business.

Plantains are one of the world’s most consumed food staples and are commonly grown in Nigeria and various regions in Africa. 

Globally, the world consumes about 40 million metric tons of plantain annually. With Nigeria being the highest consumer of plantain in the world.

The Congo Republic is the highest producer of plantain globally, producing about 4,800,000 metric tons annually.

While Nigeria is among the top 6 largest producers of plantain in the world and has the capacity to produce much more plantain than it currently does, the negligence of its agricultural sector and widespread lack of interest and knowledge of how to build a thriving plantain farming business causes the nation to produce way below its production capacity, only averaging about 3.1 million metric tons annually as of 2017.

In Nigeria, plantain is a special delicacy prepared by frying, boiling, steaming or remaking into plantain chips or flour.

With the widespread use and demand for plantains in many places around the world, starting a plantain farming business in Nigeria can be a profitable move to make.

If you’re looking for how to start plantain farming in Nigeria, Africa, or anywhere around the world, this article is a great place to start.

See Also: How To Start Plantain Chips Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide


What Is A Plantain?

Plantains look like giant bananas. They are technically fruits but can be eaten and cooked as vegetables. Plantains are the less sweet, more starchy equivalent to the banana.


What Is Plantain Farming?

Plantain farming is the complete cultivation process of plantain, from the clearing of the farmland to the planting of the plantain stokers to the final harvesting of the plantain fruit.

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Business Opportunities In Plantain Farming In Nigeria

1). Drug Production:

The leaves of the plantains are medicinal and have been used for many years in the production of drugs to cure various ailments.

2). Flour Production:

Unripe plantain when dried and grinded produces plantain flour, which can be further processed into other food forms.

3). Source of Food:

Plantain is a widely acceptable and affordable food staple that makes very special delicacies that can be prepared by frying, boiling, steaming or made into plantain chips.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Dairy Farming Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide


Facts And Benefits Of Plantain

  • Plantain is low in sodium but high in potassium and vitamin A
  • Plantains are rich in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
  • Plantains are high in fibre and aids digestion
  • Boiled plantains eaten in moderate forms can help in weight management
  • Plantains have a high presence of anti-oxidants
  • Plantains can help manage blood pressure 
  • Plantains can help cardiovascular health
  • Plantains grow in tropical countries across the globe from Central and South America to the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
  • Plantains are available all year long.
  • Plantains belong to the starchy fruit classification.
  • Plantains are called bananas in many countries where local citizens don’t distinguish between bananas and plantains

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Wheat Farming Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide


How to Start Plantain Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide

1). Choose A Land With Good Soil:

Loamy soil is the best soil for plantain farming, and this is because it contains an excellent organic to inorganic ratio. Organic materials, such as decayed plants and insects, provide soil air, nutrients and water-retaining capacity. These ingredients, when combined with mineral particles, allows the soil to remain loose and fertile.

In the tropical rain forest parts of Nigeria, organical fertile soils are shallow. Plantains would thrive for one to three years but then die back because the layer of organic matter is quickly depleted.

2). Prepare The Soil:

There should be a proper clearing of the land and felling of the trees if any. It is essential to create an environment where these plantains are shielded by direct sunlight, either by them been bunched up or planted along with other trees to protect them.

This is critical as it helps to maintain the humidity that ensures the plantain leaves thriving.

3). Getting The Plantain Suckers:

Plantain plants are not grown from trees but are grown from suckers. Suckers are buds that grow from a dying plant or a mature plantain plant which can be transplanted and re-grown. They are said to be baby plants that are used to start new plantain plants. Choose suckers from plants that are vigorous. They should have small, spear-shaped leaves and should be about four feet high.

In transplanting suckers, it is necessary to cut downwards to get as much corm, located at the bottom of the plant and root as possible. Keep around two to five meters in-between planted suckers.

In the early stages of your plant, it’s best to keep them moist but not too wet because they do not have leaves yet to help them evaporate the water adequately.

5). Best Planting Periods:

It is better to plant plantains in the middle of the rainy season. It should grow without stress and well during the first 3 to 4 months of planting, so it’s best not to plant during the last months of the rainy seasons.

Many farmers prefer to plant the plantains at the beginning of the raining season. But it is best to plant the plantain in the middle of the rainy season.

6). Harvesting:

Plantains grow from an underground rhizome reaching 12 to 15 feet tall with huge leaves, which wrap around the trunk. It takes about 10 to 15 months without freezing temperatures to produce flowers and another four to eight months to grow plantains.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Cotton Farming Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide


Challenges Of Plantain Farming In Nigeria

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

  • Poor funding of research activities
  • Pest and diseases
  • Bush burning
  • It is a seasonal business as the  are only gathered during a season once a year. So production cannot happen all year round.
  • Lack of highly efficient storage facilities for the unprocessed nuts
  • Lack of capital for large scale production
  • Lack of easy access to the international market by farmers in Nigeria
  • Instability of the international market price
  • Lack of adequate government assistance
  • Lack of adequate widespread knowledge on how to produce high-quality products In Nigeria
  • Lack of funds to import international standard processing machinery into Nigeria
  • Thieves and criminals


To Sum It Up

Plantain farming is not as complicated as it seems.  With a availability of rich farmland for crop growth and a huge steady market, starting plantain farming in Nigeria can be a great investment to make.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Shrimp Farming Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide


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