Tiger nut is a crop which belongs to the sedge family and is widespread across the globe. It is also known as Cyperus esculentus, (Ofio in Yoruba, Aki Hausa in Igbo, Aya in Hausa). Tiger nut can be found in several parts of the world and is seen as a weed in many countries. It is cultivated for its edible value, and used for the preparation of tiger nut drink, a tasty milk-like beverage.
Tiger nut is both an annual and a perennial plant and can, therefore, be harvested twice in a year. It can grow up to about 3ft (90cm) from its tuber. Tiger nut became popular when research found it’s high nutritional values. It is cultivated in Southern Europe and parts of West Africa, most especially Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire.
In Nigeria, it is found mainly in the Northern parts where it is most commonly cultivated. Tiger nut farming is an untapped goldmine in Nigeria. In other words, it holds the promise of becoming a very profitable investment in the long run. Find a detailed guide on how to start a lucrative tiger nut production business in Nigeria, as well as all the economic benefits attached to tiger nut farming here.
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What Is Tiger Nut?
Tiger nuts are edible tubers gotten from a plant called Cyperus esculentus. They are also known as chufa, yellow nutsedge or earth almonds, and are called by different names in Nigerian native languages.
What Is Tiger Nut Farming?
Tiger nut farming entails all the processes involved in the cultivation of tiger nuts.
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Business Opportunities In Tiger Nut Farming In Nigeria & Around The World
1). Source of Food:
Tiger nuts are very versatile and can be added to the diet in different ways. They can be dried or eaten raw. They get softer and more comfortable to chew when they have been boiled or soaked in water. Tiger nuts are also used as toppings for a variety of dishes including breakfast cereal, smoothies, salads and yoghurts. More so, they may also be ground and used in bread or other baked goods. Tiger nuts can also be turned into dairy-free yoghurts and ice cream.
2). Tiger Nuts Milk Production:
The milk made from tiger nuts, dates, coconut and ginger has a history of being used to boost libido. They’re used as aphrodisiacs in Ayurvedic medicine. Besides, men in Nigeria have used the drink for generations to treat erectile dysfunction, increase sperm count and boost libido. Beyond this, the milk, preferably chilled, is a daily meal for most Nigerians, especially during hot weather.
3). Tiger Nut Flour:
Tiger nut can be ground into flour (tiger nut flour) and used for a variety of baked foods. Tiger nut flour has a unique sweet taste, which is ideal for different uses. It is an excellent alternative to many other flours like wheat flour, as it is gluten-free and suitable for people who cannot take gluten. Also, it can be used as a flavouring agent for ice cream and biscuits.
4). Source of Animal Feed:
Tiger nuts could be used as a replacement for maize in the diets of cockerel starters in poultry. Studies have shown that tiger nuts have significant effects on poultry yield of the cockerel starters, as there is an increase in weight, breast, abdominal fat, gizzard, spleen, kidney and intestines.
Facts and Benefits of Tiger nuts
- Tiger nut originates from Africa, Egypt precisely.
- Tiger nut comprised 80% of our Paleo ancestors’ diet around 2 million years ago.
- In many countries, Cyperus esculentus (the plant from which tiger nuts originates) is considered a weed.
- Tiger nut has a flavour reminiscent of both coconut and almond.
- People with digestive issues such as IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome) or sensitivities to high-fibre foods might experience some gas, bloating, cramping, or diarrhoea if they eat too many tiger nuts.
- Tiger nut milk is believed to boost libido.
- Tiger nut is a good source of insoluble fibre, which can prevent constipation and help your digestion run smoothly.
- Tiger nuts are high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins C and E.
- It can be consumed raw, roasted, dried, baked or as tiger nut milk or oil.
- Tiger nut milk is said to have never been found to produce an allergy.
- Tiger nuts can be sold as tiger nut flour or tiger nut milk.
- Tiger nut is also used as a flavouring agent for ice cream and biscuits.
- It is as well used in making oil, soap and starch.
- Tiger nut is a rich source of antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that protect the body against ageing and diseases like cancer and heart disease.
- The tiger but plant can grow at any season of the year
- It contains health fats
- Tiger nuts drink is the best cow milk substitute for people with celiac diseases.
- Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo are some of the biggest producers of tiger nuts.
- In Nigeria, tiger nuts are predominantly grown in the North, especially Katsina and Kebbi states.
- Tiger nuts can be consumed with flavours such as dates, coffee and chocolate.
- In Spain, tiger nuts drink is called Drink of the gods.
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Types of Tiger nut
There are three varieties of tiger nuts.
1). Yellow tiger nuts:
The yellow tiger nut is readily available in the Nigerian market. The yellow variety is preferred to the other types because of its inherent properties such as bigger size, attractive colour and fleshier body. The yellow variety also yields more milk upon extraction, contains lower fat and more protein and possesses less anti-nutritional factors.
2). Brown tiger nuts:
This is another common variety in Nigeria. It is equally rich in magnesium and Vitamins C and E.
3). Black tiger nuts:
This is not a variety commonly cultivated in Nigeria.
How To Start Tiger Nut Farming Business In Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide
The following are steps to help you start a successful tiger but farming:
1). Land Preparation:
Tiger nuts grow on almost every soil type, but the sandy-loam soil is best for optimal yield. The land should be tilled and thoroughly prepared.
2). Planting The Tiger Nut Seeds:
Tiger nut seeds should be planted at a depth of 5cm (or more) into the soil. Spaces should be given between the seeds planted. A good thing about the tiger nuts is that they grow at any time of the year (whether rainy or dry season) and can adapt to any environment. However, they require lots of water supply as well as fertilisers or manure so that they could have a maximum harvest output.
The tiger nut seeds, when mature, come out as tubers. These tubers mature at about four months after the seeds are planted before they are ripe for harvesting.
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Challenges of Tiger Nut Farming Business In Nigeria
The difficulties of tiger nut farming in Nigeria are:
- Weed control problems
- Pests and diseases
- Marketing challenges
- Unfavourable climate changes
- Lack of experience among local farmers and investors
- Problem of irrigation and watering, especially during dry seasons.
- Poor transport network to areas of demand
- Unfavourable international market policies
- Difficulty in reaching the global market
- Unavailability of loans and funds for large-scale tiger but farming
- Low government involvement in the production of river nuts
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To Sum It Up
Tiger nuts farming is one that can be started on a small piece of land, and it doesn’t require too much attention and care. If its value chain is harnessed correctly, tiger nut can fetch one a lot of income. There is currently a steady increase in demand for tiger nuts and tiger but products.
The tiger nut farming business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the tiger nut farming business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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Tiger nut also called Ofio.
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