Walnuts are a global food staple consumed all over the world, with China being the world’s largest producer of the nut.
In the year 2016 to 2017, china produced around 1,060,000 metric tons of walnut, accounting for about 50% of the total walnut production in the world. In terms of walnut exportation, the United States exports about $423.5 million worth of walnut, which equals to around 39.2% of exported in-shell walnuts globally.
When dealing with importation, Germany holds first place for being the worlds highest importers of the nut in the value of around $802 million for about 115,665 metric tonnes. Germany has its local walnut production industry, but imports well over half the market, leading the world in walnut importation.
In Nigeria, walnut cultivation is carried out only as a form of subsistence farming, in the process, leaving a lot of untapped potentials in a crop that could prove highly lucrative for both the local and international market.
Since walnut farming is not a widely established division of agriculture currently, there is a chance for easy dominance for large scale commercial partners who want to take advantage of the business.
If you’re looking for an agricultural business to invest in, starting a walnut farming business in Nigeria can be a great move to make.
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What Is A Walnut?
Walnut (Juglans regia) is a tree nut belonging to the walnut family. It originated in the Mediterranean region and Central Asia and has been part of the human diet for several years. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fats and contain higher amounts of antioxidants than most other foods.
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What Is Walnut Farming?
Walnuts farming is the cultivation of walnuts for local consumption or for commercialization which could include walnut exportation, processing and packaging for various uses.
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Business Opportunities Of Walnut Farming
1). Walnut Oil Production:
Walnuts can be crushed and their oils extracted. This can be prescribed to soothe the intestines and relieve diarrhoea and haemorrhoids.
2). Walnut Butter:
Walnuts can be crushed and processed into butter. They are an excellent choice for butter because they are a very valuable source of the omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential for health. The natural omega-3 fatty acid makes it very useful.
3). Walnut Flour:
Walnut flour can be made from what remains of walnut kernels after they have been pressed to extract walnut oil. The remains are called cakes and are ground to a texture similar to that of cornmeal. Or it can be prepared by soaking, deshelling, oven drying, and sieving whole walnuts.
4). Whole Walnuts:
Organic whole walnuts can also be sold at reasonable prices.
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Facts And Benefits Of Walnut
- Walnuts are rich in antioxidants
- Walnut tends to decrease Inflammation.
- Walnut promotes a healthy gut.
- Walnut tends to reduce the risk of cancer.
- Walnut aids body weight regulation.
- Walnut helps lower blood pressure.
- Walnuts have biotin which is good for hair health
- Walnuts are grown in temperatures of 38-degree Celcius
- Walnuts have been a vital part of the human diet for thousands of years
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Types Of Walnuts
1). English Walnut:
The English walnut is the only walnut variety that is cultivated commercially for its delicious thin-shelled seed. The tree grows between 82 and 115 feet in height and has a trunk that spreads to 6 feet in diameter. The English walnut tree is valued also for its high-quality timber, used in the furniture industry.
2). Northern Black Walnut:
The Northern black walnut tree is one native to northern California and grows to a height of between 30 to 60 feet.
The tree has a high tolerance for drought and thrives better in full exposure to sunlight. It is well known for its thick-shelled nuts and the northern black walnut is also cultivated as a shade tree.
3). Brazilian Walnut:
This is a spreading deciduous tree that is capable of growing up to 80 feet wide, which produces quality lumber, with its trunk straight up. Fruits of this walnut tree are consumed ripe and unripe.
The Brazilian walnut is a tropical tree that is also planted as an ornamental shade tree in tropical zones.
4). Japanese Walnut:
Japanese walnut is a deciduous tree with light grey bark; the male flower is produced in spring when new foliage appears. The female flowers have attractive pink or reddish pistils. The tree has large leaves that grow up to 24 inches. They are pinnately compound, with 11 to 17 leaflets that are lighter green than most trees.
Other common names for this walnut tree include heartnut and Siebold walnut.
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How To Start Walnut Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide
1). Land Preparation:
First, the soil needs to be sandy loam or clayey loam and rich in organic matter for the walnut crop to thrive. Next, clear the land and loosen the soil by tillage for easy seed penetration. Then add manure to the soil for further preparation.
Walnuts can be propagated through seed, but seed planting is preferable. As this is done on the piece of land, an adequate spacing of between 12m x 12m for the seedlings is required to prevent congestion and competition.
This should be done after a year has passed to help the plant’s growth and productivity, by cutting off dead unproductive branch attachments and trimming the leaves as well, this helps guide the plant growth
The plants should be well irrigated until they have grown and roots been well established in the soil. Pesticides and insecticides should also be used to protect the plants from pests and disease.
Weeding should be done often.
5). Harvesting And Storage:
Walnuts begin to fall from the tree on their own as soon as maturity peaks. They turn brownish when mature, and this shows they are ready for harvest. After the nuts have been harvested, they are then to be sun-dried and further stored in a cool, dry environment until the need for them arises.
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Challenges Of Walnut Farming In Nigeria
Here are some challenges that can affect starting walnut 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 walnut 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 walnut farming business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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