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VEGETABLE PRODUCTION BUSINESS: QUICK WAY OF GENERATING INCOME




Vegetables are important part of human diet and essential for healthy living because of their high nutritive value. The daily human requirement of vegetables is between 150g – 250g. There is an increasing demand for vegetables and agropreneurs are already taking advantage of vegetable production venture in rural and urban region.
Basically, vegetables are short seasoned plants/crops cultivated for their leaves, fruits, seeds or roots. They are easy to cultivate anywhere (farmland; backyard; garden; greenhouse; bucket; rooftop, etc) and fast growing but require intensive care. Green house technology can ensure continuous production of vegetables (e.g. tomatoes) throughout the whole season. Moreover, this vegetables produced during dry season usually command high price. Some common vegetables are Spinach, Tomatoes, Pepper, Egg plant, Green beans, Cucumber, Ginger, Cabbage, Carrot, Lettuce, Watermelon, Jute mallow, Okra, etc.
Interestingly, more vegetables are now being cultivated in urban region more than ever before. Consumers in urban area are ready to pay the price for value-added vegetable products. Green house technology, Organic production and product branding/packaging increase the value of vegetable products and this presents a huge opportunity for youth residing in urban region. Major target markets for vegetables are Restaurants/Eatery, Households, Supermarkets, Estate/Hostel, and Hotels. More importantly, there is a huge export market opportunity for organically produced vegetables.

Establishment of Pepper Farm

Pepper requires a daily average temperature of about 23.9oC. Peppers are first grown in a nursery/seed tray for six weeks before they are transplanted to open field. When close to transplanting period, the water application should be reduced to hardened the plant and thus will help them overcome the shock of moving. When a field is newly ploughed it is important to allow the soil to dry up for a week.  
The following varieties are widely grown in Nigeria;
Bird peppers—atawere (Capsicum frutescens)
Cayenne pepper or red pepper—Sombo (Capsicum frutescens)
 Atarodo (Capsicum annum)
 Tatase (Capsicum annum
In rainy season, the beds should be raised about 15cm above the surrounding ground to enhance drainage and lowered during the dry season for water retention.
Maturity ranges from 3 – 5 months depending on the varieties. They grow well on many kinds of soils, ranging from sandy loam, clay loam and silt loam. The soil must be well drained. Soil should be maintained with manures (6ton/Acre) or inorganic fertilizers, NPK (300kg./Acre).


Ridge width for growing pepper may be 75cm – 90cm, with an interplant spacing of 45 to 60cm. When planted on the flat,  a closer spacing  of  60  x  60cm  may be  adopted  for  sweet  pepper  (Capsicum annum).  Seedlings can easily be uprooted if planted in nursery tray but if planted on a flat surface ridge, it should be uprooted with ball of earth using hand trowel. Transplanting on ridges of 75cm size should be spaced 45cm between  plants  (one  plant  per  stand)  to  give  plant  population  of  29,630 plants per  hectare. For transplanting on flat, plots of 6m x 4m is recommended, with plant spacing of 45cm apart in 60cm spaced  rows. Transplanting should be done early in the morning or late evening to minimize transplanting shock.  Six week’s old uniformly sized pepper seedlings should  be  transplanted,  and  gap  filling  be  done  to  replace missing  stands  about  a  week  later .

Kindly share your opinion, experience, progress and challenge in this area in the comment section below.