The site to be used for plantain farming business should be easily accessible, especially if the establishment of a large field is being planned. It should be well drained but not too steeply sloped. Plantain cultivation is impossible if the land becomes flooded from time to time, or has a water table at a depth of only 50 cm or less.
The soil should be rich in organic matter (black soil). Hence fields in a long natural fallow, under an improved established fallow or with a lot of mulch are recommended. Plantain plants do best in loamy soil, the soil should contain enough organic matter with moderate moisture content.
Complete Guide to Setting Up A Successful Plantain Farming Business
After acquiring a land for the plantation you will need to carry out land preparation activities on the land. These activities include clearing the land of bushes, trees, stones, stumps, etc. Land preparation also involves tilling the land and application of manure to improve land fertility (for less fertile land).
You may choose to use manual labor or use machines to prepare the land for planting (depending on the scale of business you intend to operate).
The success of your plantain farming business largerly depends on the type of plantain sucker used for planting. Therefore buying a hybrid sucker is not only important but also very neccessary if you want to achieve success in your plantain farming business.
Your type of planted suckers determines the level of plantain produce / plantain yields / plantain bunches you will harvest at the end of the day from your plantain farm. Therefore your plantain farming business success starts from choosing the right plantain suckers for your plantain farm.
Plantain suckers are used to grow new plantain plants. They are outgrowth (shoot) which develop from the bud at the base or corm of the mother plantain plant. Plantain suckers mostly contain short and narrow leafs on them.
When looking for plantain sucker for your new plantain plantation, ensure you approach reputable farmers that can supply you with healthy suckers, free of disease and pest damage.
There are three major varieties of plantain suckers: water suckers, maidenhead and sword sucker. The water suckers are not so ideal to use for plantain farming business. They produce weak plant with low yield of plantain fruits.
To get the best out of your plantation, buy maidenhead or sword suckers. This varieties produce strong plants that are highly resistant to pest attack, have a high level of productivity, and produce healthy fruits.
Read Also: Weed Management on Plantain Cultivation
In Nigeria for instance, plantain suckers sell for as low as #80 in some places and as high as #150 in others, depending on your location. Most local farmers would give an attractive discount to any buyer buying in bulk. Once you buy a healthy variety of suckers it would serve you for many years to come. All you need to do is to get suckers from your own plantation.
Depending on the size of your farm, you might have to hire laborers to carry out farming activities such as: land preparation, planting of plantain suckers, weeding and harvesting. All these could also be done mechanically. If you have a big budget and can afford to set up a large-scale plantation then mechanized farming would be more helpful to you.
Your plantain suckers should be 4-5 feet long. While planting the suckers, keep a distance of about 8-10 feet before planting the next sucker. Ensure that the soil is moderately wet. Plantain plant does not grow well in waterlogged areas.
Weed and other unwanted plant compete for the nutrient of the soil with the plantain plant, therefore constant weeding is required. You could employ manual labor to help with the weeding or you could make use of chemicals (depends on how large your farm is).
Application of fertilizer depends on if you started the plantation on a fertile soil. However, if you must apply fertilizer on your farm make sure it has the right proportion of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. You could also till the dead plantain leaves to the ground to improve soil fertility.
The plantain fruits would be ready for harvest after about 8-10 months. Once the harvest season begins the plant will continue to produce more fruits till the season is over. Harvesting is done as soon as the plantain starts to ripen.
The demand for plantain is on the increase, there is always a market for the product. You could supply to companies that process plantain into flour, sell in the local market, and even export the farm produce. The market for plantain in West Africa is very large and increasing.
Setting up your own plantain processing plant is another sure-fire way of maximizing profit in the plantain farming business Therefore i will encourage you to go ahead and set up your plantain plantation. There is money waiting to be made in the plantain farming business.
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