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Nigeria is a nation blessed with abundance land, richness of resources and a great climate that gives room for it’s people to grow different varieties of food and cash crops.Interesting uhn? Read on: how to grow watermelon
Nigeria agricultural industry employs about 70% of the local workforce and makes a contributon of about 40% of the country’s GDP. A popular agribusiness that contributes greatly to the food and economic sector of the country is watermelon farming business in Nigeria.
According to statistics provided by Wikipedia, the worldwide production of watermelon as at 2014 was 111 Million metric tonnes, with China responsible for 67% production of watermelon in the world. This further proves that watermelon is a very lucrative business in the world. The huge production rate of watermelon has influenced the demand of watermelon locally and globally.
The widespread of watermelon owe it’s present state to it’s high demand by people. Thus, watermelon farming is growing fast in Nigeria and accross the world.
This “how to grow watermelon in Nigeria: A Full Guide” is divided into four parts:
- Business opportunities in water melon farming
- Varieties of watermelon
- Setting up a watermelon farming business
- Challenges of watermelon farming business
Don’t know where to start?
Not to worry this how to grow watermelon guide will walk you through.
Introduction to how to grow watermelon
Farming is the business of cultivating lands, raising stocks etc for personal/ commercial purpose. Now that this is settled, let’s move on to define the term “Water Melon farming”.
Watermelon farming is simply the act of planting, nurturing and harvesting watermelons either for food or for cash purpose.
Watermelon thrives everywhere in Nigeria and a a result of this, the demand for it continous to rise higher every day. Where there is demand, there will be supply- this law has driven up production limit of the
local farmers in the country.
Water Melon Farming Business Opportunities
It's A Source Of Food
Do you know that watermelon contain 91% of water and 6% of sugar?
Bet you didn’t know this until now(lol). It can also be consumed raw in the form of pickle or salad. This makes it a great source of food.
Where there is food, there is money. You can venture into the business without being a seller.
Good question, by connecting the seller with the buyer. Some people refer to this as ” Dropping ” or ” Middleman”. You act as a channel through which the consumer gets his product, the farmer sells his
produce and you at the end of it all take your cut– everyone is happy.
It Can Be Sold As Beverages
Watermelons are very juicy and make a great treat to kids, friends and family when diced or sliced into mixed fruits salads. It can also be blended into juice- my favourite!. You can choose to do all of this to it for personal reasons or can be turned into a branded product and then sold.
Benefits Of Water Melon And Interesting Facts You Should Know About
- Watermelons carry very little amount of fat.
- Watermelons originally were grown in southern African countries.
- Would you believe watermelon are high in protein, vitamin B and magnesium? well you better do because they contain it.
- Fibre strengthens the human digestive sysytem. Watermelon contains it.
- The world’s biggest watermelon was grown in a city in Arkanas, in the year 2005. The name of the city is Llyold Bright and the name of the city is Arkadelphia. The watermelon weighed 121.93 kg( 268.81 lbs).
- Watermelon help keep the body reduce blood pressure and body temperature.
- Watermelon seeds taste good when roasted. Some parts of Nigeria and Asia consume the seeds in this way.
- A cup of watermelon juice contains nearly one-quarter of the daily intake of vitamin. A recommended by specialists. Vitamin A helps keep the skin looking fresh by providing it moisture.
- According to a 2013 study published in the journal of Agricultural and food chemistry. Drinking watermelon juice before an intense workout helps reduce workout next-day muscle soreness and hears rate.
- Watermelon can be processed into cocktail, jam and juice.
- Watermelon has no obvious flavour.
- Science reveals that watermelon is beneficial in treatment of erectile dysfunction.
- Watermelon contain about 96% water. Thus, you can bet to be hydrated when you consume it.
- Propagation of watermelon is done through the seed.
Varieties Of Water Melon Varieties
Yellow Crimson Sweet:
This watermelon originated from Africa. They can grow to weigh 13.6kg and may take up to 80 days to mature.
How do I recognize this type of watermelon when I see this?
It’s major characteristics include bright-orange, large black seeds contained inside the flesh, moderate sugar content and an excellent flavour.
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
CS watermelon usually weigh between 25kg to 27kg and take approximately 85-90 days to mature. The crimson sweet watermelon is popularly identified by its huge sugar content and eyecatching bright
deep red flesh. It is advisable to leave 36 to 60 inches space between crimson sweet seeds when planting two or more row of CSW.
This variety of watermelon grows yearly with a maximum height of 1.46. They averagely weigh about 25kg and may take up to 85 days to mature. The Charleston Gray watermelon can be recognized easily
by it’s fiberless red flesh and a tough, medium- thick grey-green rind often used for making watermelon pikle.
Sugar Baby Watermelon
Sugar baby watermelon weighs about 8-10 pounds and takes a shorter period of 78 days before attaining full maturity . They are also popularly called “Icebox type” because of their small size which makes
them fit into a refrigerator easily. This type of watermelon can be spotted in the crowd by it’s light green flesh with dark stripes, and a flavour red flesh.
Setting Up A Water Melon Farming Business
To start up your watermelon farming business you’d need three things:
*Caring for the crop
The first step to planting a watermelon is to acquire a rich wide expanse of land.
It is super important that you plant your seed in a sunny place.
Because watermelon plants require good sunlight and a well drained soil to perform excellently. It can also be planted on bed or ridges based on the type of soil.
The watermelon plant doesn’t grow well in a waterlogged soil. It does however grow in a soil with enough sunlight and enough organic matter or manure in it. The organic manure or matter provides the soil
with just the right amount of nutrients required to bloom and grow healthily to maturity.
Planting The Seeds
A watermelon seed an be planted directly under the sun. The ideal soil temperature is usually 70 degree fahrenheit and the ideal soil pit to be dig up should be between 6 and 6.8. If you intend to plant more than one row, they can be spaced at 6 feet apart.
In Nigeria, the best period to plant watermelon seeds in the
- Southern part are March, June, July and September
- Northern part of Nigeria are in May and July
Caring For The Crop
The care period of watermelons usually starts at the moment the seed is purcahased , planted, watered, and checked on until harvest. These practices are further explained below:
- First plant the seed in a black plastic. This helps prevent weed growth , keeps the soil warm and ensures the fruit that will be harvested will be a clean one.
- Make sure that the seeds get 1-2 inches of water every week as they begin to sprout, bloom and begin to produce fruit.
- The soil must be kept moist and should never be allowed to become waterlogged or dried up. The moistness of the soil will help the watermelon store up enough water to grow bigger and appear fresher.
- You should try to water the base of the vine every morning, but avoid overwetting the leaves.
Stop watering the leaves the moment you notice the fruits are growing.
- At the early stage, make sure that the fertilizer you apply contain more nitrogen than potassium or phosphorus. As soon as flowering starts, you can switch to a fertilizer with less nitrogen.
- As soon as you realise the watermelon fruits are ripening, you should prevent rot by gently lifting the fruit and placing straw in-between it and the soil.
READ ON: how to grow watermelon in Nigeria
Watermelon fruit tipen at least 2 weeks after they are picked.
How do I know my watermelon are ripe?
- Tap the harvested fruit to see if it makes a hollow sound. If this hollow sound is made, then it is ripe- If otherwise it is not.
- A ripe watermelon will exhibit a yellowish-cream coloured bottom.
- Check to see when the vine begin to wither.
Challenges Facing how to grow watermelon
-Pest and diseases
-Little to no experience
-Market reach challenges
-Growth and spread of weed
-Low and unstable investment in agricultural research.
With this “how to grow watermelon guide”, you can begin your very own watermelon farming in Nigeria. This bussiness is very profitable due to its very large market demand. So if you’re looking for an agribusiness to venture into, watermelon farming in Nigeria is just the thing for you.
Have any contribution to this “how to grow watermelon : A complete Walkthrough” ? Feel free to share your experience or questions using the comment box. Thanks!