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Tips on how to start Potato farming in Nigeria

One of the most popular food crops in Nigeria today is Potato. Potato is also popular in other parts of Africa and beyond. There are actually two major varieties of potato which are the Sweet potato and Irish Potato. In Nigeria different people have their peculiar ways of preparing it. However fried potato is a common delicacy in most parts of Nigeria. On this article we are going to focus on the sweet variety of potatoes.

Furthermore, there is a rising demand for sweet potato in Nigeria. The reason for the high demand is because people have found more ways of preparing it for food. Another major reason is due to its export value. The Nigerian government has call on farmers to embrace agriculture. The Nigerian government has introduced agriculturally friendly policies and also programs to provide incentives to farmers, this is an opportunity now to become a potato farmer. The domestic demand for potato alone in Nigeria is huge.

Potato also has a lot of health and nutritional benefits. Potato has rich fibre content. Potato also contains vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Other nutritional contents in potatoes are Riboflavin, Phosphorus, Iron and Calcium. Commercial potato farming is really a good option for farmers to consider. Sweet potatoes grow well in the tropics.

The requirements for starting sweet potato farming in Nigeria
One of the most important requirements for starting Sweet Potato farming is land. Before you think of starting potato farming you must make sure that there is land available. If you have no land is either you buy or lease one. Securing a land will take up the large part of your expenses. If you want to venture into commercial production it will cost you more as you will need a larger piece of land. However it does not mean you cannot start with a smaller farmland. In actual fact land utilization can considerably improve your profits. Meanwhile you can still manage the little land you have and you will still get bountiful harvest. This crop is grown through shoots or through its crawling stems.

Steps on how to grow Sweet Potato
Growing this crop is really an easy process if you actually know what to do. This crop has no seedlings like other crops, so they are grown through shoots obtained from mature Sweet Potato plants. The reason while it is a tuber crop is because its step grows in length and crawls on the ridge. You can even use stilts to act as support for the growing stem. The best soil type for growing sweet potato is loose and organically rich soils. The crop also requires adequate water supply, make sure you avoid water logged areas.
Furthermore, there are different ways you can till your land. You can also decide whether to make mounds or ridges. Sweet potato is a tuber crop that requires a soil that is loose and deep enough for it to attain is maximum size. This simply means you need to make your ridges or mounds higher. It really needs to be higher than those used to plant millet, maize etc. You can use organic manure to grow the Sweet Potato. Using organic manure has a lot of benefits, one of the benefits is to improve the soil structure.

The process of planting
After you have made the ridge or mound, the next thing to do is to start planting. Like I said earlier, Sweet potato is a tuber crop that has no seedlings. This crop is grown through stems from mature plants. You need to dig a hole 10 to 18 inch apart for planting the stems. Make sure you apply compost manure directly into these holes, or you can do so when making the ridges or mounds. Put the fresh Sweet Potato stems into these holes upwards and then use soil to cover it. Make sure you apply pressure on the soil with your hands to provide enough support. Usually Sweet Potato cultivation is mostly done in the rainy season. Nevertheless irrigation farming is yet another option to consider.
Furthermore, after planting the sweet potato, you will have to wait for about three to four months before it can reach maturity. Is either you sell it directly from your farm or harvest it and take them to the market.

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