It is no longer a secret that Coconut farming plays a major role in the economy of some countries and about 86 countries produces coconut. But the three major producers of coconut are India, Indonesia and Philippine. The economy of India and her people depend so much on coconut farming.
It is a tropical plant that can grow under any climaticcondition and soil type. Coconut palm is also known as the tree of heavenbecause of their various uses. Everything about the tree is useful to man, ithas economic, medicinal and nutritional values.
Coconut seed is processed for oil which can be used in theproduction of margarine or for frying. The roots are used for tie and dye in textileindustries and so on.
Nigeria is the 18th producers of coconut in the world andwe are not even there yet. Because we are not utilizing the opportunities thatlies in coconut farming.
There is need for us to create value chain for both localand International consumption especially now that the export market is growingby the day. It will go a long way in providing jobs to thousands of unemployedyouths through its numerous sectors.
Nigeria can realize more than a billion dollar from coconutexportation if fully harnessed. We need more coconut Industries to support thefew that are already existing. Lagos Coconut Industry can be given a boost withmore Investment so that it can serve as a source of foreign investment to theGovernment.
USA Coconut Oil Production Market seems to be the largestmarket for coconut in the world.
People can stand anywhere in Nigeria even on the road topurchase, drink coconut water and eat the young nuts. This should be anindication for investors and entrepreneurs that the best time to invest incoconut farming is now.
New technological approach for coconut cultivation beenintroduced that can help a farmer to succeed. In this post you will see thestep by step guide to this new approach.
The best soil for coconut farming is sandy-loam this isbecause it can hold and drain water. Choose a suitable site for this withrespect to the number of years involved in the activities. It should be yourpersonal land or a land you can lease for about 50 years or more.
If you are purchasing let it be outskirt of town (suburb)where you can buy land with low price. Make pathways in the land, cleargrasses, remove shrubs and trees. Plough and harrow the land for easyoperation.
Further prepare the land by digging holes of 1m × 1m. Mixedthe top soil with animal dung such as poultry, pig, cow, goat dung etc. orcompost manure. Fill the hole to about 50cm – 60cm. Treat the soil withchemical for any trace of termites or any other pesticide.
Transplant coconut seedlings after a year from the nurseryor when they show a minimum of 5-6 leaves and a girth of 10cm at the collarlevel. Early splitting of leaves is a good sign that the seedling is good.
Coconut seedlings has nuts attached to it in fact that isthe same nuts they grow from. Put it in the hole like that, it is the reason40cm-50cm space was left out from being filled in the hole. Fill it up now withthe remaining soil you mixed with dung and press or level the soil well toprevent waterlog farm. Planting should start during the early rains(April-May).
Use square planting just like oil palm farming; if you wantto learn how to cultivate oil palm, click here. 7.5m × 7.5m is the idealspacing for coconut farming. However, you can choose any spacing that favorsyou. 7.5m will accommodate 178 seedlings in a hectare. Other spacing to use are10cm × 10cm, 8cm × 7cm etc.
Provide shade for the transplanted seedlings in other toprevent loss of moisture at the early stage. Also stake the seedlings toprevent them from falling.
Irrigate the plant during dry season with 50 liters ofwater every week, this will increase nuts yield by 50%. Use drip irrigationduring this season it is very effective cost wise as well as in labor.
Weeding can be done 3 times a year. It will be wise to weedcoconut plantation once the weed starts emerging. For a large farm use laborer’sor machine to do the weeding.
Apply blood meal, neem oil or groundnut cake. 50kg of manure should be applied on each plant within a year. Organic manure such as cow dung is what most farmers use now to raise their farm to completion, using such manure for coconut will go a long way to improve their performance. However, if you want to use inorganic manure a combination of Urea, ammonia and potash is ideal for coconut farming.
PEST/DISEASESIN COCONUT FARMING
Common pests are beetles, red palm weevils, bug, blackheaded caterpillar etc. Common diseases are leaf rot, bud rot, stem bleeding,wilt etc.
Avoid injury on the trunk, hand-pick the insects, use neemoil or water.
Apply pesticides accordingly.
Rats attack tender nuts thereby making immature nuts tofall. Use traps to catch or fumigate the surrounding farm.
Inter-crop coconut farm with pineapple banana, groundnut, cassava, sweet potatoes; or crops that are smaller in size example legumes etc. This should be practiced for about 3 years after which you start mixed cropping.
Coconut plants are eco-friendly as such it can accommodateother plants. You can cultivate the following perennial crops at their advancestage; cocoa, cashew etc.
It takes 4 – 9 years for coconut tree to reach maturitydepending on the variety planted and their agricultural management. Theyproduce in bunches maturing at the same time. From the time coconut fruits towhen it is matured for harvest is about a year. They attain full size within 6months.
Coconuts are ready for harvest once the nuts turn brownishor yellowish in color. They sometimes fall down on their own but you can usesticks to harvest them. Use ladder or rope to get to the top of the tree forthe tall ones then use your hand to pluck them.
They produce and fruit throughout their lifespan, coconutcan live for more than 60 years. A tree can produce 70 nuts in a year whilehybrid coconut tree can produce about 200 nuts in a year. 60% of oil can beprocessed out from hybrid coconut. That is why hybrid coconut seedlings shouldbe planted for commercial coconut farming.
Tall × dwarf, dwarf × tall, these two are common hybridvarieties cultivated in Nigeria. Hybrid coconut matures in 4 years, it startsflowering in the second year and come to full flowering in the third year.
Dwarf varieties are; savukot, malaion elo orange andsavukot green, they are planted for their tender coconut
Yazpanam is cultivated for their big nuts
Ayiram kaichi is planted for plenty nuts.
Dwarf variety has a short lifespan but matures fast and as the name implies are short in stature. It takes a long time for tall varieties to reach maturity but starts producing many fruits once established.
Locate companies such as cosmetics, beverages, textile etcand sell to them. You can source for international buyers and sell to them.
Supply to market men and women who retails them in themarket.
Advertise your products both online and offline for a widercoverage. But I must tell you buyers are already waiting for the coconuts.These days local consumers and farmers don’t wait for it to dry because people preferthe young nuts for medicinal purposes.
WHY YOU SHOULD GROW COCONUT:
*It is a long-time earning cash crop as such secures one’sfuture
*The return on investment is more than 80%
*Coconut farming is simple to carry out
It has varied uses, this means it can cover many areas assuch has a much advantage.
*The demand for coconut is high both local andinternational
It allows someone to do something else.
*You can be an employer of labor through coconut farming.
You can also make more money by processing coconut intofinished products.
PROFITABILITYIN COCONUT FARMING
Let’s see how profitable coconut farming is: assuming youhave 100 coconut trees and each tree brings out 200 nuts and you sold each nutfor 100 Naira. It can be more than that you know depending on the size. They donot have uniform sizes.
Now let’s add it up
100 Naira × 200 nuts = 20,000
20,000 × 100 trees = 2,000,000
This is to say for 100 coconut trees you will make nothingless than 2 million in a year. Can you beat that, what are you waiting? Takethat step today.