Are you thinking of starting vegetable farming in Nigeria and you do not know which type of vegetable farming you can go into that is profitable?
Bitter Leaf farming is the vegetable farming you should go for among all other vegetable farming. This is because the vegetable is easy to plant and it can survive on any kind of soil.
Bitter Leaf farming is lucrative and profitable because it is widely eaten all over Nigeria by all tribes and it is used for different herbal purposes and remedies.
To start bitter leaf farming in Nigeria there 3 major things you need at your disposal. You need good farmland. A farmland with a good type of soil, the stems of these bitter leaf or their seeds, and a good source of water.
In choosing whether you should plant the seeds of the bitter leaf plant or you should plant the stem, it is best to plant the stem as this yields a faster result than planting the seeds.
The seeds take time to sprout from the soil and they are most time-delicate to handle but the stems are rigid and they grow easily as long as you apply enough water to them daily.
I am saying this as a farmer that has been into bitter leaf farming for the past 3 years. So welcome! In this article, I am going to teach you everything you need to know about bitter leaf farming in Nigeria.
In this article, I will teach you the land preparation for bitter leaf farming, planting in bitter leaf farming, irrigation in bitter leaf farming, weeding in bitter leaf farming, and finally, how to make profits in bitter leaf farming.
Is Bitter Leaf Farming Profitable?
Bitter leaf farming is profitable in Nigeria for so many reasons. The first reason this vegetable farming is profitable is that it is rigid and able to withstand any climate conditions in Nigeria.
This means that no matter how Nigeria’s climate may be in the coming future your bitter leaf will continue to grow and thrive well.
Another reason why bitter leaf farming is profitable in Nigeria is that the vegetable is highly needed by Nigerians for food and herbs.
Like I said earlier bitter leaf also known as vernonia amygdalina in its botanical name is one of the most common vegetables that is used for food – cooking different foods like vegetable soups, egusi, and more, and it is also used for herbs.
The last known reason why bitter leaf farming is lucrative farming in Nigeria is that it can be exported outside the shores of Nigeria to make money.
Yes, bitter leaf is another vegetable that is highly needed in foreign countries asides from waterleaf, scent leaf, ugu leaf (pumpkin leaf). Bitter leaf can be exported whether it is been processed or not.
How to start bitter leaf farming in Nigeria or steps to grow bitter leaf in Nigeria.
Land Preparation for Bitter Leaf Farming
When it comes to land preparation in bitter leaf planting the first step is that you should clear the land removing all weeds and debris. After clearing the land removing all necessary weeds the next step should be tilling of the soil, apply manure, and making beds.
And if you do not want to make beds it is not necessary. The reason why I suggest you should make beds is for you to have proper spacing for each of the bitter leaf stem or seedlings.
Preparing bedding also helps you to manage the farmland appropriately making you use all necessary space available. Bitter leaf thrives in sandy-loamy soil however, it doesn’t mean it will not survive in any kind of soil.
Planting of Bitter Leaf Stems or Seeds
Bitter leaf can be planted or propagated from any parent stem or seeds but as I said earlier it is easy to plant the stems than the seeds. The stems yield faster growth than the seeds.
Moreover, it is not easy to find bitter leaf seeds, however, it is easy to find the stems. For an acre of farmland, you will need about 2,000 to 4,000 bitter leaf stems or seeds.
After proper sowing of the bitter leaf seeds or stems, adding proper manure, and watering of the vegetable you should start to harvest your bitter leaves in 3 months or less.
Fertilization in Bitter Leaf Farming
Fertilization is not really needed in bitter leaf farming because it is not the seeds that are sellable but the leaves.
So all you need is to apply enough compost manure that contains nitrogen to make the bitter leaf plants grow faster. You can apply chicken dung or cow dung and other types of compost manure.
Weeding in Bitter Leaf Farming
As bitter leaf stems grow bigger and taller they create shade on the soil around them thus hindering weeds from growing. However, if any type of weed struggle to survive next to the bitter leaf trees you can simply uproot them around the farm manually.
Irrigation in Bitter Leaf Farming
Bitter leaf trees and stems can survive for weeks sometimes even months without water however, to hasten their growth for fast harvest it is very important to have a proper irrigation system around the bitter leaf farm that will distribute water evenly to all the bitter leaf plants.
If you cannot afford to make a proper irrigation system around the bitter leaf farm you can water the bitter leaf manually yourself or get laborers to help you out.
Making Profits from Bitter Leaf Farming
There are different ways you can make profits from bitter farming in Nigeria. You can make profits by simply supplying butter leaves to market women – women who sell vegetables at the market.
All you have to is supply them regularly and they will pay you. You can also make profits from your bitter leaf farming by selling straight to consumers. Yes, you can do this for people that want to buy fresh bitter leaves from your farm.
Lastly, you can make profits from your bitter leaf farming by selling your bitter leaves to exporters – people that buy foodstuffs to export out of the country or simply make profits by exporting them yourself.
Some Health Benefits of Bitter Leaf
Like I said earlier there are many health benefits of bitter leaf and these health benefits make the leaf high in demand in the Nigerian market and overseas.
Some of the health benefits are:
It improves fertility.
It fights free radicals especially when taken on an empty stomach.
It cures insomnia.
It cures stomach aches.
It helps pregnant and lactating mothers.
It cures memory loss. Bitter leaf can cure memory loss that is not far gone.
It detoxifies the body’s internal organs. Yes, if you want to remove toxins from your body and you do not want to spend too much doing this, you can simply wash and blend the leaves to toxify.
However, there are some side effects of the bitter leaf that you need to know before you start taking it for herbal remedies and as for whether the bitter leaf is an antibiotic you will need to do further investigation on that yourself.
Bitter leaf farming business in Nigeria is just like any other lucrative vegetable farming in Nigeria. It is no doubt that vegetable cannot be ignored in Nigeria even when they are expensive in the market for obvious reasons.
Part of the major delicacies in Nigeria is vegetable soup and asides this, vegetables are also used for herbal purposes so the bitter leaf farming is very profitable and lucrative in Nigeria if you know how to penetrate the market.
With the techniques I have given and the tips I have shared you should be able to successfully start the farming and make good money from it year in, year out.
There are other vegetable farming in Nigeria like ugu farming, water leaf farming, parsley farming, carrot farming and more that you can also go into as a Nigerian. The links to some of this articles are scattered on this article and on the blog.
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