Do you want to start ugu farming (pumpkin leaves and seeds farming) in Nigeria and you want to learn how to make millions from it without spending too much as capital? Read this article to the end. In this article, I am going to teach you everything you need to know about Ugu farming in Nigeria.
How to start, by preparing the land, planting the seeds, how to apply fertilizer, how to water, how to harvest your ugu leaves, and how to sell your ugu leaves after harvesting them. The ugu leaf also known as pumpkin leaf is a very important leaf in Nigeria not just in Nigerian homes but to the Nigerian people and this is because it is used for many reasons.
Ugu used to cook different types of Nigerian foods – vegetable soups by different tribes. And it is also used for medical purposes because it is high in nutrients especially potassium as one of its minerals, it also contains magnesium and calcium, and other properties. Ugu can be used to treat infertility, convulsions, obesity, memory loss, low blood in the body, regulate blood pressure, and more. So the uses of ugu (pumpkin leaves) cannot be underestimated both for cooking and for health purposes.
Is Ugu Farming Profitable?
Ugu farming is one of the businesses you can go into as a Nigerian farmer or Nigerian youth and not blame yourself if you go into the farming business well-informed. It is very profitable because ugu farming requires low capital yet massive profits. Imagine having free land at your disposal and all you have to do is to buy the pumpkin seeds to plant. You will be yielding over 98% of the profits of money invested in the farm.
Another reason why it is highly profitable is that all Nigerians eat it whether by adding it to their food, using it to make Vegetable soup, or by eating it for its health benefits. Ugu also profitable because it is a vegetable that sells itself. I remember those days my mum planted some seeds in our backyard when I was little.
People were begging for ugu to use it to cook and after some time that she saw how high the demands for the vegetables are, so it was not a surprise to everyone that she started selling them.
How to Start Ugu Farming in Nigeria
The step-by-step guide on how to start ugu farming in Nigeria as a beginner.
1. Get a Fertile Farm Land
The kind of land you use for farming really matters, not any land can be used because not all lands have the same type of soil. While some lands have sandy soil, some have clay soil and some have loamy soil. Among all these soils, the best soil needed for successful ugu farming is loamy soil. However, if you can find land with sandy-loamy soil you can still use it to start your ugu farming in Nigeria.
After getting this land you need to inspect it if it has been exposed to chemicals or bush burning. If it has you will need to give the land some time for the rain to wash all these away and the land is fertile again. After this, you need to check how close the water is to you. If there is, is it a borehole, well or you are going to be relying on rain?
If you will be planting the ugu seeds in the dry season you will need 24 hours of water supply. Depending on the kind of farmland you get this land might be available to you for free and it can be at an expense just make whatever money you are paying for the use of the land whether monthly or yearly is not too expensive.
Consider the profits you want to make from the business before considering how much you want to pay for the land.
2. Buy your Ugu Seeds/Seedlings
The quality of the ugu seeds you buy for Ugu farming will always determine how massive your ugu harvest will be. If you buy bad seeds you have a bad harvest if you buy good seeds you will have a good harvest. There are different types of ugu seeds. There are the local ones and the hybrid ugu seeds.
A. Local Ugu Seeds
The local ugu seed is best for subsistence farming – when the ugu is planted for family consumption. The local ugu seeds are not marketable to Nigerian farmers and even if they have marketable their leaves are not good enough because they are susceptible to pests and they do not grow faster.
B. Hybrid Ugu Seeds
The hybrid ugu seeds are much better for commercial farming than the local seeds and this is because they have been worked on over time by farmers to make them resilient to pests and to grow faster. There is financial security when you use hybrid seeds to plant whether vegetables or crops of any kind in commercial agriculture. You can buy these hybrid ugu seeds from your local farmers’ markets around you or from a trusted seller.
3. Preparation of Farm Land
The preparation of any land for farming is very important especially if the land has not been used for farming before or if it has been long since the land has been used. And the steps to preparing your land for your ugu farming are:
A. Clear the Farm Land
This is when you clear the weeds in the land by uprooting them with hoes. If you cannot do this yourself you can get someone else to assist you alongside. After clearing the land you will need to gather all these weeds in one place. This is to make sure these weeds don’t grow anytime soon.
B. Till the Farm Land
Tilling is very important in any kind of farming. You need to till the farm if you want to use it for ugu farming. Just in case you do not know what tilling means it simply means the digging of soil to expose its inner part outs. This process helps the soil to be soft. It also helps any crop you plant on it grow faster because the roots of the plant will be able to penetrate the soil easily.
4. Preparing Ugu Seeds or Seedlings
Normally ugu seeds are not exposed you will always find them in pods and you will need to bring out these seeds from the pods, dry them in the soil before you can now go-ahead to plant them. If you think you do not have the time to bring out your ugu seeds from the pod. You can simply buy the already dry ones from your local agriculture market around you to plant. Buying already dry ugu seeds is also profitable if you are going into the small-scale kind of ugu farming in Nigeria.
How to Prepare Ugu Seeds
If you have dry ugu seeds they are already good for ugu farming but if you have to get the seeds from the ugu pods you will have to cut the pods to get the seeds and expose them to the sun for one or two days depending on the on high the temperature of the sun is. The seeds have to be dry so they can be pest resistant and can be prevented from decaying. And if you already have seedlings do not dry them in the sun rather you plant them directly into the soil.
5. Propagation in Ugu Farming
After preparing your ugu seeds or seedlings for planting the next step you should take is to propagate your ugu seedlings – which is the actual planting or transplanting of the ugu seedlings in specific spots on the farm. When to plant your ugu seeds or ugu seedlings and the right depth it should be in the soil. The best time to plant your ugu seeds is in the evening when the sun is down or early in the morning before the sun comes out.
This time is best for the seeds or seedlings because the humidity in the air helps the roots of the seeds to finds their way gradually into the soil easily. You can plant 2 – 3 seeds or seedlings per hole. When digging these holes make sure it is not more than 4cm – 5cm. After digging and putting seeds in the soil you can cover each spot with dry leaves to help retain the humidity of the soil to an extent. The seed or planting spacing should not be more than 500cm – 1m.
6. Irrigation of Ugu Farm
Irrigation is very important in farming especially if the farming you are going into is large-scale farming in this case ugu farming. We all know water cannot reach everywhere on a large farm especially if the farm is up to a plot on a minimum and in a maximum acre.
And if you want to use manual labour – getting someone or people to be helping not profitable so the best option here will be to build your own perfect irrigation system that will be watering that farm early in the mornings. If you already have well water on the land you will need to buy a pumping machine to set up an irrigation system and if you have a borehole you need to buy the pipes that will stretch all through your farm.
7. Applying Fertilizer to Ugu Plants
To make your ugu plant grow faster you need to apply fertilizer to them. Adding fertilizer to your crop is just like giving multivitamins to children. It will make them grow fast. In ugu farming harvesting is done regularly so you need to always apply fertilizer or manure to keep it growing well. The best manure – animal feces you can add are cow dung, rabbit feces, and chicken poop from the poultry.
Make sure these feces have dried in other to get the maximum effect. If you apply the feces when they are fresh the ugu plants will die.
8. Ugu Farming in Dry Season
Planting ugu in the dry season is another type of ugu farming for those who like planting in the dry season. In this season or time of the year, you will need a good irrigation system to water your ugu plant so that water will be able to reach all necessary parts of the farm. At this time of the year, you will also need to be monitoring the ugu leaves making sure they are not starved of water.
Ugu farming in the dry season is not for those that are just learning how to farm ugu it is for professionals.
9. Harvesting Ugu Leaves and Sales
After planting your ugu seeds and it starts growing, there will be a time that it will be obvious you can start harvesting its leaves but just in case you are confused you can start harvesting the ugu leaves 2 weeks after planting. Use scissors to cut the stems that are far away from the roots and stay of stems that are growing flowers if you want the plant to grow the pods.
If you are harvesting your ugu leaves to deliver in bulk always make sure you harvest when you are about to deliver the ugu leaves. This is to make sure leaves stay fresh when delivered to customers.
Ugu farming is a profitable farming in Nigeria. It is a business that can make money for you on a regular basis. It would also make you a millionaire if you can do farming on a big land like a plot or an acre. However, it also depends on how disposable this land is to you as I explained earlier. That’s all on ugu farming.
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