Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Nov 17, 2019 12:12:02 GMT 1
With the situation in the country in recent times, people are encouraged to farm. Tiger nut is one good crop for commercial farming. Nothing or little was known about them until recent researches found out that they have high level of nutritional values and several health benefits. This has led to tiger nut being increasingly in demand.
Many now prefer tiger nut drinks to other food drinks. It is also gaining popularity in the Western world. So it is a crop that can be grown for export. Many supermarkets in Europe and USA now have tiger nuts in their shelf.
Tiger nut is cultivated mainly for edible nuts, aesthetics and commercial purposes. Its farming has several value chains. Tiger nut business is sustainable, once you have established the farm, all that is required from you is to maintain it, and you make money from it yearly. Other upcoming tiger nut farmers can purchase the plant from you.
The botanical name for tiger nut is Cyperus esculentus. It is both an annual and perennial plant. Tiger nuts are not actually nuts, but tubers. Although, they share some same characteristics with tubers and nuts as well.
Systems of growing Tiger nut
Tiger nut farming can be done in the Urban center with containers. And it can be grown successfully both in the Northern and Southern regions. Very few persons are into commercial tiger nut farming so you have less competitors to deal with if you start today.
Tiger nut farming is a very lucrative business that is self sustaining. It is a business one can invest money into and go back to sleep without fear of losing money as the crop hardly dies. Even if it is only the rhizome that is left, it will germinate to spread beyond borders.
In Nigeria they are mostly cultivated in the Northern part of the country for commercial purposes. Because of the high demand, its demand far outweighs its supply.
Starting Your Tiger nut Farm
You can start by cultivating tiger nut on a small scale until after establishing success you can then go ahead to plant them in a larger scale. Also you can plant tiger nuts for personal use. They require low care and can be planted in a container. Now that Government is seriously laying emphasis on farming, tiger nut farming should not be left to the North alone, you can succeed at growing the crop anywhere.
Below are step by step guide on growing tiger nut.
Tiger nut is a plant that the roots penetrate up to 30-60cm so it will be wise to make the tilling deep to allow for easy penetration of the roots. Use tractor to till the land if you are doing large scale tiger nut farming like a hectare. You can prepare bed or plant them on a flat soil, when preparing bed, you have to create channels for erosion control. The nuts can survive adverse conditions such as drought, flooding and heat. They require a soil PH of 5.0-7.0.
Tiger nuts plant can grow in any soil type but for good performance use a moist sandy soil rich in organic matter. Do not plant them in a waterlogged soil or apply water that is salty, they can’t stand it.
Plant them manually 6-8cm into the soil and 15-29cm spacing between seeds. The planting period is during raining season April-May. You can plant through seed or through rhizomes. Rhizomes are the creeping part of the plant just by the root. Their leaves are slender and their stem triangular in nature. The leaves are 3-10mm; they appear in two colours; green and golden brown.
Tubers start forming (developing) after 6 weeks -2 months after seedlings sprouting. They grow very vigorous 4-5 months after planting (July- August). The nuts or tubers mature between 3-4 months.
Tiger nut can be planted in containers. Mix equal amount of soil and manure together and fill the container. Plant them one seed per container and Keep in a warm environment. Weeding and harvesting can be easily done in containers.
Irrigation in Tiger nut farming
Tiger nut is a plant and as such will require adequate amount of water to do well. Irrigation should be done in tiger nut farming weekly until the crops are harvested especially when there is shortage of rain or during period of intense drought.
You can dig borehole for it if you are doing commercial tiger nut farming or dig a well and then use drip irrigation for quality result.
Weed The Farm Regularly
Stubborn weeds can affect the growth rate of your farm or slow it down. That is why you shouldn’t allow weed at all in the farm. Tiger nut is not like other plants to allow weed until you are ready to remove them. For weeding to be effective try to identify and remove them early before it becomes difficult to deal with.
Since it is the tubers that is the subject of interest, manure that has much nitrogen should be avoided especially when the nuts start forming. Nitrogen can prevent the forming of seeds while encouraging foliage performance. Low temperature, light intensity can inhibit flowering tiger nut plants. Whatever treatment that is given to other plants to achieve success should be applied in tiger nut farming.
When the leaves appear withered or trampled (scorched), then the tiger nut is ready for harvest. Tiger nuts are harvested after 8 months between November-December depending on which month they were planted either April or May. The plant is very hard and well established in the soil, so it will be difficult to do manual (hand) harvesting so the use of combine harvester (machine) is very necessary. The machine harvests the plants by pulling them out of the soil, you can then use your hand to remove the seeds from the plant. The seeds are attached to the roots and rhizomes.
Wash them immediately after harvest in other to remove sands and small stones from them. Tiger nuts can produce hundreds to thousands of seeds (up to 2400 seeds) per plant. Average yield is between 10-19 tonnes per hectare of tiger nut farm.
Drying tiger nut takes up to 3 months and is done with the use of the sun for now. Put them in an open place where sun can hit them very well and keep turning them every day in other to achieve uniform dryness. Tiger nut will have a long shelf life if they are well dried. This will also help in preventing rot or other bacterial infections. Drying make the nuts wrinkle, shrink and hard. They can be revived back by soaking them in water before use.