Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Aug 2, 2021 18:22:39 GMT 1
Sweet Potato: How To Start The Production For Export And Local Consumption – Part 1
Most people in the country know sweet potatoes, but unlike regular potatoes that are tubers, sweet potatoes are considered to be root vegetables.
Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is an herbaceous, warm weather creeping plant that belongs to the family of convolvulaceae and genus Ipomoea.
It grows best at temperatures between 24 – 28 degrees centigrade with annual rainfall of between 1, 000 and 7, 000 mm.
Potatoes in general have their origins in Southern America. But they are grown in all most all parts of the world now, with China being the largest producer in the world.
Both sweet and regular potatoes grow under the soil, but very different when it comes to taste, density and nutritional values.
The demand for sweet potato is increasing daily in Nigeria as the prices of other types of food like garri, yam, and rice are getting out of the reach of the common man. Sweet potato is more affordable for Nigerians in this difficult period facing the country.
The market of sweet potato is huge; this product can easily be converted into flour, chips, crisps and other varieties of snacks.
Nigeria is the largest producer of sweet potato in Africa, and also ranks among world’s largest producers of the commodity.
The annual production of sweet potato in Nigeria is 3.46 million metric tonnes as at 2019 reports
You should also know that sweet potato is an excellent source of starch, and increasing its production in Nigeria will go a long way in bridging the yawning gap in starch production in the country.
States that grow sweet potato in Nigeria:
Sweet potato is grown in the following states in Nigeria:
However, some other states cultivate the product but in smaller quantities.
Reasons why you should start sweet potato farming today:
The farming is very easy to manage because it is a creeping crop, and it has the capability of suppressing unwanted weed growth
The crop is a low risk crop
Sweet potato matures very fast, between 3-4 months
The business is highly profitable to engage into
You can get more than 100 tubers from one stand
It is not expensive to set up a sweet potato plantation
Sweet potatoes require adequate access to sunlight; it means you can grow them in any open area.
They can be grown in almost any type of soil, with the exception of soils with high level of alkaline and slime.
As is good with many types of agricultural commodities in Nigeria, sweet potatoes perform well in loamy and sandy soils that are rich in organic matter.
The reason for this is simple, loamy and sandy soils are loose and naturally will allow the roots to penetrate into the soil easily.
Factors to be considered when choosing the best sweet potato variety to cultivate:
In this day and age, you cannot just go into planting any type of crop or cultivating any type of commodity without knowing the best variety to choose. You must take the following into consideration before making a choice of the variety to plant.
You must consider the disease resistance level of the variety before making your final choice. Diseases are vital issues to consider as they can make or sabotage your entire business.
All the varieties don’t mature at the same time; therefore you must consider the time it takes a particular specie or variety to mature.
You must also take into consideration the yield of the variety you are choosing. Different species have different yield levels; therefore it is important you put that into consideration.
The following are some of the hybrid varieties of sweet potato used in Nigeria to get the best yield. There are many others used all over the world but these few are the commonest varieties in Nigeria.
NSRP/05/2D: This variety produces a very high yield due to their numerous branching and highest tuber yield weight
Olokuta: This variety has the best dry matter weight of all the varieties; this means that it can best be used for processing into sweet potato flour.
You have to stay with us because this is the beginning of a very interesting series of articles that will cover all aspects of sweet potato farming, processing, exporting and other business aspects of this wonderful commodity in Nigeria.