Maize Cultivation In Nigeria: What You Need To Know Before You Venture Into Maize Cultivation

Maize farming is profitable in Nigeria, in some markets, a 100KG bag usually trades between N10,000 to N13,000. It means, you can easily make a million Naira within 110 days of planting maize.

see it: You need 100 bags to make N1.3Million. Agriculture is a money business, but hey… Do not be carried away with my figures, let me teach you the A-Z of maize cultivation first, then you harvest the millions.

Let me share my personal understanding with you as a farmer, it will help you think and view agriculture with different perspective. Read below,

I always remember this each time I think about “Maize Production” and isn’t a funny story. It was in 2017, my target was to venture into commercial maize production because my Dad has hectares of arable land that was under-used for more than 20 years.

 

The soil was suitable for maize production because we tried planting a few seeds on the piece of land around 2015 and the outcome was massive. I did a careful market survey and discover that maize is one hot product in agriculture due to its multiple uses.

 

With the profitability of the business, I did my planting/harvesting mathematics and my possible returns ran into millions of Naira. The excitement of becoming a millionaire for cultivating maize push me into a thick forest in my village.

 

It was on a Saturday morning, but I can’t remember the exact month till I check my records, the sun of very hot but I ignored it, I was working under the sun, trying to map out farm size I could use for my maize production.

 

While I was busy cutting down shrubs, my Dad came to the farm, and his question discouraged/killed my dream of becoming a maize millionaire.

If You Cultivate This Maize, Who Will Buy From You?

 

He went further with additional words; “This land is very fertile, it hasn’t been touched for the past 20 years, maize will do well here. But who will buy your harvest?“. You know human we hate “Hard Truth”, it usually gwan our heart inside.

 

Don’t mind me, I was younger then and I never knew the business of Agriculture, my paper figures of becoming a millionaire won’t allow me to think straight. My Dad was only asking me, “Do you have a market for maize grains after harvest?” And I couldn’t answer the question with a straight face.

 

I knew that maize is a high demand commodity in some states of the federation, but not in my State(Benue) of residence. And I couldn’t confidently identify a market outside my state. Therefore, maize cultivation been a lucrative crop for some farmers was a colossal waste of resources for me due to my location.

 

I left the farm feeling bad because my Dad lectured me what I supposed to know before embarking on commercial maize production. My dream of investing N150,000 and becoming a millionaire in less than 6 months was killed silently.

 

Now, let’s get back to the business of the day which “Maize Cultivation In Nigeria” and its Profitability. But first, you MUST answer this question with a straight face, if you can’t, then this article is not and wasn’t written for you.

 

Question: Do you have a sure market for maize grains after harvest?

If your answer is a profound “YES” then, congratulations… You can read this article, I guarantee you of making millions of Naira if you cultivate maize on a commercial scale.

 

Below are a few things you should look out to,

 

Availability Of Farmland

Access to farmland is a challenge to some potential young farmers in Nigeria and Africa at large, but I want you to know that Africa currently has the largest arable land in the world. According to records available, over 60% of land in Africa is said to arable for crops production, so if you are interested in maize cultivation, go out and source for suitable land/soil.

 

The best soil recommendable for maize cultivation is loamy or sandy soil and it must be properly drained.

 

Most Nigerian farmers depend solely on rain to be able to carry out farming activities, so if you will be depending on rains, then is advisable to prepare your farmland early March/April so you can start planting immediately it starts raining.

Early maize planting season start between March and April.

And late planting seasons is between May and June.

 

If you have the financial strength and the needed knowledge, I will advise you to focus on dry season cultivation of maize only because it is more profitable. When it is dry seasons, most rural farmers embark on indefinite strike pending for return of rains, but the demand for fresh maize never seized.

 

Variety Of Maize Seed

Recently, numerous varieties/breeds of maize seeds have been introduced by foreign companies into Nigeria. I cannot say which variety of maize is the best for you because so many factors are to be taken into consideration before such a declaration will be made publicly.

 

Your soil type(loamy or sandy) might differ from that farmer in Kaduna, therefore, the seed needed would be different too. So I advise you to seek the advice of an existing farmer so you can access the tested and trusted variety.

 

I have witness situations where a variety of maize seed said to the best/hybrid failed in quantity of  yield produced.

 

Security For Your Farm

Now, before you choose your farm site, it should free from thieves and other human attacks. Also, make sure it is not exposed to herdsmen because all your investment will be wasted if their livestock gains access to your maize farm.

 

Cost Of Production

Sit down with a pen and paper and calculate the financial implication of cultivating 1, 2, 3, or 100 hectares before you start. A lot of people make this mistake and it is bad because they stop at the middle of the project, when it is time for fertilizer application they don’t have money to purchase the need brand and quantity.

With your pen and paper, note the following down

  • What variety of maize to plant?
  • Do I have farmland or I will rent one for this project?
  • How many hectares do I need and what is the cost?
  • What is the cost of tilling this plot of farmland?
  • I will be using tractors or human labour?
  • What type of fertilizer is needed and how much is the cost?
  • Where is my market? and how much can they pay per bag of maize grains?

If you can answer those questions correctly in monetary value, an informed decision will be made.

 

 

STEPS INVOLVE IN MAIZE PLANTING
Not all maize seeds are the same; there are differences in yield, maturity, standability, disease tolerance, drought tolerance, grain quality and adaptability. We have Open Pollinated Varieties and Hybrid bred for high yield potential, uniform maturity and disease tolerance.
PLANTING KEY FACTS
Land Preparation: Preparing your land the right way is important for good crop emergence, establishment and development. If soil moisture is too high at tillage, large clods will develop and making sowing and seed emergence difficult.
Seed Bed Preparation
  • Ensure the soil is loose and friable
  • Ensure seedbed is weed-free
  • Ensure adequate moisture is available about 5CM below the ground before planting
Good planting simply means stronger growth, therefore, it is important to plan the right way to help maximize your yield potential. And key factors that lead to maximum yield are listed below,
  • Correct planting depth
  • Optimized planting populations
  • Application of fertilizers at the right time and the correct amount.
Planting Depth
The speed of germination and uniformity of plant emergence depends on your planting depth, soil temperature and moisture. Irregular planting depth can also cause uneven emergence and varying plant height, both of which reduce yield. 4-5cm planting depth is recommended because ideal nodal roots are developed, good plants emergence, and further lead to higher yield.
Planting Population
If you are planting hybrid maize seeds which have high yield potential because of greater yield stability over a wider range of environments, superior stalk strength and standability, and better tolerance to competitive stress at high plant densities.
Therefore, row widths of about 75cm are recommended to ensure that sunlight falls after crop development on the plants and o the bare soil. After canopy closure weed emergence and growth are reduced and evaporation of soil moisture is minimized.
For hybrid seeds, 25cm apart each hole, and 1 maize seed per hole. Open Pollinated seed, 2 seeds per hole and 25cm apart.
Note: Your maize seeds will start proper germination after seven days of planting, so you are advised to check/monitor all the holes for replanting decision if the germination emergence is lower than 80 per cent. It might be that rodents, birds, and some harmful insects may have damaged germinated seedlings or eaten seeds.
Planting Density: To achieve high potential yield, the standard maize plant per hectare should be around 40,000 to 60,000.
FERTILIZATION KEY FACTS
Fertilization should be done same days as planting and the right method of application is to bury it in the soil 5-7cm away from the seeds because placement too close will burn the seeds, and placement too far will not reach the seedling.
Why apply fertilizer the same day? Because early fertilization will hence vegetative growth (root, stems, and leaves) and reproductive organ development later in the season.
WEED CONTROL KEY FACTS: The types of weed you are going to see in your maize farm differs and as such, the method of it control will be considered under the following,
  • The weed species
  • The crop growth stage
  • The number of weeds present in the maize
  • The degree of water and nutrients stress.

Image: Tsekohol Denison in Maize farm

 

When you experience weed attack in your maize farm, contact an agrochemical dealer for the best herbicide that will use for weed control.

Finally, don’t invest your money in maize cultivation yet; this is business, therefore you should be able to identify a market before production.

For hybrid Maize seeds, call/WhatsApp Denison on +2348107796686

 

Written by Denison

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Crononavirus Update: Food Rioting Increases In Nigeria As Government Extend Total Lockdown In The Country To 14 More Days

Business Opportunities For Agricultural University Graduates In Nigeria