Today watermelon is the world’s third most popular crop – the two top crops are potato and tomato. With this kind of popularity, it’s surprising that watermelon farming in Nigeria is not as common as it should be.
Given that Africa is where watermelons originated, farming watermelons is the most natural and easiest thing you can do if you want to join the farming industry. Let our watermelon farming guide help you start your own successful business.
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1. Why watermelon farming?
Watermelon production in Nigeria has a number of advantages over not only other industries but also over other farming branches. The main reasons to go into watermelon farming include:
- Huge selling opportunities: if you choose to farm watermelons, you will never struggle with selling them, as watermelons are highly valued by Nigerians for their taste and health benefits.
- Easy start: there is no complex preparation needed to start a watermelon business, and it’s the ideal industry for beginners with no farming experience.
- No pests and diseases: watermelons are famously resistant to the most common pests and diseases, which means you can save time and money on protecting them.
- High turnover: a watermelon takes just up to 3 months to go from planting to harvesting, which means you can have several watermelon crops every year.
2. How to grow watermelon in Nigeria
Even though watermelon farming is a relatively easy business to join, there is still some preparation required for the business to achieve maximum success. Before becoming a watermelon farmer, take care of the following:
- Acquire a large land plot. Watermelon is a type of product that requires a lot of space, especially when your watermelon vines expand and deliver larger fruits, which is why ample land size is crucial for successful farming.
- Make sure there is enough sunlight. Watermelon is a plant that directly depends on sunlight for growth and development, so when you’re shopping for land, choose a location that is sunlit all year long.
- Buy high-quality seedling. The type and quality of seeds you buy and the plant has a huge impact on the outcome of your venture. The most popular watermelon species in Nigeria include Crimson sweet, Jubilee, Sugar baby, and Charleston gray.
3. Watermelon farming: a business plan
A business plan is the cornerstone of any enterprise and is indispensable if you want your new business to succeed instead of failing. Watermelon production is no exception. A typical watermelon farm business plan includes the following steps:
- Secure the land and seedling using the tips we mentioned above.
- Plant your watermelon seeds. In this step, it’s very important to follow the planting season for watermelon in Nigeria, so that your farming business could get a good start. The ideal time to plant watermelons depends on the area in Nigeria you live in: in Southern Nigeria watermelons can be planted in March, June, July, and September, while in Northern Nigeria it’s best to plant watermelons in May and July. Remember an important rule of how to plant watermelon: don’t plant the seeds during and right after heavy rains.
- Water your plants twice a week until the vines start sprouting out, and then reduce the watering to once in every two weeks. Moreover, inspect the soil for weeds regularly and pluck them out before they further grow out.
- Harvest the watermelons. To make sure your watermelons are ready to be harvested, don’t just pay attention to the 3-month growing period, as it may turn out that due to weather conditions or other factors they may take longer to reach full maturity. That is why you also need to make sure that the watermelons become less shiny and that the bottom part that contacts the ground has turned yellow.
- Sell your harvest. Depending on the size of your farm and your business goals, you have several ways of selling the watermelons. The most common way is selling them to grocery store owners and market sellers. You can also find a wholesale watermelon buyer and sell your harvest in bulk.
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