Coconut Farming – Earn millions and a lifetime pension

Coconut farming is the cultivation of coconut trees. Coconut farming is one of the most profitable cash farming venture a farmer can do.  Coconuts, the primary derivative of coconut trees are consumed by almost everybody in the world. Coconut farming in Nigeria is done by farmers in the southern belt of the country. Though, coconut palm trees can grow in both the northern and southern parts of the country.

In my opinion, coconut farming is a venture that can provide LIFE LONG PENSION for any individual in Nigeria. Unlike cash crops like cocoa, cashew and oil palm where you need to spend a lot of money on pesticides to tackle diseases like fungal and pest infestations, coconut trees are very rugged and largely disease and maintenance free. All you need to do is to cultivate your coconut trees on a good farmland and weed frequently for good yield.

Young people, adults, pensioners and virtually anybody can start coconut farming for a life time of income. Most coconut trees last for between 40-80 years. Coconut tree is the tree of life, cultivate it and you can be sure of a lifetime of receiving income.

At Veggie Grow, we assist people to enjoy a lifetime pension by helping with the SET-UP of coconut farms or plantations, sell coconut seedlings to people and advise people on how to invest their funds in coconut farming.

You may contact us through +2348025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng.

coconut farming in nigeria

Economics of coconut farming in Nigeria

I once told one of my clients that about 70-80% of the coconuts consumed in Nigeria are imported from the Republic of Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast. My customer doubted the statistics until he confirmed from three different experts.

The market for coconut in Nigeria is huge unfortunately the local supply can only meet about 20% of the demand. Most of the coconut trees in Nigeria are aged and not producing well again.

If you cultivate 10 hectares of hybrid dwarf coconut trees, you will get about 200,000 coconuts. Each coconut goes for an average price of N80 – N100 in big cities in Nigeria.

A hybrid coconut tree can produce between 80-200 coconuts depending on your irrigation and fertilization practices. One hectare of a coconut farm can have about 200 coconut trees (rain fed). This means that you can harvest about 20,000 coconut trees from one hectare and earn revenue of N1.6 million – N2 million annually for the next 30-60 years depending on the variety plated.

A 10 hectare farmland of hybrid coconut can earn revenue of N16 million – N20 million annually for the next 30-60 years depending on the variety planted.

Revenue (N)
10 Hectares 20 Hectares 30 Hectares 40 hectares 50 Hectares
    16,000,000.00      32,000,000.00   48,000,000.00   64,000,000.00      80,000,000.00

The cost of running a coconut farm is minimal, coconut trees hardly need any pesticides, you only need to buy seedlings, add manure, fertilisers and weed.

The cost of the hybrid dwarf coconut seedlings range from N1,500 – N2,500. You should be very careful when buying coconut seedlings as there are very unscrupulous sellers in Nigeria. For good hybrid seedlings, you can contact us through 08025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng.

To earn more revenue from coconut farming, you can process the coconuts into coconut milk, coconut water, coco coir and coconut oil etc. Coco coir is very pricey and used by vegetable farmers as a sterile medium for planting. 

Some smart coconut farmers can grow grasses and fodders on their coconut farm and keep animals like cow and goats on the farm. The animals will have access to food and also provide manure for the coconut farmer. These animals can be sold for income when they are mature enough.

The urine of cows in particular can be fermented and used as insecticides and folia fertilizer.

Planting vegetables like pepper, watermelon and Ugwu can also provide good income for coconut farmers. These vegetables can be inter planted with the coconut trees when they are still young.

Coconuts and its byproducts can also be exported; this will make the farmer earn foreign exchange. An investor with capital can also set up a coconut refinery where coconut oil, milk, water and other byproducts will be processed and refined.

You can use your coconut farm as pension, plan for the payment of school fees of your children, plan for building a house or acquiring an asset and employment of labour.

coconut plantation

Markets where coconuts can be sold in Nigeria

Coconuts can be sold in all markets in Nigeria. Go to Lagos, Ibadan, Akure, Abuja, Jos, Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Benin, Asaba, Kano, Kaduna and Owerri etc, you will see markets where coconuts are sold.

The biggest markets for coconuts in Nigeria are Lagos and Kano. The people in northern Nigeria consume a lot of coconuts. At some times of the year, over 20 truckloads of coconuts are sold in Kano every day. Lagos state is also a huge market for coconuts. Due to the large population of Lagos State, the demand for coconuts is very high. Most of the Nigerian traders visiting coconut farms in Ghana, Cotonou and Ivory Coast are northerners who import this commodity into Nigeria in huge volume. Coconuts are also hawked by young men and women around cities, towns and villages in Nigeria.

Coconuts can also be exported to other countries of the world. The demand for coconuts is increasing in Europe and Northern America.

Coconuts can also be sold to large supermarkets and other organized premium markets. The derivatives of coconut like coconut milk, coconut oil and coco coir can also be sold in big cities and towns in Nigeria.

Some big companies buy coconuts in bulk for processing into coconut flakes. These companies can use several tonnes of coconuts for processing into flakes every day.

If your farm is large with a substantial volume of coconuts harvest, coconut wholesalers and merchants can visit your farm to bulk buy the coconuts.

Coconut farming for mid aged/old people and pensioners

Coconut farming is a venture any mid-aged person, old people and pensioners can engage in. if you are a young adult, you can start planting coconut trees and you can be sure of securing your life time financially. I was once told of a 75 year old man who started planting coconut at the age of 21 years, today, he has over 200 hectares of coconut and he is financially secured. He sent all his children to schools in the United Kingdom from the proceeds of his coconut farms.

A mid-aged person nearing retirement can also engage in coconut farming to maintain his financially stand during retirement. Coconut farming can be a life-long pension plan if you know what you are doing. I often see new pensioners wasting their gratuity and savings on businesses which cannot stand the test of time.

A pensioner who invests in coconut farming is sure of recouping his investment and earning a life time salary in form of the proceeds from his coconut farm.

Coconut farming as investment for young people

Coconut farming can also be done by young people as investment. Instead of spending your money on entertainment and other social things, why don’t you invest your money on coconut farming and assure your life. Invest in coconut farming in your youthful years and you will never be poor throughout your lifetime.

If you just started your adult life or you just started working as a young person, you can start a coconut farm and secure your life with a life time pension. Your mates will envy you in 3-5 years’ time when you start harvesting and selling your coconuts.

Coconut farming versus cocoa farming

Coconut and cocoa are both cash crops and can provide life-long earnings for farmers. However, there are some differences.

Cocoa trees are affected by a lot of diseases and pests while coconut trees are very rugged. To successfully cultivate cocoa, you will need to get a salad of fungicides and insecticides to treat fungal and insect infestations. The cocoa black pod, a notorious oomycete infection can significantly reduce the yield of cocoa trees and make cocoa farming unprofitable.

Coconut trees are largely maintenance free unlike cocoa trees. You also do not need to sell coconuts to exporters before you earn revenue. In the case of cocoa, a significant percentage of cocoa produced in Nigeria is exported.

Coconuts are also hardly stolen on farms while cocoa trees must be guarded when the pods on them are mature because they are often stolen by thieves.

Coconut farming versus plantain farming

Just like coconut farming, plantain farming can be profitable, however, plantain farming is not as profitable as coconut farming and you may experience glut and low prices if you harvest your plantain at the wrong time of the year.

Once harvested, you need to sell your plantain bunches within a very short time, else they go bad. Coconuts can be stored for a fairly long time without going bad. This is one of the advantages coconut farming has over plantain farming.

Coconut trees are also far more tolerant to pests and diseases than plantain plants.

Coconut farming versus vegetables farming

Yes, you can earn revenue from vegetables farming within months. The profit derivable from vegetables farming can also be very high, higher than most if not all cash and tree crops. However, cultivating vegetables can be very risky. The risks associated with vegetables farming are too numerous.

Vegetables get easily infected with diseases and pests which can wipe them out within days. The stress involved in cultivating vegetables farming is also like 20 times that of coconut farming.

If you are the type that do not like unpleasant surprises, if you are the type that have just limited amount of funds, if you nearing retirement, then coconut farming is far better than vegetables farming for you to have peace of mind.

Climatic and Soil Conditions suitable for Coconut Farming

Coconut trees can do well in all states in Nigeria. Though, in the far northern states like Borno, Sokoto, Kastina, Zamfara, Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa etc, irrigation must be used for coconut farming because of the short rainy season and dry conditions.

Coconut farming can do well without irrigation in southern states in Nigeria. You can cultivate coconut trees using rains in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Rivers, Cross Rivers and Bayelsa etc. Coconut can also be cultivated successfully in Benue, Nasarawa, Abuja, Kaduna, Niger, Kwara and Kogi etc.

Coconut tress do well in tropical climatic conditions and the ideal temperature for coconut trees to do well should not be less than 23 Celsius in the day time.

Coconut plantations can be established in almost all countries in Africa and Southern Asia. They grow well in forest and coastal areas.

coconut farming

Varieties of Coconut Tress that can be planted in Nigeria

Hitherto in Nigeria, the main cultivar of coconut tree planted is the old African variety which takes about 6-9 years to start fruiting and can last for as long as 90 years. This variety is very tall with fewer fruits or coconuts than the hybrid dwarf varieties. Most of the coconut trees used for coconut farming is the open pollinated African variety which is not as productive as the hybrid dwarf variety. I do not advise investors in coconut farming to cultivate this variety.

There are two types of Malaysian Hybrid dwarf coconut varieties sold in Nigeria; Veggie Grow markets some of the best Malaysian Hybrid Dwarf Coconut seedlings in Nigeria. These hybrid varieties start fruiting from 30-40 months and they can have up to 100-200 fruits per tree depending on your agronomic practices. These are the best varieties for any investor in coconut farming in Nigeria.

Steps to take in coconut farming or coconut plantation set-up

Below are some steps to take for a coconut farm to be successful:

Get a good farmland

To start coconut farming, you must get a good farmland. Outright acquisition of farmland is better than leasing because coconut trees can last for between 30-90 years on your farmland, so why lease farmland?

You should ensure that you get farmland with a fertile soil. After soil analysis, if it appears that your soil is not too fertilise, you can amend the soil with manure. If the soil is acidic, you can add lime to your soil. No matter how poor a soil is, it can be improved or remedied.

Recruit good hands

Your coconut farm will need good employees. Depending on the size of the farmland, you may need a farm manager, technicians and labourers. You should employ people based on their hands on experience, never use big paper qualifications as a prerequisite for employing farm managers.

Most farm labourers in Nigeria are immigrants from the Republic of Benin and Togo.

Get good coconut seedlings

There are a lot of poor coconut seedlings being sold to unsuspecting farmers in Nigeria. You should ensure that you get good hybrid coconut seedlings. Veggie Grow can supply you with high yielding hybrid dwarf Malaysian coconut seedlings. Seedlings that are above 6 months old generally do well than very young seedlings.

Farmland preparation for coconut farming or plantation

If your farmland is a virgin forest, you do not need to plough and harrow the soil. Just remove the weeds and other unwanted debris, better if you can return the harvested weeds to the soil as these will serve as manure for the soil.

Dig a hole which is 1 metre in length, 1 metre in breadth and 1 metre in depth, put the coconut seedling in the hole and cover the hole with a mixture of manure and soil.

Spacing in coconut farming

There are basically four types of planting systems used for coconut planting, the farming systems are triangular, square and single and double hedge.

For the dwarf coconut variety, using a low plant density style, you can plant up to 200 seedlings per hectare. For the high density style with the use of irrigation and fertigation equipment, a coconut farmer can plant up to 300-400 seedlings.

Planting Season

Under rain fed condition in Nigeria, farmers start planting their coconut seedlings at the onset of the rainy season. In southern Nigeria, coconut seedlings can be planted as from April/May while in the northern region of Nigeria, coconut seedlings can be planted from May/June.

With irrigation, coconut seedlings can be planted at any time of the year.

How to plant coconut seedlings

To plant your coconut seedlings, you dig a pit with dimension 1m by 1m by 1m, you add top soil and manure to the pit or after putting the coconut seedling in the pit, you cover the pit with well cured manure and a bit of top soil.

Nematicides may be added to the pit to address the issue of nematodes and other soil borne pests. Coconut husks can also be added to the pit to help in moisture retention which is very beneficial to coconut seedlings.

Microbial innoculants and humates can also do wonders when planting coconut seedlings. The microbial innoculants will introduce beneficial microbes to the pit which can help in pest and diseases prevention and mobilization and assimilation of nutrients.

During the very hot months of the year, irrigation may be used to supply water to the seedlings. Coconut farms with drip irrigation generally do well than those relying on only rainfall. In a location with high level of wind, the transplanted seedlings can be staked to guard against uprooting.

Coconut husks are fantastic materials that can be used when planting coconut seedlings. Coconut husks can be buried in the pit to be used by coconut seedlings for water conservation and retention and for the build-up of beneficial microbes. The coconut husks can also be used as a soil improver as it will breakdown later and make the soil richer.

Coconut husks when buried can have positive effects lasting for 4-8 years. It can also help coconut trees to withstand the hot and dry months of the year especially in the northern part of Nigeria.

Coconut seedlings can also improve aeration. It allows for enough oxygen to sip into the soil which can inhibit the growth of some types of harmful microbes and diseases. It is easy and cheap to get coconut husks in Nigeria. A lot of farmers in Nigeria do not know the value and benefits of coconut husks. You can also get them at almost free of charge in open markets in Nigeria.

Fertilisation

Manure is very important in coconut farming; 10-50kg of manure should be added per coconut tree in the first year of planting. Chicken manure or cow manure can be used. Farmyard manure and other types of manure can also be used. Chicken manure may have cutworms so it’s better it is well cured before use.

Single Super Phosphate (SSP), NPK 15:15:15, Diammmonium Phosphate (DAP), Muriate of Potash (MOP). All the fertilisers should be mixed with humates (potassium humate like King Humus) during application.

In the first three months of planting, 60-85 grams of SSP, and 40 grams of NPK 15:15:15 should be added to the coconut tree. At the end of the 1st year, two-three times of the initial application of fertilisers should be applied to the coconut trees through ring side dressing method. These fertilisers are advised to be buried.

Fertilisers should be added in the second and the third year up till harvest. Calcium fertilisers like CALMAG, agrilime and dolomite can improve the strength of the tissues of the coconut trees; this can go a long way in disease prevention.

For drip irrigated coconut farms, fertilisers should be applied with the use of venture injectors or dosing pumps.

For fertilization schedule for your coconut farm, you may want to contact us on 08025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng

Weeding

Weeds can reduce the yield of your coconut trees. Weeding can be done by tractors and other motorized equipment. Weeding can also be done by human labour if the farmland is not too big, this may be inefficient though.

Herbicides can also be used for weed prevention. Depending on the size of the farmland, herbicides can be applied using knapsack sprayers, motorized sprayers, drones and boom sprayers etc. Weeds harbor pests and diseases; hence, they should be addressed frequently.

Coconut farming and irrigation

Coconut trees are well adapted to artificial supply of water through irrigation. The two main types of irrigation used for coconut farming in Nigeria are drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation.

Sprinkler irrigation sprays water around the farm. It uses a lot of water and encourages the growth of weeds. It can also increase the chances of fungal attacks on the coconut trees.

Drip irrigation is the most appropriate type of irrigation for coconut trees.  Drip irrigation is the use of tube like hoses with emitters to pass water to the base of plants. Drip irrigation is water, energy and labour efficient than other types of irrigation. Drip irrigation can also be used to efficiently pass nutrients to the base of coconut trees. Fertigation is more effective in coconut farming than side dressing or broadcasting of fertilisers.

In Nigeria, especially in the hot northern region, drip irrigation can be used for the application of water to coconut trees. Even, in the hot months in the southern part of Nigeria, drip irrigation can be used in coconut plantations.

Drip irrigated coconut trees can yield 50-100% more than coconut trees that solely depend on rain fed water supply.

Planting other crops in coconut farming

You can plant vegetables like watermelon, Ugwu, Okra, pepper and ewedu etc. in between the rows of your coconut trees. These crops can provide some revenue for you whilst you wait for the first harvest of your coconut trees.

I have seen a number of coconut farmers who make decent income from inter-planting leafy vegetables like Ugwu, soko, tete and lettuce on their coconut farms.

Leguminous crops inter-planted with your coconut trees can be beneficial as they can assist in the fixing of nitrogen which can be used by the coconut trees. The leguminous crops can also be ploughed into the soil to make the soil richer.

You should ensure that any crop you plant does not negatively impact the coconut trees. You can also plant grasses and fodders to sustain cows and goats on your coconut farm. These animals can be sold for money; their poo can also be used as manure for your coconut plantation.

What can be derived from coconut farming?

A lot of products can be derived from the coconut tree.

The coconut fruit can be used as food for human and animal. The coconut fruit is very delicious and can be refreshing to the body.

Coconut water can also be used as a rehydrating drink. It is very rich in lot vitamins and beneficial to the human body.

Coconut milk can be extracted from coconut. Coconut milk can be consumed by human and it’s very nutritious. The coconut milk can also be used as a hair conditioner; it soothes and improves the texture of human hair. In some countries of the world, coconut milk can be used as thickener for soups.

Coconut flour can also be derived from coconut. Coconut flour is used in baking and can be used in the preparation of some types of food.

Coconut oil is more expensive than crude oil (per litre basis). Coconut oil is used for cooking, skin lotions and for hair conditioners.

Coconut husks can be used as soil conditioner and water retention agent. Coco coir used in vegetables farming can also be derived from coconut. Coco coir is highly sought after by vegetable farmers.

Coconut husk can also be used for making ropes. Husks can be used for the generation of power or electricity.

Coconut leaves can be used in building thatch houses. In Nigeria, brooms can be made from coconut leaves.

Pitfalls in coconut farming in Nigeria

Purchase of poor seedlings: This can spell disaster for your hope of making money from coconut farming. You should endeavor that you buy quality hybrid dwarf coconut seedlings from reputable companies. Veggie Grow sells quality seedlings and all agro inputs needed for your coconut farming venture.

Acquiring farmland from sources that are not genuine: It is advisable that you cultivate coconut on farmland you have outrightly acquired. Do not cultivate coconuts on leased farmland. Also, make sure that the seller of the farmland is the true owner of the land to forestall reclamation of the farmland in future.

Never neglect manure: I have seen a lot of coconut farmers that never applied manure to their farmland when cultivating coconuts. Manure can increase the yield of your coconut farmland significantly. It can also strengthen the coconut trees so that they will be able to fight pests and diseases effectively and efficiently.

Buy quality fertilisers and pesticides: A lot of the fertilisers and pesticides sold in Nigeria are sub-standard even those from some big companies. You should be extremely careful and meticulous when buying fertilisers and pesticides in Nigeria. Application of fertilisers and pesticides can make or mar your coconut plantation.

Never forsake humates and microbials: Humates can improve the condition of the plants and the soil, they can make the soil richer and also make the coconut trees be able to withstand stress, pests and diseases. Microbials can act as a defense against diseases and pests. Some microbial innoculants can inoculate the soil and the coconut trees with beneficial microbes that will be antagonistic to the harmful microbes.

Plant when there is adequate water: Never plant coconut seedlings when you are not sure of adequate water. Coconut seedlings should be planted when there is enough rainfall, if no rainfall, irrigation especially drip irrigation can be used. Water is very important for coconut trees just like other plants. Without adequate water supply, the coconut trees may have a low yield, they may also die off.

Consult experts: If need be, please consult experts, do not solely rely on what you read from the internet or what you hear from fellow farmers.

Farming the old way: You must do soil test and water analysis before you plant your coconut seedlings. This will enable an agronomist to design an agronomic/fertilization plan for you. Precision farming removes guess work and makes the whole process of farming scientific. You can also use brix meter, pH meter and temperature sensor to check the health of the coconut trees.

Some pests and diseases that can affect coconut trees

Rhinoceros Beetle, mealy bug, palm weevil, caterpillar, grubs, nematodes, whiteflies and rats etc, these can be controlled with the use of good insecticides, nematicides and rodenticides.

Diseases that can affect coconut trees include stem bleeding, wilt diseases, root rot, leaf rot and bud rot. The fungal diseases can be prevented or cured with the use of good fungicides while the bacterial infections can be tackled with bactericides. Some types of fertilisers like calcium nitrate and calmag can reduce the incidences of pests and diseases. Excessive usage of nitrogenous fertilisers can increase the incidences of pests and diseases.

For complete coconut farming venture advisory or farm set-up in Nigeria, please contact us through +2348025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng.

Ayo Akinfolarin
 

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