Greenhouse Farming in Nigeria – Buy a Greenhouse Now.
Greenhouse farming is a type of farming in which crops are cultivated under protected and enclosed environment. Greenhouse farming is becoming very popular in Nigeria because of its advantages of keeping out pests and diseases and its comparable yield advantage to open filed cultivation of crops.
Greenhouse farming also enables farmers to cultivate crops which they would ordinarily be unable to cultivate because of the climatic or weather condition in their locations. In greenhouse farming, humidity and temperature can be controlled. It is also possible to control the amount of water passed to crops in greenhouse farming.
Greenhouse farming can also be practised in animal husbandry. Some farmers keep their animals in a greenhouse while some cultivate fodders in a greenhouse.
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What is a greenhouse?
A greenhouse is an enclosed structure or environment where crops are grown. A greenhouse protects crops from pests, diseases and adverse climatic conditions. For example, a greenhouse can be used to cultivate tropical crops like pepper and tomato in a cold country like Canada and Netherland.
A greenhouse can also be used to cultivate temperate crops like blueberry in a tropical country like Nigeria. All the greenhouse needs is for the owner to install cold producing atmosphere control mechanism in the greenhouse.
A greenhouse can also have temperature and humidity control. Some crops do not like too much humidity, in areas with high humidity; a greenhouse can be used to cultivate crops that do not grow well in highly humid environments.
The word greenhouse is often used interchangeably with poly tunnel. However, it should be noted that a greenhouse is slightly different from a poly tunnel.
Components of a greenhouse
A greenhouse has some components, it should be noted that greenhouses vary, some have components the others do not have. The components of a greenhouse are explained as follows:
Iron rods or pipes
Most greenhouses are built with galvanized iron or steep pipes. These pipes are used to construct the frame of the greenhouse. Without the pipes, the greenhouses cannot be constructed. However, some people construct their greenhouses with wood or PVC pipe.
The greenhouse cover is the plastic or glass used in covering the greenhouse structure. The greenhouse cover protects the greenhouse from the elements of the weather. The plastic or glass used as a cover for a greenhouse should typically has a light penetration rate of between 80%-96%.
Most greenhouses if not all have drip irrigation facilities. Drip irrigation is a type of water efficient irrigation that allows water to drip or trickle to the roots of plants. With drip irrigation, farmers can be able to do fertigation.
Some greenhouses have misting equipment used for misting when humidity is low. Misting is done to provide humidity for crops during times of low humidity. Low humidity can be harmful to some crops.
Carbon IV Oxide Gas Chamber
All plants need carbon dioxide or carbon IV oxide for photosynthesis. To fast track the growth of plants in greenhouses and to ensure that the crops have a good yield. Some greenhouses have carbon IV oxide gas chamber.
Plastic mulch is used to cover the soil in order to prevent weeds and alter the temperature of the soil. Some greenhouses have plastic mulches which are used to guard against weeds.
Grow bags are plastic bags that are used for planting crops. Instead of a farmer to plant directly on the soil, he can decide to plant in grow bags. Soilless medium like coco peat can be stuffed in the grow bags to serve as a planting medium.
Soil, coco peat and rock wool etc. can be used as planting media in a greenhouse. Some greenhouses run 100% on water, this type of greenhouse are called hydroponic greenhouses.
Some farmers introduce bees into their greenhouses while some use artificial pollinators to pollinate their crops because the enclosed structure does not allow bees to have access to the crops in their greenhouses.
Climate controlled equipment
Highly sophisticated greenhouses often have the ability to adjust to the best temperature and humidity suitable for the crops grown in them. This climate controlled equipment is a key component of some types of greenhouses.
Types of greenhouse in Nigeria
Below are some types of greenhouses:
Plastic Greenhouse: This type of greenhouse is built with plastic sheet. It is the most common type of greenhouse in Nigeria. The plastic sheet prevents elements of the weather to affect the crops in the greenhouse.
Glass Greenhouse: This type of greenhouse is covered with glass. It is common in the Netherlands and other temperate countries.
Dome Shaped Greenhouse: This type of greenhouse has a dome shape. The shape makes it appropriate for some regions.
How to construct a greenhouse in Nigeria
It is always better to ask an expert like Veggie Grow to construct your greenhouse for you; however, if you want to construct your greenhouse yourself, you can use either galvanized steel pipes or planks (wood).
At Veggie Grow, we use professional welding technicians to construct greenhouses. Some of our technicians are trained in the UK, India and China.
Over the years, we have seen that most farmers who build their greenhouses themselves often abandon the greenhouses after a few months because of the poor construction work they do.
We employ skilled engineers who use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to design the shape and look of the greenhouse according to the location you are in Nigeria. Greenhouses built for those in the northern part of Nigeria is different from the one built for those in the southern part of Nigeria because of the difference in the level of temperature and humidity.
How to set-up a greenhouse
We recently met a farmer who asked us the question “How to set-up a greenhouse”. Setting up a greenhouse involves some steps; the steps will be explained in details later in this note.
You should be ready to commit some funds; you should have a good location, access to water and access to good markets before you set out to set up a greenhouse.
Greenhouse can be set up anywhere in Nigeria, however, the skills to set up a full greenhouse are lacking in Nigeria. Only few companies in Nigeria have the right skills to help farmers set up their greenhouses.
Crops that can be grown in greenhouses in Nigeria
The following are the crops that can be grown in a greenhouse:
Tomato: Tomato is the most popular crop grown in greenhouses worldwide. In Nigeria, greenhouse grown tomatoes command better prices than open field grown tomatoes because of their high quality. It is not uncommon for greenhouse farmers to sell their tomatoes for N400 per kg. Most of the greenhouse grown tomatoes in Nigeria are sold in the organized markets (hotels and retail malls. Tomato greenhouse farming can be lucrative.
Sweet Pepper: Just like tomatoes, sweet pepper be it green, red or yellow grows very well under greenhouse conditions. Greenhouse grown sweet peppers are sold at premium rates in the market in Nigeria.
Cucumber: Nigerians love cucumbers, cucumber farming is called farmers’ ATM in Nigeria because of the popularity and profitability of this crop in Nigeria. Cucumbers can be grown in greenhouses. The popular types of cucumbers grown in greenhouses in Nigeria are slicing cucumbers, pickles cucumbers and English cucumbers etc.
Other crops that can be grown in greenhouses in Nigeria include:
- Egg plants
- Sweet corn
- Chinese cabbage
- Habenero peppers etc.
Greenhouses can also be used for nursery of vegetable and tree crops.
Steps to take to start greenhouse farming
- Get a good site: It is important to get a good site for your greenhouse. Some people prefer having their greenhouses in urban areas in Nigeria like Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Kano, Port Harcourt or Owerri etc where they will be easily accessible to premium customers. Some people also prefer to site their greenhouses in rural areas.
- Check the soil and water: If you prefer to grown directly on the soil, you must check the soil for bacteria wilt pathogen and other pests and diseases. If the soil is heavily infected, you will need to solarize the soil. Also, you should be sure that there is enough water for growing.
- Construct the greenhouse: It is better you get experts to help you construct your greenhouses; you can also buy pre-fabricated greenhouses.
- Veggie Grow constructs and sells pre-fabricated greenhouses, you can contact them on 08025141924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Engage skilled hands: Operating a greenhouse is different from farming on an open field. You need to get skilled hands or you get yourself trained on how to successfully grow crops in a greenhouse.
- Operate the greenhouse: After engaging the greenhouse, you should know how to operate the greenhouse and take care of the crops therein throughout the term of the crops. Veggie Grow will provide a manual to all its customers on how to grow crops in a greenhouse.
- Marketing: It is always better to seek for a market or markets before you start growing any crop. The market for greenhouse produce in Nigeria is huge; you just need to do the leg work.
Cost of greenhouse farming in Nigeria
Getting a good greenhouse is not cheap; do not let anybody deceive you by telling you that you can get a good greenhouse for a ridiculous price. Most people who had a bad experience in greenhouse farming in Nigeria went for ridiculously low priced greenhouses.
The cost of a 240 square standard greenhouse in Nigeria goes for between ₦2 million to ₦2.5 million. However, at Veggie Grow, we can supply a greenhouse of 240 square meters to you at far below ₦2 million. We will also guide you on how you can make good money from the greenhouse.
Depending on the size of greenhouse you want, we can construct to fit your budget, however, if your budget is too low, we will not be able to compromise quality just to satisfy you.
We construct greenhouses and also sell pre-fabricated greenhouses.
Revenue Analysis of greenhouse farming
Let’s take indeterminate tomatoes grown in a small greenhouse for example.
A single indeterminate tomato plant can yield up to 30kg, some can yield lower though.
If 1,000 indeterminate tomato plants are planted in a greenhouse, about 30,000 kg is the maximum yield that will be gotten from the greenhouse.
In Nigeria, the conventional famer gets as low as 3,000kg of tomatoes per acre of tomato, this means that the yield of a small greenhouse can equal the yield of 10 acres of tomatoes farmland.
This analysis shows that a greenhouse can be very profitable with a high ROI.
You also need to know that your greenhouse can also make a massive loss if you do not know how to cultivate crops in a greenhouse.
Advantages of greenhouse farming
- A greenhouse needs a small size of land, despite this; it can yield far more than open field cultivation. A small sized greenhouse standing on one eight of a plot of land can have a yield commensurate with an open field farm on 1 acre of farmland.
- The greenhouse guards crops against pests, diseases and adverse weather conditions.
- The greenhouse can allow farmers to practice integrated pest management.
- A typical greenhouse has a higher yield of crop than open field farming.
- There is efficiency in the use of water and nutrients in a greenhouse as compared to open field cultivation.
- The Returns on Investment (ROI) on greenhouses are typically higher than open field farming.
Disadvantages of greenhouse farming
- A greenhouse is expensive to acquire.
- The farmer needs good skills and competences in order to run a greenhouse.
Greenhouse farming and disease control in Nigeria
Greenhouses normally help farmers to guard against pests and diseases. However, the high density planting in greenhouses if not well managed can pre-disposed plants to pests and diseases. An infected plant if not quickly attended to can spread diseases to other plants because of the close spacing of plants in the greenhouse.
Some greenhouses have automatic sprayers on the roof that sprays crops with fungicides, insecticides and other chemicals in order to prevent and cure diseases.
Some greenhouses also have lay flat hoses that can be used to spray chemicals to guard against pests and diseases.
How to pollinate your crops in greenhouse farming
Greenhouses fence out insects both the beneficial and the harmful ones. It is not common in Nigeria for people to introduce bees into their greenhouses.
In greenhouse farming in Nigeria, farmers use artificial pollinators to pollinate their crops. Some farmers use chemicals to make the plants pollinate. These chemicals automatically switch the crops to self-pollinating mode.
Greenhouse Structures in Nigeria
The following should be considered when choosing greenhouse structures in Nigeria:
Types of Greenhouse Structures Suitable for Nigerian Conditions
The following are some types of greenhouse structures:
- Gable Greenhouse
- Flat Arch Greenhouse Structure
- Raised Dome Greenhouse
- Sawtooth Greenhouse
- Tunnel Greenhouse
The tunnel greenhouse structure is the most suitable for Nigerian conditions.
Construction Materials and Design Considerations
Galvanised iron rods are usually used for the construction of greenhouses as they are durable. Wooden planks can also be used for the construction of greenhouses, this option is usually cheaper.
Ventilation System and Temperature Control
Nets can be used on all the sides of the greenhouse to control ventilation. The nets allow for the circulation of air in the greenhouse, it also prevents insects from getting into the greenhouse.
Some greenhouses have top vents for effective ventilation management. Shade nets can be used to control temperature. Air conditioners and fans can also be used for temperature control. Climate controlled greenhouses are more efficient but expensive to run because of the need for 24/7 power.
Crop-Specific Requirements and Growth Characteristics
As explained in this note, tomato, pepper and cucumber are the most commonly grown crops in greenhouses in Nigeria. These crops need abundant sunshine, water, ventilation and nutrients.
Indeterminate tomato varieties are favoured for greenhouse farming. This tomato variety can grow as high as 12 feet. Indeterminate tomato grown in a greenhouse should be staked. This also applies to sweet peppers and cucumbers.
Nutrient Management and Fertilization
Plants require 17 elements to grow well. Crops grown in greenhouses also require these 17 elements. The elements are carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), boron (B), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), molybdenum (Mo), and chlorine (Cl). Nickel (Ni).
There should be precise application of the right doses of all the nutrients through Fertigation. Each plant in the greenhouse receives equal doses of the fertilizer or nutrient solution. The pH of the nutrient solution should be checked to avoid damage to the plants.
Experts should be in-charge of the mixing of nutrients meant for crops grown in greenhouses.
Irrigation and Water Management in Greenhouse Farming in Nigeria
The following should be considered when choosing an irrigation system for greenhouse farming:
Irrigation Systems for Greenhouse Farming
Drip irrigation system is the gold standard for greenhouse farming worldwide and also in Nigeria. Also, sprinklers, misters and rain hoses can also be used in greenhouses.
Misters can be used to increase the humidity of the greenhouse. Sprinklers can also be used for insect management and irrigation of plants.
Water Quality and Filtration
The water to be used for irrigating plants in the greenhouse should be well filtered. Disc filters can be used for water filtration. The pH of the water should also be ideal for the plants in the greenhouse.
Water Conservation Techniques
Drip irrigation systems usually conserve water. The use of drip irrigation systems in greenhouse is one of the water conservation techniques in greenhouse farming. Water recycling can also be one of the water conservation techniques in greenhouse farming in Nigeria.
Monitoring and Control of Irrigation Schedules
Greenhouses can be automated so that an irrigation schedule can be ignited automatically when the substrate is dry or when the plants need water.
Control of irrigation schedules can also be done manually by having people to monitor the water need of the plants.
Pest and Disease Management in Greenhouse Farming in Nigeria
The following will be considered in pest and diseases management in greenhouse farming:
Common Pests and Diseases in Greenhouse Crops
- Fungus Gnats
- Powdery Mildew
- Downy Mildew
- Root Rot
- Fusarium Wilt etc
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies
The following are some of the integrated pest management strategies in greenhouse farming:
- The use of biological controls for pest management
- Manipulation of the habitat for pest control
- Improved cultural practices
- The use of pests and diseases resistant varieties
- Chemical Control of Pests and Diseases.
- Weed Management etc.
Biological Control in Greenhouses
This is the use of living organisms like insects, bacteria and fungi etc. to control pests. Biological control is an effective pests and diseases management technique in greenhouse farming.
There are insects that can effectively control whiteflies. There are species of bacteria like Bacillus that can be used for diseases management in a greenhouse.
Proper Sanitation and Hygiene Practices
The greenhouse should be clean at all times. People entering the greenhouse should have their hands, feet and body sanitized; this is to prevent the outbreak of diseases and pests in the greenhouse.
Chlorinated water should be placed at the entrance of the greenhouse; workers entering the greenhouse should rinse their hands and feet with the chlorinated water.
Climate Control and Environmental Factors in Greenhouse Farming in Nigeria
The following should be done to effectively control climate and other environmental factors in the greenhouse:
- The temperature and humidity of the greenhouse can be controlled with the use of nets, fans, air conditioners and top vents.
- In tropical areas like Nigeria, artificial lighting is not required as there is abundant sunshine. In temperate regions, artificial lightings should be used to enhance the light management of the greenhouses. Plants need light for photosynthesis so light is a must.
- For greenhouse farmers who want super-normal yield, carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment can be done. This is the process of adding more carbon dioxide to the greenhouse in order to enhance photosynthesis and boost crop yield.
- Shade net can also be used to control the temperature. Shade nets are mainly used for light management and also frost management.
Soil and Substrate Management in Nigeria
Soil is usually used as the growing medium for greenhouse farming in Nigeria. Other substrates like coco peat, perlite, rockwool and sawdust can also be used for greenhouse farming.
Some greenhouses in Nigeria use only water, this is known as hydroponic farming.
The soil to be used in greenhouses should be sterilized so that all the harmful organisms in the soil can be eradicated. The soil’s nutrients should also be enhanced with the use of well cured compost and manure, fertilizer and humates.
The pH and the EC (Electrical Conductivity) of the substrates should also be considered before they are used for greenhouse farming.
Greenhouse Automation and Technology in Nigeria
The following are some of the activities and processes that can be automated in greenhouse farming in Nigeria:
Automated Climate Control Systems
The automated climate control system in greenhouses is a mechanism used for the automatic regulation or control of the temperature and humidity in the greenhouse. This enables the greenhouse to mimic the most optimum growing conditions for crops.
With automated climate control systems, crops that are not ordinarily grown in a place can be easily grown. For example, strawberry which is a temperate crop can be grown in greenhouses in Nigeria using an automated climate control system.
Sensor-Based Monitoring and Control
Greenhouses can also have sensor-based monitoring and control systems. Sensors can be used to monitor the water content of the soil; they can also be used to ascertain when the plants in the greenhouse need water. An irrigation sensor can trigger irrigation schedule, it can also stop an irrigation schedule if it senses that the plants are well watered.
There are sensors that can trigger the automated climate control system. Some greenhouses in Nigeria run based on sensors.
Irrigation Automation and Fertigation
There are sensor controlled valves that starts the irrigation schedule automatically. Irrigation and fertigation can be automated in greenhouses.
An automated irrigation and Fertigation system will automatically irrigate and fertigated plants when it senses that the plants need water and nutrients.
Greenhouse Subsidy and Government Programs in Nigeria
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Nigeria has various plans and campaigns to support the adoption of greenhouse farming in Nigeria.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Nigeria has a subsidy that covers 50% of the cost of a greenhouse. Farmers who intend to benefit from this subsidy have to contact the ministry of agriculture. All he conditions and requirements for this greenhouse subsidy must be met.
Various state governments in Nigeria like the Plateau State Government, Borno State Government and Akwa-Ibom State Government also support the adoption of greenhouse farming through subsidies. These states provide greenhouses to farmers at a heavily discounted rate.
IFAD, FAO and the World Bank also have collaborations with the Federal Government of Nigeria to support the adoption of greenhouse faring by small scale farmers in Nigeria.
Top States for Greenhouse Farming in Nigeria
The top states for greenhouse farming are in Nigeria are:
- Lagos State
- Oyo State
- Ogun State
- Ondo State
- Rivers State
- Kano State
- Plateau State
- Anambra State
- Taraba State
- Kaduna State
- Borno State
- Akwa Ibom State
- Gombe State etc
These states have tropical conditions; their soil is also rich enough to support crops grown in greenhouses.
The challenges of greenhouse farming in Nigeria
The following are the challenges of greenhouse farming in Nigeria:
- The high cost of constructing or installing a greenhouse is one of the challenges of greenhouse farming in Nigeria.
- The lack of technical knowhow of how to run a greenhouse is also a challenge.
- The issue of pests and diseases
- High cost of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides
- Scarcity of Greenhouse Consumables and Planting Materials
- Water Supply Issue
- Spikes in EC/Nutrient Level
- High Temperature
Are you in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Maiduguri, Katsina, Ibadan, Abeokuta or anywhere in Nigeria, we can design and build a greenhouse or polytunnel for you.
Greenhouse farming can be very profitable in Nigeria if done in the right way.
You can buy greenhouse cover here.
You can buy a greenhouse net here.