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Maize Farming – Is N10 Million Profit Possible in Nigeria?

Maize farming is the cultivation of maize or corn from the seed stage to the marketing of the harvested maize or corn. Maize farming is inarguably the most popular type of crop cultivation or farming in Nigeria. Go to any town, village or city in Nigeria, you are likely to see a lot of maize farmers.

Maize farming in Nigeria is practiced in all the geopolitical zones of the country. There are maize farmers in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Abuja, Plateau, Nasarawa, Imo, Anambra. Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna and all states in the country.

Maize is a staple food in Nigeria and hugely consumed by Nigerians. Most Nigerians will consume maize or its derivatives at least once every day.

At Veggie Grow, we assist farmers in setting up large scale maize farms, we also sell maize seeds and all inputs needed for your maize farm. You may contact us through +2348025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng.

Protocol for Hybrid Maize Cultivation – One Hectare

Below is the protocol or plan to be used in cultivation of HYBRID maize, please note that the fertilization application rate can be amended to fit your soil profile. The pesticides application rate can also vary. This is just a generic maize farming protocol.

10 days before land preparation

Spray a mixture of 4 litres of Glyphosate and 4 sachets of Emamectin benzoate per hectare. Wait for 10 days

2 weeks before planting:

Land tillage: Plough and harrow/ridge or harrow twice or ridge depending on land condition. Wait for 2 weeks to allow for weed regrowth for good effectiveness of the pre-emergence herbicides at planting time.

At this stage, you can add rice husks, manure or any soil amendment materials to your soil to increase the Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC).

At planting:

Plant seeds at 75cm (inter-row spacing) by 20cm (intra-row spacing) (66,000 plants/ha), 75cm by 25cm (53,000 plants/ha)

Apply 15 bags of NPK 15:15:15 or 11 bags of NPK 20:10:10 (220 kg N / ha) or 12 bags of NPK 15:15:15 or 9 bags of 20:10:10 (180 kg N / ha). 

Spray a mixture of 4 liters of paraquat, 4 liters of atrazine and 4 sachets of Emamectin benzoate not later than the next day of planting.

Please agrochemicals should not be sprayed in the hot afternoon for effectiveness

The seed should be planted at a depth of 5cm along the row while the fertilizer should be placed 5cm beside each planted seed and 5cm deeper than the seed depth

1 week after planting:

Gap filling should be done for few missing spots to ensure the right plant population and weed control done after planting should be confirmed if it was effective, areas showing weed growth should be reported at observation

2 weeks after planting:

Spray 4 sachets of Emamectin benzoate per hectare for prevention and/or control of armyworms or insect attack

4 weeks after planting:

First urea application: 2.5 bags for (220 kg N / ha) or 2 bags for (180 kg N / ha)

Ensure fertilizer is buried beside the plants to prevent wastage

Spray 4 sachets of Emamectin benzoate per hectare for any deposited eggs and to prevent resistance by the armyworms

6 weeks after planting:

Second urea application: 2.5 bags for (220 kg N / ha) or 2 bags for (180 kg N / ha)

Spray 4 liters of Lambdacyalothrin per hectare for any visible armyworms

All urea application should be applied from 4 weeks after planting for large acreages without splitting to maximize cost.

8 weeks after planting:

Post emergence application: Spray 4 liters of paraquat per hectare, for proper weed control; this can be done before 8 weeks depending on the severity of weeds present.

NOTE: Ensure that there are no weeds in the field before fertilizer application.

Potassium Humate is advised to be mixed to all fertilizers before application. All fertilisers must be buried during application.

Also note that Lagon herbicide has been the best type of herbicide we have used for maize farming in Nigeria.

All agrochemicals mentioned above are active ingredients that can be gotten in different trade names. Please ensure good quality products are used.

With the above protocol, a maize farmer in Nigeria is expected to get a yield of 6-10 tonnes per hectare of maize.

maize farming in nigeria

Maize Production in Nigeria

About 800 million tons of maize was produced globally in the year 2019, with Nigeria producing about 11,000 tons, Nigeria is the largest producer of maize in the Africa, followed by South Africa. In spite of the huge production of maize in Nigeria, Nigeria cannot satisfy local demand of maize. Every year, a significant percentage of maize is imported to satisfy local demand in the country.

DATE VALUE CHANGE, %
2008 7,525  
2009 7,358 -2.22%
2010 7,677 4.34%
2011 8,878 15.64%
2012 8,695 -2.06%
2013 8,423 -3.13%
2014 10,059 19.42%
2015 10,562 5.00%
2016 11,548 9.34%
2017 10,420 -9.77%
2018 11,000 5.57%
2019 11,000 0.00%

Source: Knoema

maize farming in nigeria

The northern part of Nigeria produces the largest percentage of maize in the country. Kaduna state is the largest producer of maize in Nigeria, closely followed by Bauchi, Gombe and Nasarawa. All northern states in Nigeria produce a lot of maize every year.

The south western part of Nigeria also produce a significant percentage of maize with Oyo state topping the list of the largest producer of maize in the south western part of Nigeria.

Popular Maize Varieties in Nigeria

Below are some of the most popular maize varieties planted in Nigeria.

Pioneer Corn Seed – Hybrid

Dupont Pioneer Hybrid maize seed is one of the most popular hybrid maize seeds in Nigeria. This hybrid maize seeds can grow in all regions in Nigeria. It has good tolerances and resistance to a lot of pests and diseases that affects corn plants. Hybrid pioneer seeds can also tolerate crowding unlike other maize varieties. This maize variety can yield up to 12 tons per hectare. We tried this variety and we had a yield of 7.6 tons per hectare. I have seen local farmers getting between 5-7 tons per hectare cultivating this variety in Kaduna. This variety comes in the yellow and white form.

Seedco – Hybrid

There are a number of hybrid maize seeds bred and marketed by SeedCo in Nigeria. The following are some of the maize varieties of Seedco:

SC 645: White Maize Hybrid, 7-8 Tons/Ha Yield Potential, Medium maturing hybrid (100 – 110 days). This variety had good disease and heat tolerance. It can be cultivated in the southern and northern guinea savannah.

SC 649: White Maize Hybrid, 8-10 Tons/Ha Yield Potential, Medium maturing hybrid (110 days). It has good disease and pest tolerance and can grow well in all ecological zones of Nigeria.

SC 651: White Maize Hybrid, 6-7 Tons/Ha Yield Potential, Medium Maturity (100 – 110 days). This variety is drought and striga resistant. This variety does well in the rain forest belt of Nigeria and also in the guinea, sudan and sahel savannah areas of Nigeria.

SC 510: Yellow Maize Hybrid, 5-6 Tons/ha yield potential, Early Maturing (90 days). This variety is embedded with Vitamin A. It can tolerate crowding and high population, this can lead to increased yield. It can also do well in the southern rain forest in Nigeria and the southern and northern guinea savannah.

SC 719: White Maize Hybrid, 8 -9 Tons/Ha Yield Potential, Late Maturing (110 -120 days). This variety has long cob. It also has good tolerances to a lot of pests and diseases that affect maize. It can be grown in the southern and northern guinea savannah.

Premier Maize Seeds

Below are the hybrid maize seeds and open pollinated maize seeds bred and marketed by Premier Seeds Nigeria.

Hybrid maize

  • Oba 98 (white, QPM)
  • Oba Super-1 (white)
  • Oba Super-2 (yellow)
  • Oba Super-3 (white)
  • Oba Super-4 (yellow)
  • Oba Super-6 (yellow)
  • Oba Super-7 (white)
  • Oba Super-9 (white)
  • Oba Super-11 (white)
  • Oba Super-13 (white)

Open-pollinated Maize

  • Across 97 (white, striga resistant)
  • Suwan-1 (yellow, DMR)
  • Sammaz 14
  • Sammaz 15
  • Sammaz 16
  • Sammaz 20
  • Sammaz 27
  • Sammaz 38
  • Sammaz 50
maize farming

Profit Analysis of Maize Farming

Maize can be very profitable if you do the right thing. Having a healthy farmland, planting the right amount of seeds, weeding and the use of adequate fertilisers and pesticides can make your maize farming venture a profitable one.

Profit Analysis for Dry Grains

N600,000 is expected to be earned as revenue from the sale of 6 tons of dried maize from one hectare. Price per ton ranges from N80,000 – N120,000 in Nigeria.

N60,000 is expected to be used for land preparation and planting of maize seeds per hectare, N30,000 for hybrid pioneer seeds per hectare, N20,000 for herbicides and insecticides, N60,000 for fertilisers and N100,000 for labour and other expenses. Total cost for one hectare of maize is N320,000.

Profit expected from one hectare of maize is N280,000. I have seen some farmers who made a profit of N400,000 from one hectare of maize.

Maize Farming for Fresh Cobs

55,000 – 75,000 fresh maize cobs are expected to be harvested from one hectare of maize. Hybrid pioneer maize seeds can yield two cobs per plant.

Let us assume that 70,000 fresh maize cobs will be harvested from one hectare of maize. If you sell each fresh cob for N15, you will earn a sales revenue of N1,050,000 from your one hectare maize farmland.

N60,000 is expected to be used for land preparation and planting of maize seeds per hectare, N30,000 for hybrid pioneer seeds per hectare, N20,000 for herbicides and insecticides, N60,000 for fertilisers and N100,000 for labour and other expenses. Total cost for one hectare of maize is N320,000.

Profit from one hectare of maize farm if you sell fresh maize cobs will be N730,000.

Selling fresh maize cobs is far more profitable; however, your farm must be near a big town or city.

Strategies to increase your maize farm yield in Nigeria

Timing in maize farming

Timing is very important in maize farming in Nigeria especially if you are depending on rain. To record a good yield in your maize farm, your corn plants must get adequate amount of water. Maize loves water, starve corn plants of water and expect to have a poor yield.In the southern part of Nigeria, it is advisable to start the planting of maize from April. Some farmers start in March but rainfall pattern nowadays is erratic. Rain may start in March and seize till May. You need to observe the rainfall pattern well before you start planting.

In The northern part of the country, maize cultivation should start in June. Wrong timing can lead to a dismal performance of your maize plants. To eliminate the issue of timing in maize farming, a farmer can consider irrigation. With irrigation, you can cultivate your maize anytime of the year without fear.

Land preparation and planting

To be a successful as a maize farmer, you need to prepare your farmland for planting. Farmland preparation involves clearing the weeds on your farmland, ploughing, harrowing and ridging. Land preparation breaks up the texture of the soil and improves oxygen penetration into the soil, this helps the plants on the soil to grow well. Land preparation also improves the penetration of water into the soil and the efficacy of fertilisers applied on the soil. Tractors can be used for ploughing, harrowing and ridging. They can also be used for planting of the maize seeds. There are cheap planters in Nigeria that you can buy to facilitate the planting of maize seeds.

Plant Population

Plant population is can determine if a maize farmer will make profit or not. To make good profit in maize farming, you need to have at least 50,000 stands of maize plants per hectare; this can be increased to up to 70,000 stands if you plant some hybrid varieties.

Ask most maize farmers in Nigeria the plant population on their farm, they will likely tell you that they do not know. If you investigate yourself, you will see that their plant population is abysmally low, probably 10,000 to 20,000 maize plants per hectare. With his low plant population, they can hardly make any profit.

It is advisable you have an intra-plant spacing of 25 cm and an inter-row spacing of 75 cm when planting maize. This will ensure that your farm will have about 55,000 plants per hectare. If you do 20cm intra-plant spacing, you can increase your maize plant population per hectare to about 66,000.

Weeding

Weeds can reduce your yield in maize farming by 90%. You should endeavor to keep your maize farm free of weeds. Ensure that no weed is visible on your maize farm. Weeds share water and nutrients with your plants, they can starve your crops of the important nutrients they need to grow well. Weeds also harbor pests and diseases which can be transferred to your crops.

The first few weeks in maize farming determines about 40-50% of the yield of the crop. You should strive to have a weed free maize farm this period and beyond. If you are a commercial maize farmer, you cannot hand weed your maize farm, its better you use the recommended herbicides for maize crop. There are pre-emergence herbicides and post-emergence herbicides that should be used for maize farming.

Fertilisers

I have heard some farmers saying they would only use manure for their maize farms, yes, if you are a commercial maize farmer looking at maximizing the returns from your investment, I will strongly advise that you use both inorganic fertilisers and organic fertilisers.

Maize as a crop is a nutrient hungry crop. Your maize crop needs a lot of nutrients especially nitrogen. One hectare of maize farm will need about 8-15 50kg bags of NPK and Urea fertilisers. It is also advisable you mix all your fertilisers with potassium humate in order to maximize the efficiency of the fertilisers.

Also, bury all fertilisers applied to your maize crop; never leave fertilisers on the surface of the soil. Soil improver like manure, rice husks and plant materials can also be used for your maize farm. You can also use microbial innoculants.

Pests and Diseases Management

Pests and diseases can mess up your maize farm and make you record huge losses. You should use all the recommended pesticides and disease control techniques when cultivating maize. The most destructive of all maize pests is the army worm. Endeavour to use the pesticides recommended for army worm before infestation. Remember, in farming, prevention is better than cure.

There are nematicides, fungicides, bactericides, rodenticides, insecticides and acaricides that can be used to manage pests and diseases in maize farming.

maize production in nigeria

Improved Seed Variety

Most maize farmers in Nigeria go to the open market to buy dry maize seeds and plants; this often leads to poor yield. We strongly advise to plant hybrid maize variety like Pioneer seeds in order to have a good yield.

We have tried Pioneer seeds and the result was fantastic. At Veggie Grow, we sell hybrid seeds. You may contact us through +2348025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng.

Insurance

You should not forget to insure your maize farms against all forms of insurable risks. You can insure your farm by contacting NAIC or other insurance companies in Nigeria like Leadway Insurance.

Dry Season Maize Farming in Nigeria

Dry season maize farming in Nigeria is far more profitable than cultivating the maize in the rainy season. However, there is a catch, how will you get adequate water for your dry season maize farming? Irrigation is the answer; you need to provide irrigation facilities for your maize farm in order to reap the benefits of dry season maize farming in Nigeria.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has a lot of schemes used to support dry season farmers in Nigeria. They provide or subsidize all the inputs needed for maize farming in the dry season for some farmers. However, you are advised not to rely on the government, you can act smart by using irrigation and reap good profit in the dry season.

Do you know that the price of fresh maize cobs in the dry season in Nigeria is 2-3 times the price in the rainy season, why, because, few maize farmers cultivate maize in the dry season.

Dry maize grains are also more expensive in the dry season because of the scarcity in the market.

Irrigation for Maize Farming

Drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation are the most appropriate types of irrigation that can be used in maize farming in Nigeria.

Rain gun irrigation can be a cheap and acceptable type of sprinkler irrigation that can be used for maize farming if there is a large reservoir of water around the farm. With rain guns, maize can be cultivated all year round. Spray tubes can also be used for maize farming.

Drip irrigation is the best type of irrigation but it is far expensive than sprinkler irrigation, using it may not be justifiable given the low value of maize grains in the market. However, if you are cultivating sweet corn, drip irrigation can be used.

Government Interventions in Maize Farming

The Nigerian government has intervened in maize farming using several programs, some of the programs are explained below:

CBN/NIRSAL MFB LOAN

The Central Bank of Nigeria in conjunction with NIRSAL Microfinance Bank provides loans of less than N10 million to intending farmers. Maize farmers can benefit from this loan as the loan has a single digit lending rate. It also has a moratorium.

CBN ANCHOR BORROWERS SCHEME

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) anchor borrowers’ scheme is used to finance farmers in groups so that they will have all the inputs needed by them to reap a bountiful harvest. Maize farmers are eligible to apply for loans under this scheme.

IFAD SCHEME

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a body that provides funding and support to rural farmers. Maize farmers in Nigeria can benefit from this scheme.

FADAMA Scheme

FADAMA is supported by the World Bank. This scheme supports farmers through the provision of irrigation facilities.

Pests and Diseases affecting Maize or Corn

Disease Management

Downy mildew (DM)

Downy mildew can affect maize crop in Nigeria. This is an oomycetes infection that changes the colour of the leaves of the maize plant to yellow and brown. It negatively impacts the photosynthetic process in the plant and ultimately leads to low yield. To prevent this disease, maize seeds should be coated with Metalaxyl. Foliar fungicides like Mancozeb amd copper oxide can be used.

Leaf blight

This is a fungal disease that can affect maize plants in Nigeria. Fungicides like mancozeb or any copper fungicides can be used as preventive or curative methods for the disease.

Maize rust disease

Rust is also a fungal disease that can affect maize crop in Nigeria. The foliar application of Diathane or any good fungicides can prevent or cure this disease.

Stalk Rot

Stalk rot is a fungal disease that causes the rottening of the stalk of maize plants. Trichoderma biofungicides or chemical fungicides can be used to control this disease. An increase in potassium fertilizer can also reduce the incidences of this disease.

Blight Disease

Blight is caused by Rhizoctonia sp.  Pseudomonas fluorescens culture or the application of inorganic fungicides can control this disease.

Insect management

Army Worm

Arguably, the most dangerous insect that can destroy a maize farm within a twinkle of an eye, army worm can be controlled by using Tihan, Thunder, Ampligo and other selected insecticides in Nigeria. It is better to prevent army worm than trying to eradicate them after infestation.

Stem borer 

This insect is common in maize fields in Nigeria. It can be controlled with the spraying of Cholopyriphos and the use of Carbofuran (wormforce).

Pink borer

Just like stem borer, It can be controlled with the spraying of Cholopyriphos and the use of Carbofuran (wormforce).

Termites: 

Termites can destroy a maize farm if they are not quickly controlled. The application of Fepronil granules can be used to control termites.

Maize farming in Nigeria can be very profitable. Do you want to invest in maize farming? Do you need maize seeds and other inputs needed for your maize farm? Why not contact us today. You may contact us through +2348025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng.

Ayo Akinfolarin
 

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