Pepper is a vegetable eaten by almost everybody in the world. Pepper farming is one of the most profitable businesses in Nigeria and other countries of the world. Just like tomato farming and cucumber farming, pepper farming can be very lucrative.
The most popular types of pepper eaten in Nigeria are habanero pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli pepper and sweet pepper. Nigerians call these types of pepper atarodo, shombo, ata ijosi and tatase.
Farmers who engage in pepper farming smile to the bank year in, year out.
Steps to Take to Start Pepper Farming in Nigeria
The following steps should be taken in order to be successful in pepper farming in Nigeria:
Get yourself trained in modern farming
Cultivating pepper like how the conventional farmer in Nigeria does will lead to little or no profit. You should get yourself trained in how to use modern agronomic practices and farm technologies to boost your crop yield.
In Nigeria today, the average yield of habanero pepper per acre is about 0.2 tonnes while improved agronomic practices can result to over 5 tonnes of habanero pepper per acre.
If you do not know how to grow crops with modern agronomic techniques, you can hire those who are very skilled in farming.
Sort out finances
If you want to make good money from pepper farming, you must get adequate finances. Cutting corners will lead to losses.
Do you want to take a bank loan? Will your farm be financed by contributions from family and friends? You must consider all funding options. It is better to use your own funds when starting out in pepper farming.
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Get a good farmland
Fertile farmland can be a very great asset. Try as much as possible to secure a fertile farmland, this will reduce the cost of fertiliser, manure and other farm treatment input.
You can rent a farmland instead of acquiring it, this will reduce initial cost outlay.
Soil and water analysis
You need to know the nutrients level, pH and microbial count in your soil and water. This will guide you on the type of fertiliser and soil improvers to use on your farm.
Farming without carrying out a soil test is like a student who goes into an examination hall with nothing in his brain.
You need to recruit good staff. The manager of your farm must be skillful in the cultivation of pepper. Most of the farm hands in Nigeria are people from the republic of Benin and Togo. They are more willing to work on farms than young Nigerian men.
If your farm is in the northern part of Nigeria, you will not have challenges getting labourers for your pepper farm.
You need to take off the weeds and unwanted trees on your farmland, plough, harrow and ride if need be. If the soil is poor, you will need to add manure or compost and some fertilizers.
If you prefer to go organic, you can add manure. Microbial inoculants and humates like humic acid and fluvic acid.
Install drip irrigation
Drip irrigation is the passing of water and nutrients to the base of your plants through pipes in a trickle form. It is the most efficient type of irrigation for pepper farming.
With drip irrigation, you can increase the yield of your pepper farm by 40%-200% whilst also reducing the use of water and labour by a significant percentage.
You must get a good drip irrigation system for your pepper farm. To install drip irrigation for pepper farming in Nigeria, you need to have a good water source like borehole, well, dam or river.
You can buy drip irrigation systems from Veggie Grow Limited, the company is the leading supplier of farm technologies in Nigeria.
Get farm inputs
You also need to get farm inputs for your pepper farm. Examples of farm inputs needed include fertilizers, manure, pesticides, knapsack sprayer or power sprayer, seeds (hybrid or open pollinated), cutlasses, hoes, plough and weeders etc.
Hybrid pepper seeds are high yielding than open pollinated pepper seeds. You need to research the best type of pepper seeds good for your agro climate and type of diseases and pests prevalent in your area.
Take care of your crops
Practice good agronomic methods to make your crops disease free and ensure a very good yield. Ensure you follow strict pesticide application regime.
It is always better to prevent diseases than attempting to cure them.
Harvest and marketing
Harvest your produce with care. While harvesting your peppers, ensure that the fruits are not damaged. You may need to preserve the pepper if you do not intend to sell them within days.
Marketing is key and as a matter of fact, you should secure the places to sell your produce before you start farming at all.
Pepper Seeds in Nigeria
There are hybrid pepper seeds and open pollinated pepper seeds in Nigeria. The hybrid pepper seeds are known to have higher yields than the open pollinated pepper seeds.
A lot of pepper farmers in Nigeria still grow the open pollinated pepper seeds because they are well adapted to the Nigerian climatic conditions. However, there are new hybrid pepper seeds now in Nigeria that are well suited to the agro-climatic conditions of Nigeria.
Below are some of the pepper seeds popular in Nigeria:
Avenir F1 Hybrid Pepper Seed
Avenir F1 is a hybrid habanero pepper seeds from Technisem. It is very pungent and presents big pepper fruits.
Avenir F1 variety can tolerate pests and diseases that are prevalent in tropical areas like Nigeria. The yield of Avenir F1 hybrid pepper variety is higher than that of open pollinated pepper varieties.
In spite of the high yield of Avenir F1 pepper seeds; this variety is susceptible to mites attack.
Piquante F1 Hybrid Pepper Seed
Piquante F1 hybrid seeds come in two varieties. There are the red variety and the yellow variety. This variety is from East West Seeds.
Piquante pepper has a nice and pungent aroma. It is also very hot. Piquante F1 variety can grow everywhere in Nigeria as it is resistant to some of the pests and diseases prevalent in Nigeria.
Afadja RZ F1 Hybrid Pepper Seed
This is a hybrid hot pepper variety imported from the Netherlands to Nigeria. This hybrid pepper seeds can yield up to 10 tons per hectare.
It can be grown in greenhouses and also in the open field. This hybrid pepper variety can also grow in almost all parts of Nigeria.
Afadja RZ F1 can grow well under hot temperature. It performs better when grown in greenhouses or polytunnels.
Efia Pepper Seed
This is an open pollinated hot pepper seed from East West Seed. This variety is popular among pepper farmers in Southern Nigeria.
The yield of Efia pepper variety is similar to that of hybrid pepper seeds.
Fertilizers to use for pepper farming
The following are the fertilizers that can be used for pepper farming:
NPK fertilizers have nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium nutrients. These nutrients are known as the macro-nutrients as plants need them in large quantity.
The following are some of the NPK fertilizers that can be used for pepper farming in Nigeria:
NPK 15:15:15 Fertilizer: This type of NPK fertilizer has the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in equal proportion. Each nutrient consists of 15%.
NPK 15:15:15 can be found almost everywhere in Nigeria. It is the commonest type of fertilizer used for pepper farming in Nigeria.
NPK 12:12:12 Fertilizer: Just like NPK 15:15:15, this type of fertilizer has 12% each of the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It is one of the fertilizers that can be used for the cultivation of pepper.
NPK 10:10:10 Fertilizer: This type of NPK fertilizer is not too common in Nigeria. It is a very good type of balanced fertilizer for the growing of pepper. It has 10% each of the macro-nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
NPK 12:12:17 Fertilizer: This type of NPK fertilizer is usually used when the pepper plants are flowering and fruiting. It has 12% of nitrogen, 12% of phosphorus and 17% of potassium.
It is fairly common in Nigeria.
This type of fertilizer has high nitrogen content and usually used during the vegetative stage of pepper plant growth
Below are some types of nitrogen fertilizers:
Urea Fertilizer: Urea fertilizer has about 46% nitrogen content. Nitrogen is the only nutrient present in urea fertilizer.
Urea fertilizer can be used during the vegetative growth stage of pepper plants. However, care must be exercised when using urea fertilizer for pepper plants as they can burn and damage the tissues of the plant.
Urea fertilizer can be mixed in water and passed to the roots of pepper plants through the drip irrigation tapes or pipes.
Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer: This type of nitrogen fertilizer has about 33% nitrogen content. It is one of the fertilizers that can be used for the growing of pepper.
These type of fertilizers have high content of phosphorus. They are usually used as basal fertilizers for pepper plants.
The following are some types of phosphate fertilizers that can be applied to pepper plants:
Single Super Phosphate Fertilizer (SSP Fertilizer): SSP fertilizer typically have 16-20% content of phosphorus and 17 – 22% content of calcium. It is usually used as a basal fertilizer in pepper farming.
Diammonium Phosphate Fertilizer (DAP): This fertilizer typically has 46% phosphorus and 18% nitrogen. It is also usually used as basal fertilizers for the cultivation of pepper.
This is a type of fertilizer with high potassium content. The following are some types of potassium fertilizers:
Muriate of Potash: This is also called potassium chloride. It typically has about 50% potassium content. Care should be taken when using this type of fertilizer for pepper plants as its high content can negatively impact the pepper plants.
Potassium Sulfate: This fertilizer typically has 42% potassium and 18% sulphur. It can be used for pepper farming.
The following are the other types of fertilizers that can be used for pepper farming:
- Potassium Humate
- Potassium Nitrate
- Calcium Nitrate
- Fluvic Acid
- Calcium Magnesium Nitrate
- Mono Potassium Phosphate
- Mono Ammonium Phosphate
- Chelates etc
Fertilizer Application for Pepper Plants
Pepper plants often need fertilizers to grow well. You can use organic fertilizers for your pepper farm, you can also use chemical fertilizers for your pepper farm.
The first step in fertilizer application is to conduct a soil test. A soil test will show the nutrients profile of your soil. You will see the deficient nutrients and you will be advised on the type of fertilizers to use to correct the deficiency.
Manure, chicken dung, compost and other types of fertilizers can be used in pepper farming. If your soil pH is below 5.5, you will need to add lime or dolomite to your soil in order to increase the pH level.
Phosphorus fertilizers like SSP and DAP should be used for basal application. Nitrogen fertilizers should be applied during the vegetative stage and potassium fertilizers should be well used during the flowering and fruiting stage.
Calcium fertilizer is very important. Calcium is the trucker of all nutrients. Calcium fertilizers should be used at all the stages of growth of the pepper plant.
The best month to plant pepper in Nigeria
Pepper can be grown in any month of the year in Nigeria. However, there are best months to plant pepper.
Peppers generally do well in the dry season as they have lesser chances of getting fungal diseases. However, in the dry season months of October to March, the incidences of white flies and insects are high. These insects transmit viral diseases to pepper plants. Viral diseases have no cure; they can reduce the yield of pepper plants to zero.
Also, in the dry season months of October to March, the incidences of mites are high. Mites can significantly reduce the yield of pepper plants.
In the rainy season months of April, May, June, July, August and September, the availability of water can help in increasing the yield of pepper plants. However, the high incidences of fungal diseases can significantly reduce the yield of pepper plants.
Growing pepper in some months of the year can lead to super normal Returns on Investment (ROI). Harvesting and selling peppers in the months of April to July in Nigeria can lead to a very high profit as few farmers grow peppers during this period.
How long does pepper take to grow?
Pepper plants grow for 3 – 5 months before harvesting; this depends on the variety of the pepper plant.
Pepper plants usually stay in the nursery for 4 – 6 weeks; they are then transplanted to the field. Pepper plants after transplanting usually take about 75 – 120 days before you start harvesting.
Factors like the fertility of the soil, climatic condition, variety of seeds planted and pests and diseases can impact the term of pepper plants.
Hot weather speed up the fruiting of pepper plants. In cold climates, pepper plants often have a slower growth rate.
How much is a bag of pepper?
The price of a bag of pepper varies in Nigeria. The price of a bag of pepper can go as high as N25,000 in some months of the year and it can also go as low as N5,000 in some months of the year. There is a cyclical movement of pepper prices every year in Nigeria.
The price of a bag of habanero pepper is not the same with the price of a bag of sweet pepper. Also, the price of a bag of yellow pepper is not the same with the price of a bag of chilli pepper.
Habanero pepper farming in Nigeria
Habanero pepper is one of the commonest peppers in Nigeria. Almost all Nigerians consume habanero peppers directly or indirectly every day.
Habanero pepper farming in Nigeria can be very profitable. You need the following to engage in habanero pepper farming in Nigeria:
- Get a fertile farmland
- Install an irrigation system
- Get good seeds
- Prepare your farmland
- Get the right staff
- Plant and manage the habanero farm
- Use pesticides to manage pests and diseases
- Get good fertilizers and manure
- Harvest the habanero peppers
- Sell the harvested habanero peppers
Sweet pepper farming in Nigeria
Sweet pepper also called bell pepper is also very popular in Nigeria. Sweet pepper is sold as red sweet pepper, yellow sweet pepper and green sweet pepper.
The growing of sweet pepper in Nigeria is very lucrative. Like habanero pepper farming, there are things you need to do in order to have a successful sweet pepper farm.
Dry season pepper farming in Nigeria
Pepper farmers in Nigeria know that dry season pepper farming can be very profitable. Why is dry season pepper farming lucrative in Nigeria?
Few farmers grow pepper in the dry season in Nigeria due to the non-availability of water (rainfall) and high incidences of insects and pests. The few who grow pepper in the dry season sell at a premium price.
Pepper prices are usually very high in the months of April to July in Nigeria. This is due to low availability of water in the dry season growing months.
Pests and Diseases of Pepper Plants
The following are the pests that affect pepper plants in Nigeria:
- Army Worm
- Fruit Worm
- Nematodes etc
The following are the diseases that affect pepper plants in Nigeria:
- Baterial Wilt
- Bacteria Canker
- Leaf Blight Disease
- Southern Blight
- Damping off Disease
- Fusarium Wilt
- Verticillium Wilt
- Powdery Mildew
- Cercospora Leaf Spot
- Gray Leaf Spot
- Blossom End Rot
- Cucumber Mosaic Viral Disease
Source: Plant Village
Best fungicide for pepper in Nigeria
The following are the best fungicides for pepper in Nigeria:
- Cabrio Duo Fungicide
- Red Force Fungicide
- Ridomil Gold
- Ridomil Gold Plus
- Agriguard Biofungicide
- Ultimax Plus
- SAAF Fungicide
- Emzeb 80
You should ask yourself the following questions:
Where will I sell my harvested peppers?
Do I want to sell in the open market or the more organized market like supermarkets and hotels?
Will I sell in markets near my farm or far away markets?
The above are some of the marketing questions you need to ask yourself.
Pepper farming can be your own gold, research well and start this venture today, you can reach us through firstname.lastname@example.org.