Sweet Corn Farming in Nigeria – Is ₦5 Million Profit Possible?

Sweet corn farming is one of the most lucrative farming businesses in Nigeria, unlike the conventional corn or maize crop; a farmer can make a lot of money from the cultivation of sweet corn in Nigeria. The scientific name of sweet corn is Zea mays rugosa.

Sweet corn also known as sugar corn or table corn is a premium crop in Nigeria. It commands good prices in the market. Nigerians consume a lot of sweet corn every day. Though Nigerians do not consume sweet corn directly as a food, they consume it as part of other foods like jollof rice, fried rice and salads etc.

The cultivation of sweet corn is similar to that of the conventional maize except that it is strongly advisable that you use drip irrigation and other quality agro-inputs for the cultivation of sweet corn because it is a premium crop.

The biggest markets of sweet corn in Nigeria are located in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Owerri, Calabar and other big cities and towns in Nigeria.

sweet corn farming in nigeria

Protocol for the cultivation of sweet corn on a one hectare farmland

The following should be done while cultivating sweet corn in Nigeria. Please note that this a generic protocol, you need to do a soil analysis to know the exact types of fertilizers to use for your crop.

10 days before land preparation

Apply a mixture of 4 litres of Glyphosate and 4 sachets of Emamectin benzoate per hectare. Wait for 10 days before planting the sweet corn seeds.

2 weeks before planting:

Ploughing, harrowing and ridging should be done. Ploughing can be done several times depending on the condition of the soil. Apply pre-emergence herbicides after there is any regrowth of weeds, this is usually done after 2 weeks.

Manure, rice husks and other soil conditioners can be added to the soil at this stage. Manure and rice husk can improve the Cation Exchange Capacity of the soil.

Lay your drip irrigation tapes or tubes on the farmland. Drip irrigation is strongly advised as the most suitable type of irrigation for the cultivation of sweet corn.

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.

For farmers using drip irrigation, double rows of sweet corn plants can be created per one drip irrigation laterals. Intra plant spacing can be 30cm, that is, you plant a seed of sweet corn per every emitter (in the case of 30cm spaced drip tapes).

1 week after planting:

All gaps in planting should be replaced. Some seeds may not germinate, the farmer should replace them with new sweet corn weeds so that the final yield can be guaranteed or assured. Any weeds seen at this time should be uprooted.

2 weeks after planting:

Apply 4 sachets of Emamectin benzoate per hectare for prevention and/or control of armyworms or insect attack. The application should be done by spraying on the plants and farmland.

Ampligo insecticide can also be sprayed instead of Emamectin to prevent army worms and insects infestation. Belt Extra insecticide can also be used.

4 weeks after planting:

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

Fertilizers should be placed in holes beside each plant and buried.

Spray 4 sachets of Emamectin benzoate per hectare for any deposited eggs and to prevent resistance by the armyworms. Belt extra insecticide or ampligo insecticide can also be used.

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 herbicides can be applied to maintain the weed free status of the sweet corn farm.

Good insecticides and fungicides should be used.

With the above protocol, a sweet corn farmer in Nigeria is expected to get a yield of 6-14 tonnes per hectare.

Sweet Corn – Hybrid Seeds Varieties

Pacific Hybrid Sweet Corn Seed: This sweet corn seed is usually imported in Nigeria from Thailand. It is one of the most productive and high yielding sweet corn varieties in Nigeria. We have seen farmers who cultivated it and got a very high yield.

Chai Thai Hybrid Sweet Corn Seed: This variety of sweet corn is also imported into Nigeria from Thailand. It has been tried and tested by a number of farmers in Nigeria with good results.

Where to buy sweet corn seeds in Nigeria

Veggie Concept sells sweet corn seeds in Nigeria. If you need open pollinated or hybrid sweet corn seeds in Nigeria, you can contact Veggie Concept through 08025141924 or sales@veggieconcept.ng

sweet corn farming

Profit Analysis of Sweet Corn Farming

Sweet corn is one of the most profitable crops any farmer can cultivate in Nigeria. A farmer can make over N2 million from one hectare of sweet corn if he implements good agronomic practices.

Sweet corn is sold per kilogram in Nigeria. A kilogram of sweet corn in Nigeria goes for N250 – N400. At N400 per kg, 10 tonnes of sweet can yield a revenue of N4 million. Some sweet corn farmers in Nigeria have recorded over 20 tonnes per hectare. It should be noted that some sweet corn farmers get as low as 4 tonnes per hectare because they implement poor agronomic practices.

How to increase the yield of sweet corn in Nigeria

Timing of planting

To make good money from sweet corn cultivation in Nigeria, timing of planting is important especially if you are a rain-fed farmer. Sweet corn plants need adequate water to yield well.

However, with the erratic nature of rainfall now in Nigeria, I do not advise that you cultivate sweet corn without irrigation. Drip irrigation is the most appropriate type of irrigation for sweet corn farming.

Never plant sweet corn seeds if you cannot guarantee the availability of adequate water. The price of sweet corn peaks during the festive period like the Christmas period, Easter period and the Muslim festive season. Farmers who want to maximize their profits can target these seasons.

Land preparation and planting

To be a successful as a sweet corn 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 fertilizers applied on the soil. Tractors can be used for ploughing, harrowing and ridging. They can also be used for planting of the sweet corn seeds. There are cheap planters in Nigeria that you can buy to facilitate the planting of sweet corn seeds.

Plant Population

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

It is advisable you have an intra-plant spacing of 25 cm and an inter-row spacing of 75 cm when planting sweet corn. 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 sweet corn plant population per hectare to about 66,000.

Weeding

Weeds can reduce your yield in sweet corn farming by 90%. You should endeavor to keep your sweet corn farm free of weeds. Ensure that no weed is visible on your sweet corn 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 sweet corn farming determines about 40-50% of the yield of the crop. You should strive to have a weed free sweet corn farm all through the term of the crop. There are herbicides that can be used to address weed issues in sweet corn farming. Please note, not all herbicides used in maize farming can work for sweet corn farming.

Fertilizers

Sweet corn is a nutrient hungry crop. You need a lot of fertilizers to grow your sweet corn and get a good yield.

To get a good yield from your sweet corn farm, you must use manure, urea fertilizer and NPK fertilizers. You can also use fertilizers like chelates, boron and humates like King Humus soil conditioner.

All fertilizers must be placed in holes beside the plants and buried. Microbial innoculants can also be used to unlock locked soil nutrients.

Pests and Diseases Management

Pests and diseases can make your sweet corn farm record low yields. It is better you prevent pests and diseases other than trying to cure or attack them.

Good nematicides, fungicides, bactericides, rodenticides, insecticides and acaricides should be used to prevent and cure diseases and pests.

Improved Seed Variety

Most of the sweet corn farmers I have met who had poor yields planted poor seed variety.

You should only get certified and tested sweet corn variety if you want to get good yield from your sweet corn farm.

Insurance

Act of God like excessive rainfall and storm can destroy your sweet corn farm. It is always better to take a crop insurance product.

Pests and Diseases affecting Sweet Corn

Disease Management

Downy mildew (DM)

Downy mildew is an oomycete infection that can affect sweet corn in Nigeria. Fungicides having active ingredients like copper oxide, metalaxyl and mancozeb can be used for preventing this disease.

Leaf blight

This fungal disease affects sweet corn in Nigeria. Fungicides having active ingredients like copper oxide, metalaxyl and mancozeb can be used for preventing this disease.

Maize rust disease

Rust is also a fungal disease that can affect sweet corn in Nigeria. The foliar application of fungicides having active ingredients like copper oxide, metalaxyl and mancozeb can be used for preventing this disease.

Stalk Rot

Stalk rot is a fungal disease that causes the rottening of the stalk of sweet corn plants. The foliar application of fungicides having active ingredients like copper oxide, metalaxyl and mancozeb can be used for preventing this disease. Biofungicides can also be used to prevent this disease.

Blight Disease

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

Insect management

Army Worm

This is most dangerous pest in sweet corn farming is army worm; it can destroy a sweet corn farm within a twinkle of an eye. Army worm can be prevented and tackled by the application of ampligo, belt extra insecticide and tihan insecticide etc.

Stem borer 

This insect can destroy the stem of sweet corn plant. It can be controlled with the spraying of Cholopyriphos and ampligo and the use of Carbofuran (wormforce).

Pink borer

This also affects sweet corn crop. It can be addressed by the application of Cholopyriphos and the use of Carbofuran (wormforce).

Termites: 

Termites can also attack sweet corn plants. The application of Fepronil granules can be used to destroy termites.

Sweet corn farming is very lucrative. Do you want to invest in sweet corn farming? Do you need sweet corn seeds and other inputs needed for your sweet corn farm? Why not contact us today. You may contact us through +2348025141924 or sales@veggiegrow.ng.

Ayo Akinfolarin
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 7 comments