OPPORTUNITIES IN THE PLANTAIN VALUE CHAIN

Do you know we don’t plant plantain using a seed? We plant using plantain SUCKERS. plantain is one of the widely consumed food in the world due to it nutritional benefit. With an annual production of 2.4 million metric tons, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of plantain in West Africa. Plantain production in Nigeria is concentrated in the southern parts of the country, contributing significantly to rapid food security as the third important starch staple after maize and cassava. Production is still majorly in the hands of unskilled and unorganized smallholder farmers, with little or no access to modern production inputs, inefficient extension systems, social infrastructures and a structured market, resulting in low reduction in yield per hectare.

Plantain with the botanical name (Musa spp.) is a staple crop, a good source of carbohydrate, rich in vitamin and minerals such as calcium and iron. Unripe plantain can be used as a booster for iron deficiency in the body. It belongs to the banana family. Plantains are grown in well-drained soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, and in temperatures between 18 and 30 degrees Celsius. Plantains begin to mature 18 months after planting and when properly taken care, it can produce for as long as six to fifteen years.

In Nigeria, it is usually planted alongside other crops like cassava, cocoa and fruits because it provides more profit, help give space management and shade to these crops in turn to reducing weeds. Plantains are usually steamed, cooked, and roasted, either when unripe (Green) or very ripe (Yellow). They can also processed into powdered form, some delicious snacks, animal feed, and added into other food products that are already processed like the Elubo powder the Yoruba’s eat in form of Amala. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), our country Nigeria ranks as one of the largest plantain producing countries in the world. But despite its reactiveness to plantain production, Nigeria does not belong to the plantain exporting countries because we produce more for subsistence purposes than for real commercial purposes.

The world atlas ranks Nigeria fifth (5th) in the world, behind Cameroon, years of education around a town in Osun state, I know of some other things plantain is used for aside boiling. In some towns and villages around Ife, Osun State, a non-alcoholic drink called Sekete is made from plantain. Plantain could be processed into pastry, pastry mixed with beans, fried plantain and chips. It was further read that jams, juice, beer and alcohol could be made from ripe plantain fruits.

As a plantain farmer we can never finish exploring the wonders embedded in plantain, it is useful for varieties things. The agricultural sector needs to kick up and pick up the production of plantain exploring it to the other part of the world so that they can also benefit from the great nutritional values of plantain. Till now we still have almost half of Nigeria population steal fried plantain to eat as their parent or elders fry. Plantain farming too have its own risk, recently I have experience plantain farm theft on a daily basis, and security is highly needed when it comes to plantain farming.

I know you clamor for some almighty guidance in on plantain farming let us quickly take a look at guideline to plantain farming.

Make sure your land is well ploughed and harrowed for efficient weed control, you can apply some good herbicide to add to the harrowed soil so as to be completely free of weeds at least, make sure you get your suckers from reputable organisation or farm station, get responsible man power in terms of farm staff to handle all the planting and sucker management with the transporting of the sucker. It is mandatory to make sure the plantain breed are in tune with what the market needs so as not to produce for unfeasible market. Fertilizer application is of great importance so as to achieve maximum productivity. Pest and disease is a major challenge for plantain farming but pesticide are available at affordable prices and according to the prescription of your farm consultant.

Opportunities to look out for in plantain farming.

A FARMER

  • A clean agency: One of the major problems faced by farmers is the absence of manual labourers and most of the local farmers have resulted to using immediate family as laborers, you can consider having a clean agency like clean4farm and provide genuine manual labourers that make sure the ploughing, harrowing and all other farm operations are done without any major problems for the farmers.
  • Be the producer/ harvester: Don’t ever doubt being a producer of plantain, it is very profitable and highly rewarding, production of plantain can make you a millionaire after the well managed phase of it efficient production. Plantain mature within 8-12 month, you can always harvest at this time but some sucker could produce early and harvesting might be mandatory. Consider being a plantain producer. Harvesting of plantain is tedious and energy draining, it drains out energy, it is okay if they are machine fabricators that make this work easier or assigned labour that can get this done for both local and urban farmers.
  • Plantain manager: Crops are different, the amount of required fertilizer for vegetables can’t be the required fertilizer for plantain, agricultural investors, stay at home farmers please get a trusted farm manager or plantain consultant for the effective management of your plantain farm. Prevention they say, is better than cure.

A MARKETER

  • Wholesaler: If you find the first phase to be too stressful, then, you can consider selling plantain in bulk prices and straight from farm prices so that retailers don’t have to get to the market to get the plantain again. A lot of market women and sellers now prefer convenience and they won’t mind buying at the specified rate. 
  • Retailer: You can want to be a retailer of plantain processed materials. Plantain by products are one of the most sought out for in the market. Plantain chips is one of the most selling by produce of farmers. Plantain chips is consumed by almost all Nigeria student almost every day. A well packaged and affordable chips for student will go a long way
  • Consumer: You will always have a place in the opportunities plantain give, there is one thing you do indirectly when you consume a particular product and that is publicity, most of us would have not been aware of the difference between the ayoola poundo yam and ola-ola poundo yam but because some people who consumed it decided to state their preferences, people got to choose the product that had the highest like.

THE SMART FARMER

  • Logistics personal: When do we put a stop to rickety buses transporting our produced food through unmanaged and unsafe roads? Do you know that above 20% of foods are lost during the course of logistics I mean during the course of transportation of food from a point to another point? Logistics personnel are highly needed in the agricultural sector as farmers can’t wait any second to lose profit and produce anymore. It won’t be bad to have a startup or firm like Farmdrive, Coldhubs in Nigeria and solar freeze in Kenya to reduce the amount of wastage gotten during transportation of Maize.
  • Plantain Processor: Plantain chips should rest, let us have more delicious chips that can be highly affordable so that people would eat and associate with it.

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