This article is about how to start pawpaw farming business in Nigeria. We shall be taking a detailed look at the step by step processes involved in the planting of pawpaw all through to the marketing stage of this farm produce so as to walk you, our readers who may be interested in this line of business through the details involved in this venturing into the business.
Pawpaw (Carica papaya), also known as papaw or papaya, is a tropical fruit that is characterized by its distinct oblong shape. Fruits from the pawpaw tree tend to be green when growing but will change their colour to yellow upon fully ripening. Pawpaw is widely cultivated in many parts of Nigeria and some other tropical parts of the world.
The plant is believed to have originated from Mexico and the northern part of South America, but it has become naturalized throughout the Caribbean Islands, Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii, and other tropical and subtropical regions of the world including Africa.
HOW LUCRATIVE IS PAWPAW FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA?
The pawpaw farming business in Nigeria is a very lucrative business that farmers are encouraged to invest in, and this is due to the fact that the pawpaw trees produce fruits very rapidly after maturing. Just one pawpaw tree can produce a respectable number of fruits, say ten (10). If you multiply this by about two hundred (200) trees in a large piece of farmland, you will get a bountiful harvest of two thousand (2000) fruits.
If everything goes according to plan without suffering some or all of the setbacks peculiar to farming, and you sell your two thousand (2000) healthy pawpaw fruits at the rate of ₦300, you will make ₦600,000 in just one harvest and this money can be reinvested into your pawpaw farming business for more output from your farmland. You will agree with me that this is indeed a good business to venture into.
Having stated how lucrative pawpaw business can be if rightly done, it is important at this juncture to also state that the success of your pawpaw farming business in Nigeria first lies in your ability to source for good seeds, and this continues with how much attention you put into the farming process, terminating at the various impressive marketing strategies you can employ in ensuring that your pawpaw fruits, which are perishable goods, are sold when they’re finally harvested. All these processes require patience and careful execution.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE/HEALTH BENEFITS OF PAWPAW
According to Healthline, the following are the nutritional value/health benefits of pawpaw:
- Pawpaw is rich in vitamins C and A, as well as fibre and healthy plant compounds. It also contains an enzyme called papain that is used to tenderize meat.
- Early research suggests that the antioxidants in pawpaw may reduce cancer risk and perhaps even slow cancer progression.
- Pawpaw’s high vitamin C and lycopene content can improve heart health and may reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Pawpaw has been shown to improve constipation and other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The seeds and other parts of the plant have also been used to treat ulcers.
- The powerful antioxidants in pawpaw can help your skin recover from sun damage and may defend against wrinkling.
STEP BY STEP PROCESSES ON HOW TO START PAWPAW FARMING IN NIGERIA
The following are the step by step guide on how to start pawpaw farming in Nigeria today:
STEP 1: MAKE READY A SUITABLE LAND TO CULTIVATE YOUR PAWPAW
Before ever starting your pawpaw cultivation business, the first thing to do is to get the land ready for cultivation. Ensure that the land is rich in loamy soil or sandy-loamy soil with a pH range between the values of 5.5 to 7.0, meaning that the soil has to be slightly acidic to neutral. Do not plant your pawpaw in sandy or clayey soil.
Endeavour to supply your farm land with enough water. Planting in the rainy season is best advised for this business but if you want to do your pawpaw farming in the dry season, your farmland has to be supplied with enough water via irrigation. You should also make sure that your pawpaw seeds receive adequate sunlight during the process of cultivation.
It is important to bear in mind that pawpaw doesn’t do really well in extremely cold or hot weather conditions and the best time for planting is between the months of April – June, even if you can plant anytime of the year but with special care.
STEP 2: MAKE AVAILABLE THE BEST PAWPAW SEEDLINGS FOR CULTIVATION
Seeing that this is business, you are advised to source for only the best types of seedlings to boost your returns upon harvesting. There are Farming Institutes in the country where you can source for great varieties of pawpaw seeds. Good varieties of pawpaw seeds are resistant to certain diseases and do really well in loamy and sandy-loamy soils, increasing crop yield in the process.
STEP 3: CLEARING AND PREPARATION OF YOUR FARMLAND FOR PAWPAW CULTIVATION
Upon successfully making available a large piece of land for your pawpaw farming business, as well as making ready the variety of pawpaw seeds that you want to cultivate, the natural next step that follows is to prepare the land for cultivation by clearing it. Clearing can be done manually or through the use of machines if the land is very large and if you have the means. Alternatively, you can employ labourers to help you clear your land if the cost of hiring tractors, etc is very expensive.
STEP 4: PLANTING YOUR PAWPAW SEEDS
Once the land has been thoroughly cleared and prepared, you can now plant your pawpaw seeds. As earlier mentioned, endeavour to get a good variety of seedlings to boost your chances of reaping a bountiful harvest. Ensure adequate spacing of your seedlings when planting.
Kindly note that pawpaw plants grow in three sexes: male, female, and hermaphrodite. The male produces only pollen, and no fruit, the female produces small, inedible fruits unless pollinated by male pawpaw plants, while the hermaphrodite can self pollinate since its flowers contain both male stamens and female ovaries.
If you must plant, ensure to have both male and female species so pollination can occur or you plant the hermaphrodite varieties to increase crop yield.
STEP 5: WEEDING
Weeds tend to compete with your crops for nutrients in the soil. In order to prevent this, weed your land frequently by removing unwanted plants so that your pawpaw can grow properly. Weeding prevents stunted growth and ensures the pawpaw you planted can blossom. You can weed your farmland manually or mechanically depending on the size and it should start from the first three months after planting.
STEP 6: FERTILIZER APPLICATION
Once weeding is done, you can then apply fertilizer to boost growth. Fertilizers are applied depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Pawpaw grows in slightly acidic to neutral types of soils, and it is advisable to apply 50g of NPK fertilizer 15:15:15 per plant three weeks after planting and at monthly intervals for up to six months. Alternatively, local manure can be used as supplement for even better performance.
STEP 7: IRRIGATION OF THE FARMLAND
Pawpaw can be planted in the dry season as well, and as such, it will require adequate water supply via irrigation. Ensure that during the dry season, your pawpaw seeds get a plentiful supply of water to enable them develop properly.
STEP 8: PEST CONTROL
Pests are animals that attack and destroy crops and because of this, it is advisable to regularly check your pawpaw farmland to prevent pests and their activities. Spray pesticides in the right amounts to prevent pests from attacking and destroying your pawpaw plants. Pests that attack pawpaw include: grasshoppers, papaya mealy bug, whitefly, aphid, red spider mite, fruit fly, etc.
STEP 9: HARVESTING YOUR PAWPAW
Your pawpaw should start bearing fruit from the eight month after planting and when it has ripened, it is harvested once you see it change from green to yellow. A healthy pawpaw tree can yield about fifty (50) to ninety (90) fruits per annum.
STEP 10: MARKETING YOUR PAWPAW
After harvesting, it’s time to sell. Endeavour to market your pawpaw through all the various marketing channels available. Target fruit markets and register with their umbrella body so you can sell your large harvest easily.
You can also contact companies who make use of pawpaw as a raw material in making consumer goods so that they can purchase from you. Also make contact with top supermarkets that deal in fresh fruits and see how you can be their supplier. This should fetch you serious money in the long term when you become a trusted supplier.