This article is about how to start ugu (pumpkin leaf) farming business in Nigeria currently in this year 2023. Due to its popularity, acceptance, and favourable health benefits, ugu farming is a significant economic agribusiness in Nigeria. Ugu (Telfairia occidentalis), commonly known as fluted pumpkin leaves, is indigenous to the southern part of Nigeria and is grown in many other countries in the West African region.
Nigerians are increasingly interested in growing ugu (fluted pumpkin leaves) for their own use or to sell for a profit, making ugu farming one of the small-scale agribusinesses that is growing in popularity in the country. It may also be cultivated in your backyard and is not capital intensive. An individual needs to start by gathering information before beginning an ugu farming business in Nigeria today.
Ugu (fluted pumpkin leaves) is capable of producing some astounding health benefits, including the ability to be used as a component of herbal medications. Malaria, anemia, and abrupt convulsions are all conditions that it is widely believed to treat. Other health advantages include liver protection, lactating characteristics that are great for nursing mothers, immune system support, and increased fertility. Ugu leaves can be cooked or eaten raw after thorough washing with water. The seed is edible and can be roasted or boiled to make snacks.
GUIDE ON HOW TO START UGU FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA 2023
The following are the step by step processes involved in starting your own ugu farming business in Nigeria this 2023:
GET A SUITABLE LAND FOR UGU FARMING
For ease of monitoring, it is best if you get a land close to your place of residence. Try to assess whether the land is fruitful, then clear the area depending on how big or small you want the farmland for your ugu to be. Kindly note that land that is rich in loamy soil is the best kind for ugu farming in Nigeria.
SOURCE FOR UGU SEEDS
Do ensure that you source for viable ugu seeds before considering beginning ugu farming in Nigeria. For the ugu seeds to grow and develop properly, make sure that you source them from disease-free pods.
Loamy soil is ideal for ugu growing. When compared to other types of soil, loamy soil, which is a combination of clay, sand, and silt, is particularly productive and contains greater organic matter. It is suitable for ugu cultivation since the plant roots receive enough water and nutrients to grow and thrive.
LAND PREPARATION FOR UGU PLANTING
After the land has been acquired, it is crucial to prepare the area. Depending on the size of the area, you can hire laborers to till the ground and loosen the soil. This will make it simpler to allow water to be drawn into the soil. Think about adding a lot of manure to the soil. It can be chicken or cow manure. At least two weeks prior to planting, the land must be prepared.
PLANTING OF UGU
Create a bed, remove the seeds from the pod and any juicy bits, and then let the soil dry before planting. The best time to plant is between April and May when the rain is just beginning for the season, while irrigation can be used at any time of the year. Make a little hole that is 5 cm apart and 15–25 cm deep. Plant the seed after that, then cover it with soil. You can as well cover the soil with grass so as to reduce transpiration.
WEED CONTROL ON THE UGU FARM
When you notice weeds springing up in your ugu farm, you should uproot them. Keep weeds away from your ugu farm and do not let them consume its nutrients. A good way to reduce pests on a farm is to weed it.
The ideal fertilizers to use on your ugu (fluted pumpkin) farm are organic manure or nitrogen-rich fertilizers like urea and NPK (15:15:15); these products encourage the growth of the ugu leaves and increase seed production. When the seed has sprung up after a month, apply fertilizers to them for better crop yield.
HARVESTING OF UGU LEAVES
A minimum of two to four weeks after planting, or when the stem is long, is required to begin harvesting ugu leaves. You need to position your hands on the offshoots and cut the stem with your hands a short distance from the bottom. Use a sharp instrument, such as a knife, to cut if you do not have any prior cutting experience. When the tendrils are dry, the pods are simply mature and ready to be harvested; occasionally, though, they need to be cut off because they do not always fall off on their own.