Coconut farming is the cultivation of coconut crop. Coconut farming involves the growing of coconut seedlings, maintaining the coconut trees and harvesting the coconuts when they are matured.
Coconut can do well in all states in Nigeria so far there is irrigation facility. Without irrigation facilities, coconut can do well in 20 states in Nigeria. Most of these states are in the southern region of Nigeria.
Coconut naturally grows in areas with abundant rainfall. This is why coconut trees are usually seen scattered around in Southern Nigeria. The largest coconut producing states in Nigeria are Lagos, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Abia, Ondo, Edo, Ogun, Oyo amd Osun states.
Nigeria currently produces about 265 tons of coconut annually.
Coconut is a type of fleshy nut produced by coconut trees. The coconut tree is a member of the palm family called Arecaceae. The coconut fruit has the husk, flesh and water.
Coconut is widely eaten everywhere in the world. Coconut trees are mainly found in the tropical areas of the world. They do not grow in temperate regions of the world.
Coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil and coco peat are some of the products that can be derived from coconuts.
Steps to Take to Start Coconut Farming in Nigeria
The following are the steps to take to cultivate coconut or start a coconut plantation in Nigeria:
- Selection of Farmland Site
- Climatic Conditions
- Soil Suitable for Coconut Farming
- Soil Preparation
- Picking the Coconut Variety to Plant
- Nursery Preparation and Management
- Transplanting of Coconut Seedlings to Field
- Weed Control
- Training and Pruning of Coconut
- Fertilizer and Manure Management
- Management of Pests and Diseases
- Yield of Coconut
- Processing of Coconut
1) Farmland to use for Coconut Plantation
You should endeavor to get a favourable farmland for the growing of coconut. The farmland must be freehold or a long leasehold land. Do not rent a farmland for a short time for coconut plantation as coconut is a perennial crop.
Your farmland should also have good roads so that your coconut produce can be easily evacuated to the market. The soil should be fertile. Coconut prefers sandy loamy soil.
2) Climatic Conditions Suitable for Coconut Farming
Coconut is a tropical crop; it can grow in warm and hot climatic conditions. Coconut will not do well in temperate climate.
Coconut prefers areas with an annual rainfall level of 2,000mm. The rainfall should be well distributed all through the year.
Coconut will not do well in highlands and uplands. This crops is naturally sited for lowland areas. Coconut can also tolerate high level of humidity.
3) Soil Suitable for Coconut Cultivation
Coconut can grow in sandy soil, sandy loamy soil and sandy laterite soil. It is not uncommon to see coconut trees scattered around beaches and very sandy environment. Coconut can tolerate all types of soil but it does not do well in clay soil.
The soil pH should be 4.0 – 7.5. Coconut is hardy and will do well in acidic soils and soil that are alkaline. If your soil is too acidic, it should be amended with lime.
4) Soil Preparation
Trees, stumps and weeds should be removed from the farmland to make space for the planting of coconut seedlings or trees. This is usually done if your farmland has a lot of trees or if the farmland is situated in a virgin forest. Bulldozers can be used to remove the trees and stumps; however, care must be exercised so that the top soil will not be removed.
After the removal of the trees and stumps, the soil should be ploughed and harrowed. Beds may be done to aid the growth of the coconut trees. Please note that if the farmland is a virgin forest, ploughing and harrowing may not be done.
For soil with low organic matter, farmyard manure, animal manure and compost can be added to the soil. These should be mixed to the soil through ploughing.
The soil should be ploughed several times till the soil forms a fine tilth. Tractors with harrowing implement may be used to harrow the farmland.
High phosphate fertilizer like Single Super Phosphate fertilizer or Diammonium Phosphate Fertilizer should be applied to every pit meant for planting the coconut seedlings. Depending on how fertile the soil is, up to 100 - 200 grams of Single Super Phosphate fertilizer may be applied per planting hole.
About 100 coconut seedlings can be planted on one hectare of farmland, if the planting pattern of 8 metres by 5 metres is used. If planting space of 7.5 metres by 7.5 metres is used, 175 coconut trees can be planted on one hectare. For high density coconut planting, up to 500 coconut trees can be planted on one hectare.
5) Coconut Varieties to Plant
The following are some of the varieties of coconut that can be planted in Nigeria:
Nigerian Coconut Variety
This is the local open pollinated coconut variety that is common in Nigeria. This variety can be found in the wild in Nigeria. It is also commonly grown in the southern part of Nigeria.
This variety starts fruiting after 5 – 7 years.
Malaysian Dwarf Coconut Variety
This variety is an improved hybrid coconut variety. It is usually short in height but high yielding. It also has an early maturity time. This coconut variety can start fruiting as early as 2 – 3 years.
The following equipment can be used for coconut farming:
- Boom Sprayer
- Farm House
- Power Tiller
- Earth Augers
- Motorised Sprayers
- Weeders etc.
These tools can improve the efficiency of farm operations in coconut farming.
Though coconut is mostly grown in Nigeria without irrigation. The yield of coconut crop can rise as high as 100 – 200% if irrigation is used.
Irrigation involves the artificial application of water to crops. If irrigation is used in coconut farming, plant population can be increased and yield can also be increased.
The following types of irrigation can be used for coconut farming:
- Drip Irrigation: Drip irrigation is a type of irrigation that provides for the wetting of the root zone of plants. In drip irrigation systems, a network of drip tapes, pipes or hoses and emitters are used to pass water to crops. For coconut drip irrigation can be used to provide water for the crops. Drip irrigation with Fertigation can allow for ultra-high density planting of coconut. This can significantly increase the yield of the crop.
- Sprinkler: Sprinklers work like rain; they spray water to the crops. Coconut can do well if sprinklers are used for irrigating it. Spray tubes, rain hoses, center pivots and rain guns are some types of sprinklers that can be used to irrigate coconut.
- Furrow Irrigation: This is the passing of water between the ridges or beds on a farmland. Though, this is a type of irrigation, if not well done, it can lead to root rot in plants.
8) Coconut Seeds and Nursery Management
Coconut seeds are usually sprouted under shade. The coconut seeds needs daily wetting for them to sprout.
After the sprouting of the coconut seeds, they can be put in planting bags. Some farmers do not use planting bags, they just plant the sprouted coconut seeds directly in the field.
The growing bags often made of polythene should be filled with soil mixed with organic matter. The coconut seed should then be buried in the soil. Adequate wetting regime should be implemented so that the seeds will sprout and grow well.
Once the coconut seedlings are of age, they should be transplanted to the field. Sprinklers can be used to irrigate coconut seedlings before they are transplanted to the field.
9) Transplanting of Coconut Seedlings
Coconut seedlings when matured enough should be transplanted to the field in the early morning or late evening. Transplanting of seedlings should not be done in the afternoon when it is too hot.
The field should be well irrigated before the transplanting of the coconut seedlings. Farmyard manure or compost should be available and there must have been the digging of planting holes before transplanting of seedlings.
Carefully remove the coconut seedlings from the grow bag or planting bag and place the seedling in the planting hole on the field. Fill up the hole with a mix of soil, farmyard manure or compost and 75-250 grams of Single Super Phosphate fertilizer (SSP).
Mychorizhae and other microbial innoculants may be placed in the planting pit to speed up the growth of the coconut seedlings. If the soil is infected with nematodes, suitable nematicides should be applied.
About 100 coconut seedlings can be planted on one hectare of farmland, if the plant spacing of 8 metres by 5 metres is used.
You can plant more than 100 coconut seedlings per hectare if high density planting with drip irrigation system is used.
10) Weed Control
The use of herbicides is the fastest and easiest way to get rid of weeds on your coconut farm. There are herbicides that can be used to kill weeds on coconut farms. These herbicides can stop the growth of weeds on your farm for several weeks.
Weed control can also be done by growing cover crops in your coconut farm. Cover crops cover the surface of the soil and serve as shield against erosion and nutrients leaching.
Plastic mulches and organic mulches can also be used to control the growth of weeds. Plastic mulch covers the surface of the soil and prevents the growth of weeds.
Cutlasses, hoes and motorized weeders can also be used to remove weeds.
11) Training and Pruning of Coconut
Coconut trees should be pruned so that the trees can devote more nutrients and energy to the production of flowers and coconuts.
You should exercise care when pruning as excessive pruning may negatively impact the coconut trees.
The lower branches should be removed in the first three years so that the tree can grow to form a shade. After the 4th year, pruning is not necessarily needed again.
12) Fertilizer and Manure Application in Coconut Farming
In Nigeria, coconut farmers hardly apply fertilizers to their crop. There is a wrong assumption that coconut trees do not need fertilizers. Coconut is a heavy feeder like most tree and fruit crops, it needs a lot of fertilizers and manure.
7 – 14 kg of farmyard manure or well cured animal manure should be mixed with soil and added to each planting hole. 300 - 500 grams of NPK 15:15:15 fertilizer and 80 - 110 grams of Single Super Phosphate (SSP) fertilizer should be added to every planting hole.
The fertilizers should be applied in a ring form around each coconut tree. Fertigation can also be used to apply fertilizers; in this case, small doses of fertilizers will be applied to the coconut crop intermittently. Fertigation is more efficient than top dressing and side dressing of fertilizers.
Microbial innoculants and micronutrients can also be added to the coconut trees. The use of potassium humate like King Humus Plus can be beneficial to the coconut trees.
Some of the fertilizers that can be used for coconut farming include the following:
- NPK fertilizers
- Single Super Phosphate Fertilizer
- Potassium Humate
- Boron Fertilizer
- Calcium Magnesium Nitrate Fertilizer
- Potassium Nitrate
- Potassium Sulfate etc.
Fertilizers that are soluble can be passed to the coconut crop through in a process called Fertigation, this is done through the drip irrigation system.
13) Pests and Diseases of Coconut Crop
The following are the pests and diseases that can affect coconut crop and how to prevent or manage the diseases:
This Rhinoceros beetle destroys the leaves and the coconuts produced by the coconut trees. These beetles can be very destructive.
The defoliation of the coconut trees can negatively impact photosynthesis and reduce the overall yield of the coconut trees.
Insecticides like Belt Expert, Thunder and Tihan can be used to kill these beetles and destroy their breeding sites.
Bio-insectides like Neem Oil, Bacillus spp and Metarrizhium Anisopliae can also be used to addrees the problems of beetles in coconut farming.
Red Palm Weevil
The Red Palm Weevil chews the leaves and other tissues of the coconut trees. The Red Palm Weevil perforates the leaves of coconut thereby impacting the photosynthetic of the coconut plant.
Tese weevils can also make the coconut leaves turn yellow.
Pheromone traps and Carbaryl insecticide can be used to trap and kill the red palm weevil. The cutting of affected parts of the coconut trees can also help in addressing the problem of Red palm Weevils.
The caterpillars destroy the leaves of coconut trees by eating them up. They can also destroy the coconuts produced by the coconut trees.
To control caterpillars on coconut trees, the following has to be done:
- Biological control like the use of Metarrizhium Anisopliae should be used
- Caterpillars can be killed with the use of neem oil.
- The use of Dichlorvos insecticide can also be used to control caterpillars.
The coreid bug destroys the coconut fruits by not allowing them to mature. Insecticides like Bet Expert, Tihan and Thunder can control coreid bugs.
Other pests of the coconut crop include:
- Mealy Bugs
- White Grubs
The bud rot is a fungal disease that causes the tissues of the coconut tree to rot. It can lead to the death of the coconut tree.
To control this disease, the diseases plant tissue should be cut off. Fungicides with copper can be used to control this disease.
Leaf rot is a fungal disease that causes the leaves of the coconut tree to rot. The leaves turn yellow or brown before falling off the coconut trees.
Leaf rot can be treated with fungicides like Hexaconazol, copper oxide, mancozeb and neem fungicide etc.
Removing or cutting off the rottening part of the coconut tree can control this fungal disease.
This disease appears with the oozing out of brown substance from the stem and trunk of the coconut tree. The parts of the coconut tree where the oozing occurs often rot away. This disease can significantly reduce the yield of the coconut trees.
To control this disease, the bleeding point should be cut off or removed. Pesticides should also be applied to the bleeding point.
Root Wilt Disease
The root wilt disease can lead to the death of coconut trees. This disease can be treated with good fungicides. Good fertilization can also help in preventing this disease.
Source: Plant Village
Coconuts are harvested after 2 – 5 years of planting the coconut seedlings depending on the variety of coconut planted.
Coconuts are usually harvested with the use of harvesting sickles. Mechanized tools can also be used to harvest coconuts from the coconut trees.
15) Yield of Coconut
The yield of coconut depends on the soil type, climate, availability of water, types of fertilizers used and other agronomic conditions.
One coconut tree can yield over 100 coconut fruits.
16) Processing of Coconut Products
Coconuts can be processed into the following:
- Coconut Oil
- Coco Peat
- Coconut Milk
- Coconut Water etc.
Harvested coconuts are usually sold in the open market in Nigeria. They can also be sold in supermarkets and other places of commerce.
Coconut products can also be sold all around Nigeria.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a One Hectare Coconut Farm in Nigeria
The cost to start a one hectare coconut farm is detailed below:
- Acquisition of one hectare farmland: N100,000 – N400,000
- Surveying and Land Documentation: N100,000 – N200,000
- Clearing, Ploughing and Harrowing: N50,000
- Seedlings: N50,000
- Planting: N10,000
- Irrigation: N300,000 – N650,000 (Optional)
- Fertilizers and Manure: N20,000 – N100,000 (Depending on soil fertility)
- Pesticides: N20,000
- Others: N100,000
For a detailed cost analysis, please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coconut Market in Nigeria
Nigeria currently produces about 265 tons of coconut annually according to Premium Times.
Nigeria imports about 80% of its annual consumption of coconuts. This shows a huge opportunity in coconut farming in Nigeria.
Should you wish to know more about coconut farming or you want to set up a coconut plantation, please contact us on 08025141924 or send an email to email@example.com.
Read our latest article on varieties of coconut in Nigeria.
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