Dry season crops are crops that can be grown in the dry season in Nigeria. Dry season is a period with little or no rainfall. This is usually the time of the year when rain-fed farmers do not grow any crop.
In the dry season, farmers who grow crops can make good profit because only few farmers go to farm during this time of lean or no rains.
Some Dry Season Crops in Nigeria
The following are some of the dry season crops in Nigeria:
- Fluted Pumpkin (Ugwu)
- Soko Leafy Vegetable
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Potato
- Irish Potato
Pepper is one of dry season crops in Nigeria. It can be planted in the dry season with irrigation. Peppers do well in the dry season because of the low atmospheric humidity. The types of peppers that can be planted in the dry season include sweet pepper, habanero peppers and chilli peppers.
Pepper seeds should be nursed in the nursery before transplanting to the field. Pepper can be harvested 60 – 80 days after transplanting. The yield of sweet pepper per acre can be up to 30 tons.
Trees, stumps and weeds must be removed from the soil. The soil should be ploughed, harrowed and ridged. Several rounds of ploughing and harrowing may be done so that the soil will have a fine tilth.
Good land preparation improves the texture of the soil and water assimilation.
If the soil is not fertile, chicken manure or farm yard manure, basal fertilizers like DAP, NPK fertilizers and specialized fertilizers like calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate should be used.
Just like pepper, tomato can be grown in the dry season with irrigation. The prices of tomato in May – July in Nigeria every year skyrockets by as much as 200%. Cultivating tomato in the dry season in Nigeria may make any farmer smile to the bank.
Tomato reaches harvest 60 – 75 days after transplanting to the field. The yield of tomato per acre can be up to 30 tons if good agronomic practices are observed.
Ploughing, harrowing and ridging should be done. The soil should be free of stumps, trees and weeds. A good land preparation can go a long way in increasing the yield of the tomato crop.
Chicken manure or farm yard manure, basal fertilizers like DAP, NPK fertilizers and specialized fertilizers like calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate should be used. Tomato does well in a very fertile soil.
Cucumber is called farmers’ ATM in Nigeria because of its ability to generate income for farmers within a very short time. Cucumber fruits as early as 35 days and can be harvested continuously every 2 – 3 days for another 30 – 40 days. Cucumber is one of the crops that can be used for dry season farming.
Cucumber can be grown in the dry season with irrigation. Varieties of cucumber that can be planted in the dry season include Darina F1, Murano F1, Greengo F1, Tokyo F1 and Monalisa F1 etc. Cucumber is one of the 3 months crops in Nigeria.
Aside land preparation and fertilizer application in cucumber farming, staking and pruning should be done. Staking can significantly increase the yield of cucumber and lessen the incidences of diseases.
Eggplants can be planted in the dry season in Nigeria. This crop grows in a very fast fashion. It can be harvested within 40 – 50 days of planting.
Watermelon is a vegetable crop that is highly consumed by Nigerians. Watermelon is mostly planted in the dry season in Nigeria to ensure its sweetness.
Watermelon planted in the wet season assimilates a lot of water; this dilutes its brix and affects its sweet taste.
Watermelon can be harvested after 65 – 90 days of planting depending on the variety planted.
Lettuce is a leafy vegetable crop used in salads and other types of foods. It is also a dry season crop that can be planted with irrigation.
Lettuce tends to have lesser disease pressure in the dry season. Lettuce farmers face a lot of fungal infections during the rainy season.
7. Fluted Pumpkin (Ugwu)
Fluted pumpkin called Ugwu in Nigeria is arguably the most popular leafy vegetable in Nigeria. It is used in making soups.
Ugwu is also one of the most profitable vegetable crops to grow in Nigeria. However, those who make good money for ugwu farming only cultivate this crop in the dry season.
Ewedu is one of the most popular leafy vegetable among residents of southern Nigeria. It is used in making a particular type of soup.
Ewedu is mostly planted in the dry season because of its profitability. It can be planted in gardens, backyards and farms. Just cultivating this crop on a small piece of land can make you some money in the dry season.
9. Soko Leafy Vegetable
Just like Ewedu, Soko is a leafy vegetable eaten by the Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria. It is used in making some types of soup.
Soko is mostly planted in the dry season. It is very profitable when grown in the dry season. It can be planted in small piece of land.
Okra is a dry season crop in Nigeria. It can be grown with irrigation in the dry season in Nigeria. Okra as a vegetable crop can be very profitable when grown in the dry season.
The Return on Investment on okra farming in the dry season can be as high as 200%. One of the merits of dry season okra farming is that the crop can be grown in a small piece of land.
Spinach is a leafy vegetable crop that can be grown in all seasons in Nigeria. However, when grown in the dry season, the ROI can be very high.
Beans is traditionally grown in the wet season in Nigeria, this is due to the cheap availability of water through the rains. However, if grown in the dry season, the farmer can make a lot of money as there is usually a scarcity of beans in the dry season.
Beans can mature as early as 40 days if the 40 days beans variety is planted.
Do you grow any dry season crop in Nigeria? If yes, why not share your experiences with us in the comments’ section.