Dry Season Pepper Farming in Nigeria: How to Grow Pepper with Irrigation

September 18, 2021


Dry season pepper farming is the cultivation of pepper in the dry season. In the dry season in Nigeria, there is little or no rain, despite this; some farmers still grow peppers in order to maximize their profits.

Why do some farmers cultivate pepper in the dry season in Nigeria? It’s mainly because of the high prices of fresh peppers in the months of May – July.

If you start the process of planting of pepper in December – February in Nigeria, you are sure to harvest when the prices of pepper are at their highest.

Dry season pepper farmers also cultivate pepper in the dry months of the year because of fewer incidences of fungal diseases.

A Recap on Pepper Farming

Pepper farming is the cultivation of pepper for the production of pepper fruits for consumption or sale to consumers.

Pepper farming involves a long process. The process of growing peppers starts with the preparation of the farmland. The preparation of farmland includes clearing of the weeds, plowing, harrowing and ridging of the land. Soil test should precede this process.

Fertilizers and manure or compost have to be added and plowed into the soil. This will improve the nutrient profile and microbial activities in the soil.

If the soil is infected with diseases and pests, pesticides have to be applied.

Nursery has to be prepared for the pepper. Nursery trays and coco peat can be used. Pepper seedlings have to be hardened before transplanting.

The seedlings will be transplanted to the beds or farmland after 5 – 6 weeks.

The pepper plants will be on the field for 9 – 12 weeks before harvest commences. Peppers can be harvested for several months.

Dry Season Pepper Farming Business Plan

Farm Set-Up for a One Hectare Dry Season Pepper Farm

Cost of Drip Irrigation          625,000.00
Installation of Drip Irrigation System
On Site Training of staff in precision farming
Soil and Water Analysis
          625,000.00
Fertilisers:
NPK (15 bags)            90,000.00
Potassium Nitrate (5 bags)            75,000.00
Camag (3 bags)            30,000.00
Potassium Humate              5,000.00
          200,000.00
Pesticides:
Insecticides (15 bottles)            30,000.00
Fungicides            30,000.00
Nematicides            10,000.00
            60,000.00

Profit Analysis for a One Hectare Dry Season Pepper Farm - Scenario 1

Revenue:
600 Bags @ N10,000       6,000,000.00
Cost:
Rent of one hectare of farmland            25,000.00
Fertiliser          200,000.00
Manure            50,000.00
Pesticides            70,000.00
Hybrid Seeds          120,000.00
Labour for 6 months          240,000.00
Knapsack Sprayer              5,000.00
Farm Tools            10,000.00
          720,000.00
Profit       5,280,000.00

Profit Analysis for a One Hectare Dry Season Pepper Farm - Scenario 2

Revenue:
600 Bags @ N4,000       2,400,000.00
Cost:
Rent of one hectare of farmland            25,000.00
Fertiliser          200,000.00
Manure            50,000.00
Pesticides            70,000.00
Hybrid Seeds          120,000.00
Labour for 6 months          240,000.00
Knapsack Sprayer              5,000.00
Farm Tools            10,000.00
          720,000.00
Profit       1,680,000.00

Profit Analysis for a One Hectare Dry Season Pepper Farm - Scenario 3

Revenue:
600 Bags @ N2,500       1,500,000.00
Cost:
Rent of one hectare of farmland            25,000.00
Fertiliser          200,000.00
Manure            50,000.00
Pesticides            70,000.00
Hybrid Seeds          120,000.00
Labour for 6 months          240,000.00
Knapsack Sprayer              5,000.00
Farm Tools            10,000.00
          720,000.00
Profit          780,000.00

Factors to consider before embarking on dry season pepper farming in Nigeria

The following are the factors to consider if you want to practice dry season pepper growing in Nigeria:

Knowledge

Never cultivate pepper if you do not have the knowhow. A lot of people believe they know how to cultivate peppers but in most cases, reverse is the case.

You need to acquire precision farming skills and use good farming technologies to cultivate your pepper.

Do not engage workers based on their paper qualifications. It is always better to engage farm hands based on their hands on experience.

Farm Location

The farmland to be used for dry season pepper farming should be relatively flat. The topography should be good enough for cultivation of crops.

It is also better to use a farmland that has a motorable road linking to the main road for easy evacuation of your produce.

Location near to big cities can be advantageous when it comes to selling of your produce.

Recruitment of Staff

It is advisable that you engage workers who have hands on experience in farming. Do not be deceived by the big paper qualifications of some graduates of agriculture.

Water and Power

Water is a must if you want to practice dry season pepper farming. You will need irrigation if you want to grow pepper in the dry season.

Drip irrigation is the most appropriate type of irrigation for dry season pepper cultivation.

You can use the public grid for power or you use a power generator. Solar power can also be used.

Soil Preparation

The soil needs to be prepared for dry season pepper farming. Clearing of weeds, plowing, harrowing and ridging have to be done.

Manure, compost and microbial innoculants may also be added to the soil. Fertilizers should also be added to the soil.

Soil and Water Analysis

I need to sound a note of warning. Never cultivate any crop until you do a soil analysis. Water analysis can also be done.

A typical soil analysis will show the nutrient profile of the soil, pH and the microbial count.

Pepper Seed Selection

Dry season in Nigeria comes with its own challenges. The incidences of insects and flies are high in the dry season in Nigeria. This means that pepper plants will be susceptible to viral diseases in the dry season.

You need to choose pepper varieties or seeds that are resistant or tolerant to viral diseases that affects pepper plants.

Drip Irrigation

The use of drip irrigation is a must if you want to maximize your yield and profit from dry season pepper farming in Nigeria.

Drip Irrigation ensures the passing of water to the root zone of plants in trickle manner. This makes the plants to maximize the usage of the water. Fertilizers and chemicals can also be passed to the pepper plants through the drip irrigation laterals.

Drip irrigation can also reduce the need for labour significantly as fertilizers will not need to be top dressed or side dressed by human labour again.

Drip Irrigation can increase the yield of pepper by as much as 200%.

Nursery

If you can, avoid using the traditional method of using palm frond and ridges to raise pepper seedlings.

The use of seedling trays and suitable substrate like coco peat is advised. You also need to provide shade for the pepper seedlings. Shade nets can be used for this.

Transplanting

The process of transplanting is the removal of the seedlings from the nursery to the field for planting.

The field should be irrigated before seedlings are transplanted. Transplanting should be done when in the evening.

Fertiliser/Humate/Manure Selection

The result of your soil analysis should guide you on the type of fertilizers to use.

You can consult an agronomist to guide you with this. We can also guide you.

Pesticides Selection

Organic and inorganic pesticides can be used. High quality pesticides should be used.

It is better to prevent diseases and pests than curing diseases.

Disease and Pest Prevention and Control

Cultural practices and the application of pesticides can be used for the prevention and control of pests and diseases.

Unchecked pests and diseases can ruin your pepper farm.

Staking

Hybrid pepper varieties grow so big. You may need to stake your pepper plants if the variety you plant grow so tall and big.

Wires and ropes can be used for staking.

Harvest

Peppers should be harvested on time. You should harvest matured pepper every 3-7 days. The more frequent you harvest, the more your yield.

Marketing of produce

Peppers are sold in bags in Nigeria. The price of a bag of peppers in the open market in Nigeria can vary from N4,000 to N20,000.

Peppers can be very profitable. You can also sell your peppers in the more organized market where they are sold per kilogram.

Do you want to know more about dry season pepper farming in Nigeria? If yes, why not post your questions on the comments’ section or send an email to sales@veggieconcept.ng.

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