Okro farming is the growing of okro crop from the stage of planting to the last stage of harvesting, processing and marketing. Okro farming in Nigeria involves processes like the planting of the okro seeds, caring for the okro plants and harvesting the matured okro.
Okro is one of the most consumed vegetables in Nigeria, this makes the growing of okro one of the most profitable farming ventures anyone can do in Nigeria.
Okro is mainly used for the preparation of different types of soups in Nigeria. It can also be used to garnish some types of foods.
Steps to take to start okro farming in Nigeria
The following are the steps to plant okro in Nigeria:
- Farmland or Site Selection
- Climatic Requirements
- Soil Suitable for Okro Farming
- Soil Preparation
- Okro Variety to Plant
- Equipment to Use for Okro Farming
- Planting of the Okro Seeds
- Weed Control
- Fertilizer and Manure Management
- Management of Pests and Diseases
1) Farmland or Site Selection
Okro needs a fertile soil. The farmland site to be used for okro farming should have a suitable and fertile soil.
The farmland should also have motorable road for easy evacuation of your okro produce. The farmland should also be safe for the farm workers.
2) Climatic Requirements
Okro only grows well in areas with tropical climatic conditions. Okro will not do well in cold temperate environment unless it is grown in a greenhouse.
Okro crop prefers abundant sunshine. It also needs warmth. The more the sun, the better the okro yield.
3) Soil Suitable for Okro Farming
Okro prefers fertile soil rich in humus. Sandy loamy soil is the most preferred type of soil for okro farming. Do not grow okro in pure sandy soil as this type of soil is not rich in nutrients.
The soil pH should be 5.0 – 7.5. Acidic soil should be amended with limestone or dolomite. Limestone will add calcium to the soil and increase the pH.
4) Soil Preparation
If your farmland is in a forested area, you need to do bush clearing depending on the size of the land. Bulldozers can be used to remove the vegetation on the farmland. However, care must be exercised so that the top soil will not be removed.
Ploughing, harrowing and ridging should also be done. Several rounds of ploughing may be done so that the soil will be very loose. For okro farmers growing okro in lowland, ridging may be done.
5) Choosing the Okro Variety to Plant
The most productive okro varieties to plant are the hybrid okro seeds. They are also hardy, they also tolerate pests and diseases better than the open pollinated varieties. Hybrid seeds can increase okra yield.
The following are some of the okro varieties you can plant:
- Kirikou F1
- Yeleen Okro Variety
- Maha F1
- Open Pollinated Okro Variety
6) Equipment to Use for Okro Farming
The following equipment can be used for okro farming
- Farm House
- Power Tiller
- Earth Augers
- Weeders etc.
Okro does well under irrigation. With the use of irrigation, the supply of water to the okro plants is assured.
The following are the types of irrigation that can be used for okra farming in Nigeria:
- Drip Irrigation
- Sprinkler Irrigation
- Furrow Irrigation
- Spray Tube Irrigation etc.
8) Planting of the Okro Seeds
Okro seeds should be planted in 1 – 2 cm deep hole. The intra row spacing of okra plant should be 30cm while the inter row spacing should be 50cm – 100 cm.
If 100cm by 30cm spacing is used, about 33,000 okra plants will be in one acre of farmland.
9) Weed Control
Herbicides can be used to control weeds in okra farms. You should seek the advice of an agronomist before you use any herbicide for your okro farm.
Cultural practices like weedking with hoes and cutlasses can be implemented to remove weeds on the okro farm.
Cover crops can also be used for weeds management in okro farming. Plastic mulches and organic mulches like straws can also be used to manage weeds.
10) Fertilizer and Manure Management
Okro is a heavy feeder so it needs a lot of nutrients, about 5 – 20 bags of NPK fertilizers should be used for a one hectare of okro farm.
You should do a soil analysis before applying any fertilizer on your okra farm. Fertilizers like potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate, humates and diammonium phosphate may also be used.
For farmers using the drip irrigation system, soluble fertilizers can be passed to the root zone of the okro plants using the drip irrigation tubings.
11) Management of Pests and Diseases
Your okro farm may record poor yield if you do not manage pests and diseases well. Pesticides like insecticides, fungicides, bactericides and nematicides etc. should be applied to the okra plants for effective management of pests and diseases.
Pesticides like Belt Expert, Decis, Ampligo and Tihan etc. can be used to manage pests and diseases in okra farms.
Okro pods reach maturity after 30 – 45 days. Harvesting of matured okra pods should be done every 2 -3 days. Leaving matured okra pods on the okra plants may reduce the overall yield of the okra plants.
Harvesting can be dne by hand or the use of mechanized harvesters.
Okro is usually sold in the open market after harvest. The harvested okra pods are usually packed in bags of 20 – 50kg.
The harvested okro pods can also be sold in the orgnaised markets like supermarkets and hotels.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a One Hectare Okro Farm in Nigeria
The cost to start a one hectare okro farm is detailed below:
- Rent of one hectare farmland: ₦20,000
- Clearing, Ploughing and Harrowing: ₦55,000
- Seeds: ₦30,000
- Planting: ₦10,000
- Irrigation: ₦300,000 – ₦650,000 (Optional)
- Fertilizers and Manure: ₦20,000 – ₦100,000 (Depending on soil fertility)
- Pesticides: ₦20,000
- Others: ₦100,000
FAQ on Okro Farming
a) Question: Can I get high yielding and early maturing okro varieties in Nigeria
Answer: You can get high yielding and early maturing okro varieties from us.
b) Question: Can drip irrigation be used for okro farming?
Answer: Yes, drip irrigation can be used for okro farming. Drip irrigation can optimize the yield of okro plants.
c) Question: Is okro farming profitable?
Answer: Okro farming can be very profitable if you implement good agricultural practices.
d) Question: When is the peak time for the price of okro in Nigeria?
Answer: The dry season months of December to March is the peak time for the price of okro in Nigeria. During this time, the prices of okra rise significantly.
e) Question: What is the average yield of okro?
Answer: The average okro farmer does 10 -60 tons yield per hectare of okro.
f) Question: What fertilizers are good for okro farming in Nigeria?
Answer: Urea and NPK fertilizers are the usual fertilizers used for okro farming in Nigeria. However, fertilizers like humates, potassium nitrate and calcium nitrate etc. can be used for okro farming too.
Should you need any information on okro farming in Nigeria, kindly contact us through email@example.com.
Read our latest article on how much is a basket of okro in Nigeria.