Pepper is one of the most popular vegetables cultivated by farmers in Nigeria. This vegetable is usually planted at certain dates in the year, especially for farmers who do not use irrigation systems.
It is not uncommon to hear pepper farmers in Nigeria saying they will start the process of cultivation of their pepper seeds at a certain date in the year. Planting peppers at certain dates in the year in Nigeria is due to some factors.
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.
The Planting Dates for Pepper in Nigeria
Below are the planting dates of pepper in Nigeria:
The month of March can be one of the planting dates of pepper in Nigeria. Some may argue that it is the best month to plant pepper in Nigeria.
A pepper farmer can start his nursery in March with the expectation that rains will commence in April when he will transplant the pepper seedlings.
Planting in March can be risky if you do not have an irrigation system in place.
Pepper can also be planted in April in Nigeria. Rain fed pepper farmers often commence the process of pepper cultivation in April with the expectation that the rains will start in April.
There is a risk that if the rains does not commence in April as hoped, the pepper plants may not survive.
Pepper can also be planted in the month of May. However, the frequency of rainfalls in the month of May can increase the risks of fungal diseases that can wreck the pepper farm. Some farmers avoid planting peppers in the rainy season because of the fear of fungal diseases.
Some farmers in spite of the high volume of rainfall in June still cultivate peppers. There is a high risk of fungal diseases in this month.
For those with irrigation systems especially drip irrigation system, they can cultivate pepper at any date or time in the year. Irrigation removes the need for a farmer to plant his pepper crop at a particular date.
Some farmers in Nigeria plant pepper at the beginning of the year in order to harvest and sell in May – July. The prices of pepper in May – July every year are usually very high.