The article is designed to give you an in-depth information on how to start a home or commercial carrot farming business in Nigeria. In other words, this article is a complete carrot farming guide.
Carrot farming in Nigeria is a lucrative business when properly managed. Many people consume carrots within and outside Nigeria. Carrots are crunchy. The largest carrots producing state in Nigeria is Plateau State and this is due to their type of land and weather. However, you can grow carrots virtually in any state in Nigeria provided that you manage it well.
Carrot is consumed in different ways and they include salad preparation and food decoration. Examples of such food decorations is fried rice. Many Nigerians are yet to discover the opportunity that goes with carrot farming. Before I proceed to how to start carrot farming, let’s look at the some of nutritional content of carrots
Consider reading…How to start Garden Egg farming in Nigeria
Nutritional Content of Carrots
Carrots contain many nutrients like minerals, vitamins, protein, fats, carbohydrates, energy and water. The minerals consist of iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and sodium. Raw carrots have 9 percent of carbohydrates, 0.2 percent of fat, 1 percent of ash, 2.8 percent of dietary fibre, 0.9 percent of protein and 88 percent of water. Carrots’ dietary fibres are made up of cellulose with some portions of starch, hemicellulose and lignum. Free sugars inside carrots consists of fructose, glucose and sucrose.
Read more on…Health Benefits of Carrots
If you want to embark on carrot farming business in Nigeria and you don’t know how to go about it, here are steps to start, cultivate, harvest and make money on carrot farming in Nigeria
How to start, cultivate, harvest & make money on carrot farming in Nigeria
- Get a land – the first step to start carrot farming is to get suitable land. Whether it is substantial or commercial carrot farming, you need a suitable fertile land. The size of the land you will need depends on your capital. You can raise capital for your carrot farming using through these ways
- Prepare the land – first, clear the land of debris and stump. Ensure loosening of soil as you do this. Some states in Southern Nigeria have soft land like Akwa Ibom. Loosing the soil helps the carrot to grow well. Plough the land on the surface and raise the beds to regulate the quality of water and erosion. Compost manure should be mixed with soil so as to promote yield. Avoid the use of dung that is fresh in order to avoid burning the crops off. Sandy loam soil is preferable since this is good for carrots. Do not use water logged, clay and rocky soil.
- Plant the carrots – The seeds of carrots are smaller since it takes much time to grow and this is about 12-14 days. Moist the soil in order to let it grow. Irrigation can help. Plant the seeds in various rows to enable you know where they are since the seeds are tiny.
- 2 seeds can go to a hole that has a depth between 4 and 5cm. Do not plant this on the surface to prevent damages.
- Thin the seedlings when they are up to 2cm so as to give room for expansion.
- This thinning should be between 2 and 4 weeks. Thin it in such a way that crops in the row are between 4cm and 10cm apart. Make use of knife for pruning since using hand may cause root damage.
Factors you need to consider that Influence Carrot Growth
- Planting space
- Loose soil
4. Apply fertilizer – You can apply manure after a month before you apply the next one. Apply some urea after you thin. After 15 days you apply again. Add phosphorus with potassium after you thin. These nutrients are good for vegetable plants. 50 kilograms of urea can serve in one hectare while 75kg of phosphorus and potassium is applicable too in a hectare. Mixing greensand and phosphate produce NPK with a ratio of 1:9:3. It helps crops to yield more.
5. Weed and apply irrigation to your carrot farm – Water the plant on a regular basis and ensure the soil is moist when the seeds germinate and enlarge. The roots split if it is not watered on time. Plant your carrot in the rainy season. Water should not be too much but should be moderate. You can start weeding too weeks after you plant while the next weeding can be after about 4 to 5 weeks.
6. Control pests and diseases – Pests and diseases affect plants. Powders, mildew makes the leaves to get spotted using white pellicle after which it dries off.
- Brown galls and the yellowing of diseases should be controlled with fungicides. Nematodes, lesions with brown spots influence the root.
- Use of resistant varieties can reduce diseases.
- Do not overcrowd the seeds and ensure agronomy management.
Carrot root fly is one main disease to avoid in rearing carrots. These root flies come through foliage smell which is very intense. Carrot root fly is among the pests to avoid and they are flies having white maggots. This digs into the flesh of the crop causing rotting. Cover-cropping can be an option here since it can help to remove carrot fly. Reduce your thinning.
Other diseases of carrots – Another disease of carrot is the Alternaria leaf blight and this is called Xanthomonas campestris. Galls or forked roots can be caused by root knot nematodes. Pythium sulcatum causes tensions and irregular shape. The process by which there is a longitudinal crack when growth is taking place is called splitting. This growth can be between few centimetres across the root’s length. The factors that cause this splitting are sowing too early, genotype, space of plants and growth.
Companion plants – Companion plants are of some benefits to carrots. The smell coming from companion plants can repel some diseases like carrot root fly. Examples of such companion plants are radishes, tomatoes and lettuce including sage and herbs. Carrots tends to survive amidst coriander, Swan River daisy, marigold, caraway and chamomile. Carrots themselves can serve as good companions for some plants too.
- Harvest the carrots – It takes 4 months for carrots to be ready for harvest. You can harvest it by pulling it out using hand because of the softness of the ground. Spade can be used for harvesting. Late harvesting causes cracking. Remove the top by cutting it after harvesting. This will enable it to be fresh before it is consumed since it prevents rotting. It is preferable to harvest the carrots once since the carrots will then have much flies. Harvesting should be when carrots are still fresh since the flavour is then better. Grab the upper part and then pull it out gently. You can use a trowel but do not break the roots during harvest.
- Thin the harvested carrots – The evening time is the best time to thin the carrots. Thinning the carrots requires an efficient and quick exercise since their smell can attract some pests. It is preferable to do this once and do not litter the foliage all over the place. Pull up the seedlings that are excessive in order to have a space of about 3 to 4cm between 2 seedlings.
- Store the carrots – You can store carrots by placing them in sand or peat that have some moisture. Place them in a dark, cool place with frost. You can keep them for some months. Use the damaged roots inside the kitchen or throw them away since they will rot faster and then spread to others. You can cut off the entire leaves and then put it inside moist sand in a free shed. You can store carrots for many months inside the refrigerator or over the winter in a cool and moist place. Place the carrot inside a bucket and this should be between sand layers if you are storing for a long time. You can place in wood shavings, 50/50 sand mix and inside the soil. The best temperature conditions are between 32°F to 40°F and this is equivalent between 0 and 5°C.
Carrots are very nutritious and is consumed in different ways in the country. You can eat it raw, cook it with salad or with rice as fried rice. It is a vegetable crop.
Classification of carrots
Carrots actually have 2 classifications which are Western and Eastern carrots. The Eastern class of carrots have carrots with branches and are yellow or purple in colour. The colours are from anthocyanin pigments. Western cultivars have orange colour and this comes from adequate carotenes in the cultivars. Danvers carrots have roots foliage and these roots are lengthier than that of Chantaney. Their shapes are conical, tapering and well defined. The length of Dancers carrots is short compared to Imperator but they are resistant to adverse soil conditions. Dancers are fresh for processing and can store efficiently.
- Thumberline – This grows to up to 2 inches and they have smaller size. The best way to grow them is through the use of containers.
- Chantenay (red–cored) – The carrots are stout and have a red orange colour. It is able to grow between 15 and 18cm which is equivalent to 6 inches. Even though the roots tends to be shorter than the rest of the cultivars, they have some girth and foliage. They have round tip, broad shoulders. Chantenay carrots can have durable storage capacity and is useful for processing. 2 cultivars of Chantenay carrots are Red Cored or Carson Hybrid.
- Imperator – They have fruit that is tampered with some length. The Imperator have much sugar content, slender and strong foliage. It has 2 cultivars which are Sugarsnax Hybrid.
- Nantes – This specie is crispy, large and sweet. Nantes carrots have cylindrical and high yields. Their blue tip is shorter than that of Imperator and their skin is very delicate with much core pigments. They have much sugar content and are brittle. Nantes does not store like the others.
The cultivars of Nantes include Sweetness Hybrid, Nelson Hybrid and Scarlet Nantes.
Sales and Marketing of your Carrot in Nigeria
You can sell your harvested carrot to market men and women. You also supply to places like;
- Salad Stores
Carrot production in Nigeria is still low, so locate potential buyers and tell them you are into carrot farming business. There is a huge demand so advertise online or with the word of mouth and tell people what you do.
Is Carrot Farming Profitable?
You can get above 50% return for investing. It takes only 4 months to grow making leasing possible. More hands are needed to ensure efficient carrot supply in Nigeria. The demand increases in the festive season.
How to promote your carrot farming business
Go to the market, meet with women and men sell carrot in large quantities and introduction yourself to them as commercial carrot farmer. Inform people you cultivate carrots. You can place adverts online or with the word of mouth.
Many people are fond of eating carrots in Nigeria but not many people are cultivating carrots. There is still need for more cultivation making the business a lucrative business in Nigeria.