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How To Start A Profitable Watermelon Farming Business In Nigeria: Techniques & Manual

Watermelon is one of the most lucrative crops in the farming business for farmers and investors as the fruit is one of the most consumed in the world today. The time has never been right to start a watermelon farming business as the crop is been continuously cultivated due to its numerous health benefits and is presently one of the most cultivated crops in the world meaning there is a higher chance of success and huge returns if you choose to invest in this business venture.

Water Melon Farming Manual

In this article is a breakdown of how to start watermelon
farming in Nigeria.

How
to Create a Watermelon Farming Business Plan

When creating a business plan for watermelon farming,
there are many important things to consider ensuring you make enough profit
from the venture. Watermelon farming is highly profitable and wouldn’t incur many
costs in the planting, post planting and harvesting operations.

Site
Selection                              

Compared to some crops which are quite selective about the
kind of soil they can thrive in, watermelons are quite tolerant and will grow
well in any part of the country. However, the crop tends to thrive better in
the hot and dry climate of the North which is the main reason why the bulk of
watermelons are produced there, although they are mostly consumed by the Southern
part of the country.

Capital
and Expected Profits

The endpoint of any business venture is to make profits
and also keep expenses minimal. When organizing your business plan it is
important to take into consideration the cost of acquiring a site, buying
seeds, farming equipment, fertilizers, planting, harvesting, transportation and
storage.

Your capital and farming techniques will determine how
large your watermelon farm will be and how much profit you will make in the
end.

Watermelon
Farming Manual

Soil
Selection

When picking a site, you should note the kind of soil on
the site as watermelons thrive in sandy or loamy soil. The crop also occupies a
large amount of space, so you might want to pick large site depending on the
amount you wish to cultivate.

Time
for Watermelon Planting

The ideal planting period for watermelons is at the start
of the rainy season or towards the end of the season. Although the crop can be
planted at any time as long as there is adequate water supply through
irrigation.

Northern
Part of Nigeria

For those in Northern Nigeria, the ideal planting period
is usually May and/or July.

Southern
Part of Nigeria

It is well known that the Southern part of the country
experiences more rainfall than the North, and it is important you avoid
planting during the time of rains. The ideal planting period for this part of
the country is in the months of March, Late June or early July and September.

Seed
Selection

Watermelon plants have many varieties which gives you
several options to pick from. However, the most popular varieties of watermelon
are the Congo and Crimson Sweet varieties.

If you are not sure about the quality of a watermelon
seed, you can check them by dipping them in a 3 – 5% solution of salt. The
seeds that sink to the bottom of the solution are termed well enough and can be
prepared for sowing.

You can also enhance the immune system of the plants by
drying the seeds under the sun for a week prior to planting.

Watermelon Farming Techniques – Planting Operations

Pre-Planting
Operation

The site is to be ploughed before the watermelon seeds can
be planted. The seeds can be planted the same day the land is ploughed or the
day after.

Watermelon can be planted either on flat land or on ridges
depending on the soil type and the number of watermelons to be planted.
Planting on ridges is advisable for clayey soils and if you desire to grow them
in commercial (large) quantities. However, the soil should be well drained as
watermelon plants can’t thrive in water-logged environment which makes it futile
to plant during the rainy season.

Planting
Operation

The method of planting depends on the variety you are
going for. Generally, the plant rows should be 2 metres apart and spaced 1 foot
apart. Some varieties of watermelon will require more space such as the Congo
or Crimson Sweet which ridges should be at least 10 feet apart.

When planting dig a hole of depth 30cm and diameter of 1m,
you can make about 10 holes in one ridge and plant one seed per hole.

Post-planting
Operation

Post-planting operations include adding manure, watering
and checking the plants from time to time for signs of growth, maturity and
pest and disease infestation.

When adding fertilizers or manure, it is advisable to add
humus rather than fresh/organic manure which often affects the taste of the fruit
and weaken the resistance of the plant to disease infestations.

Inorganic fertilizers like Potassium and Phosphorus should
be added as they improve quality of the fruit and hasten to ripen. Also, during
early growth the plants require high levels of nitrogen, however, you should
reduce the supply once the plant flowers and fruits.

Irrigation should be done once a week until the plants
become mature; you can also increase the humidity of the soil by adding mulch to
the soil. Mulch doesn’t only increase the moisture in the soil but also prevent
weed growth

Pest
Infestation

The watermelon is attacked by one main pest known as the
leaf-eating beetle. The beetle feeds on the leaves of the plant thereby disrupt
its growth. You can easily get the plant to recover from the attack by simply
improving soil conditions of the plant and the plant will fight off the
infestation itself.

Disease
Infestation

Mildew is a fungus that also affects the leaves of the
plant. Overhead watering and allowing the leaves of the plant to stay wet for
too long can lead to the disease. To prevent the disease simply avoid overhead
watering and dry the leaves of the plant in due time.

Harvesting

Watermelons take about 3 months to mature and then they
are ready for harvest. There are several signs of maturity or ripening you
should watch out for which includes drying of the tendrils, uniform colour, a
dull sound when flapping the fruit and also a crackling sound at the rind when
pressure is placed on the watermelon.

Colour changes will also signal maturity, as a watermelon
ripe for harvesting will have a yellow color at the part closest to the soil.

How
To Harvest Watermelons

Simply cut the stem with a sharp knife close to the fruit.

Once harvested, you can simply move them to specific delivery points and to the hands of the final consumers.

This manual may not have been provided in a PDF format but it has all basic techniques, strategies, manual on how to profitably start a water Melon farming business here in Nigeria. This method is also applicable anywhere in the world just that some techniques might be altered due to the varying climatic conditions of the environment where it is being planted.

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