POTATO FARMING IN NIGERIA – A COMPLETE GUIDE WITH PICTURES

Potato is popular for its use to make many delicacies, but have you ever wondered how this potato crop is cultivated?, this is why I am writing this article – Potato farming in Nigeria-a complete guide with pictures.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about potato and it’s cultivation guide/process.

In many countries of the world, especially in Nigeria, potato is a very lucrative business as it provide employment to the masses, good source of revenue for both the agriculturists who are into potato farming and the country, as potato is exported to other countries as trade.
Apart from the revenue this crop provides, it is a very good source of energy food as it contains high volume of carbohydrate which is good for the body.
with all said, let’s dive into the main topic of the article.

POULTRY VS CATFISH BUSINESS | Agric...
POULTRY VS CATFISH BUSINESS | Agriculture Business In Nigeria

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHAT IS POTATO

TYPES OF POTATO

POTATO FARMING PROCESS

WHICH MONTH DO YOU PLANT POTATOES

HOW TO CONTROL WEED ON POTATO FARM

HOW TO HARVEST POTATO FARM

STORAGE

USES OF POTATO

IS POTATO FARMING PROFITABLE?

WHAT IS POTATO

According to Oxford dictionary, potato is a starchy plant tuber, which is one of the most important food crops cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
The origin of potato can be traced in the region of modern-day southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia around 8000 and 5000 BC, it has since spread around the world and become a staple crop in many countries of the world.

Potato, a tuber crop and also a food crop which comes in many shapes, colours and sizes, it has many types and is grown mainly as food and it is a very good source of starch and carbohydrate and rich in vitamins. It is eaten by either boiling,frying and can be used to cook all kinds of recipe and delicacies.

TYPES OF POTATO

SWEET POTATOES: These type of potato tubers are very sweet and delicious! The awesome sweetness of this type of potato can be commonly gotten in two types. The oblong-shaped and pointed tip red sweet potatoes, it have a reddish-brown skin and sweet, moist orange flesh.

The other type of sweet potato is Cuban, white or boniato, it has a light tan skin and yellow, more dry flesh. Both work well for roasting, steaming,baking, boiling, mashed or pureed, and used in desserts like pies, muffins, and bread. it can even be spiralized into noodles If you’ve cleaned and dried the thick skins well, you can roast them for a crispy treat, plus they pack fiber and nutrients.

Yams are less sweet compared to sweet potatoes. They can have a flesh that is white to even deep red in color and can be substituted for sweet potatoes depending on the applications.

WHITE POTATO: These round or oblong shaped potatoes have a thin golden-colored skin, with a yellow or sometimes whitish flesh that is waxy in texture. This type of potato is also known as all-purpose potatoes and it comes in White Rose or Finnish yellow varieties. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted or sauteed.

Yukon Gold is another variety/type of white potato that is round, medium-sized, with a thin, a tender pale yellow skin. They are good for their creamy golden flesh that has a buttery flavor. They can be boiled, baked, roasted or fried.

RED POTATO: These roundish, smallish and reddish thin-skinned potatoes have a white and waxy flesh that is creamy when cooked. They can come in the Red Bliss, Norland, and Red Pontiac variety. They work well for crispy roasted potatoes, boiled, steamed, or simmered for soups and stews.

PURPLE POTATO: This great and regal colored Spuds have a thin deep purple colored skin and bright purple, firm and starchy flesh, with an earthy and slightly nutty flavour. When cooked, the skins darken, while the flesh slightly lightens in color. They can be roasted, boiled, simmer and steamed. Larger purple potatoes are good for baking and light mashing.

The uncommon thing about this potato is the extra antioxidants coming from anthocyanins in the purple flesh and skin for extra plant nutrients! They come in Purple Majesty, Purple Peruvian, All Blue, and Purple Viking to name a few.

POTATO FARMING PROCESS

I have explained both the meaning/definition of potato and the types of potato above, now let’s dive into how to farm potato and the farming process.

Potato as I said earlier is one of the root or tuber crops just like yam, cassava etc, it is planted and the root or tuber harvested as the main food. Before thinking of farming or cultivating potato, you must first of all have farm land where the farming will take place. Let’s assume you have a land already, and if not, I suggest you go and buy land in the rural areas because it is always cheap there compared to towns or cities. After you are through with getting your land, the next action is to plough the land, clear the bush in it and rake the rocks and unwanted dirt’s because potatoes does not dwell in an unfit environment, also check the type of soil before you proceed and avoid Sandy or un rich soil for your own good.

Like i said, plough the land, and make it a 6 inch deep and give like 2 feet interval so that the potatoes could have enough space when they grow. After ploughing or digging the ground, add manure to the ground. ( I always recommend manures because they are natural and have no side effects). plant your potato seeds or stem depending on the type of potato involved! it is important to make research before chosing the type to cultivate,so that you have good knowledge of what you are about to cultivate. After planting your potatoes,cover them with earth like about 2 inches.

Another good point to consider is the condition of the potatoes and the climate. Do not buy potato seeds that are not good or that have started to rot, they won’t germinate and you will only waste your time for nothing. Also consider the climate of the place you site your farm, make sure there is adequate or enough sun shine in the farm because it help the potatoes, trim trees especially trees like palm trees around the farm so that more sunshine and air will enter the farm, and water from time to time, maybe within a 3 days interval for they need it to sprout and grow.

WHICH MONTH DO YOU PLANT POTATOES

Talking of the right month to plant potatoes, although the time and period of planting this root or tuber crop varies, depending on the climate and weather of such environment.

In Europe, America and Asia, the potato crops are planted after spring. This is because potatoes are affected so much by wet weather or waterlogged environment, so they do not do well in this weather, so you should avoid cultivating this kind of crop in such environment.

In Africa, August to December is the right time to cultivate potato because like I said above, they do not like waterlogged environment and from August to December is to only time you have dry season or dry weather in Africa, and thus the right time to plant it.

Potatoes take about 2 to 3 months to mature enough for harvest.

HOW TO CONTROL WEED ON POTATO FARM

Weed is one of the unavoidable misfortune in agriculture. Every crop you can think of is attacked by weed at some stage in their life cycle, although some ineffective and some destructively effective. Potatoes are not different from this, potato farm do grow weed and if adequate care is not taken to remove might lead to either the death of those growing potatoes or undergrowth or poor harvest.

At about 3 to 6 weeks of planting potatoes, weed may sprout from any angle and attack the crops! at this stage, you need to take care of them immediately you see any sign of them by removing them with anything be it hands, hoe, Cutlass or even chemicals that could kill them. Also watch out for any sign of diseases or pest and take care of them also once you notice any.
Try and remove the weed as soon as possible because they breed both pest and diseases to your potato crops.

HOW TO HARVEST POTATO FARM

After dealing with weed, pest and diseases affecting your potato farm/field, you now need to relax knowing that your work is through and the next work is very exciting which is to harvest your potato farm.

Potatoes take roughly about 3 months to mature and be ready for harvest from the day it was planted. Within this period of maturity, the leaves will start to turn from Green to gray and some will begin to dry and fell off, this is how you know that is is now mature an is ready for harvest. If you start seeing this, congrats, you have made it to the end and it is now time to reap your reward of hard work and labor. The next question you might be wondering is “How do I harvest them?”. don’t worry,I got you covered!

To harvest a potato, you need to have hoe, or Cutlass or even shovel, as potato is just like yam and cassava, it is harvested through it’s root which in right in the ground and covered by earth.
Dig around the potatoes with a shovel and give a distance of about 10 inch so that to avoid cutting the potatoes into pieces with your shovel. Dig deep and bring out the potatoes. Although you can do it with Cutlass and hoe, but shovel is more preferable. After you might have been through harvesting, do keep them on hot sun as the sun might spoil them and make some toxic and poisonous for human consumption.

STORAGE

After harvesting,the most important step next is storage. imagine havesting many tons of potatoes that you cannot use for yourself alone or immediately or you need to preserve and taken to the market some other time, this is where storage comes in.

ROOT CELLAR STORAGE SYSTEM: Root cellar storage is a traditional storage system where the potatoes are stored in a cool dark place where they are not at the risk of either rotting, freezing or being attacked by pests. If you don’t have a good cellar, an unheated garage is ok for this, first of all, you need to prepare the potatoes because you can not just harvest them, take them there and heap them and leave them there!. You need to be careful while harvesting to avoid cutting them and if you mistakenly cut any one, please try not to store it,. this is to say, eat any one that is cutted immediately.

Take the ones you want to store, take every dirt’s of them, wrap them in papers and put aside on a dark Conner for 2 weeks without touching them, then after 2 weeks, take them out and store them in your cellar. This is necessary because newly harvested potatoes lack the thick layer to protect them from rot, hence if you put them immediately in the cellar, they will rot, this process of wrapping in a paper is to help them develop the thick layer they need to protect themselves and last longer while being stored!.

REBURY : The 2nd option is to REBURY them! after harvesting them, dig holes of 6 inches and rebury them into bottom of the holes, cover them with earth and protect the place with paper or any thing so as to avoid rain from falling on them and probably spoiling them. This method makes them fresh when ever you dig them out again.

SLICE AND BLANCHE POTATOES FOR FREEZING: If you have the space available, it may be worth it to store some of your potatoes harvest in the freezer.

Not only is it more palatable than canning, but frozen potatoes can last a lot longer time, which normally supercede the results from storing in a root cellar.

The first step is to peel your potatoes and put them in cold water, ensure they’re submerged so they don’t turn brown. Chop up larger potatoes so that all the pieces are approximately the same size to ensure even cooking.

Next, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, give the potatoes a second rinse before blanching them in the water for three to five minutes, depending on their size.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the potato pieces from the water and plunge them into a bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process before the spuds become mushy.

Once cool, drain the potatoes and put them in a quality freezer bag. Using a vacuum sealer is best because it pulls out more air that can lead to spoiling.

When you’re ready to eat your potatoes, pull a bag out of the freezer, allow it to defrost, and cook as usual.

You will have a better texture if you let them defrost in the fridge overnight rather than using the microwave.

USES OF POTATO

There are many uses or importance of potato, in this article, am going to classify them into groups.

FOOD: Potato is a good food for both people and animals, as I stated earlier above, it is a very good source of carbohydrate and starch and can serve as many delicacies like fried Potato, potato chips, porridge Potato,baked potato, mashed potatoes, Potato pancake etc.

Apart from humans, animals do use it as food like pig, sheep and goats etc, you need to boil it and give it to any of these animals and it is very good for their body.
Talking about food, it also serves as a very good manure to crops, he certainly the peel is taken to the farm, especially vegetable farm, and spreed on the farmland and it will rot and give the land more nutrients there by aiding the growth of anything planted in that farmland.

MEDICINE: It is no news that fruits and vegetables when eaten properly can render many types of help to our health, Potato is not exempted hence it is a vegetable. Potatoes contain some nutrients,that when cooked and taken properly will aid the health in many ways like providing vitamins to the body. Helping the body to build and maintain strong bone by providing calcium to the body. It helps the body to maintain it’s blood pressure by providing potassium. potassium,fiber and it’s various vitamins help the health of the heart. Potatoes contain folate which play a role in preventing cancer. It also helps the Metabolism, Skin, Immune system to function properly, so Potato has many medicinal values to render.

INDUSTRIAL VALUES: Potato is used by the pharmaceuticals industries, wood industries, textile industries etc.

IS POTATO FARMING PROFITABLE?

This question has been asked and is being asked by people. My simple answer is yes! if it is not profitable,nobody would dare to farm potatoes in a commercial quantity as it will be waste of time and energy to do so. So it is very profitable! In my locality, 10 pieces of potatoes is priced about #200 to #300 depending on their sizes.

CONCLUSION

I hope you have learned a lot from this article, please do well to share and don’t forget to ask any confusing question you might have via my email.

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