Guide on how to start apple farming in Nigeria, step by step process and other info to plant bell apple.
Apples don’t grow in africa…I am sure you have hard this countless time. If you haven’t, I have and I am telling you. However, this is entirely not true. Accepted, we live in the tropics and bell apple is a temperate plant. But with a twist and doing the right thing, you can get apple to grow in Nigeria in places like the Jos Plateau, mambilla and the Obudu plateau.
Planting apples is highly lucrative and the fruit is in high demands. From statistics, about 50,000 tonnes of Apple are into annually into Nigeria so why not seize the opportunity and make yourself some money. Forget the lies, no White man injected anything into the fruit to prevent it from growing in Nigeria.
Apart from bringing profits, bell apple also has its health benefits, lets take a look at some of the medical gains of eating this fruit.
- Apples helps fight heart diseases and lowers cholesterol.
- Apple contains an immunity booster antioxidant called quercetin.
- Eating apples makes you look younger.
- Apples contain fibre that prevents overeating and helps fights excess weight gain.
- Research has shown that apples lower the risk of diabetes.
- Apples promotes brain health.
- The antioxidants in apples are also useful in preventing some types of cancers as well as alzheimer’s and parkinson’s disease.
- Apples helps fight against mouth odour.
- Apples is a good source of vitamin C that helps you fight against diseases.
However, apples are mostly used to produce consumer and pharmaceutical products like jellies, apple cider vinegar, pickles, and red wine.
With over 90 million tonnes of apples which are planted world wide, China alone accounts for half that quantity on an annual basis followed by the United States of America.
Today in our country, apples are being imported to be consumed from the U.S, South Africa, China e.t.c. According to research, about 50, 000 tons is being imported yearly.
Since consumption of apples in the country is on the high, it is only right we find ways to grow this natural fruit locally and meedt the ever growing demand of farming apples in Nigeria.
What kind of apple can be grown in Nigeria?
Research shows that the type of apple that could be grown in large quantities in Nigeria is the Bell apple. This kind of apple is nutritious with both sweet and sour taste. This depends on the ripeness of the fruit. There are also mixed varieties of bell apple.
Steps To Start Apple Farming In Nigeria
Here is a guide to start bell apple farming:
Step 1: Site Selection
As stated earlier, apples don’t grow everywhere. I don’t need to say it; the places apples don’t grow is far more than the places it grows so you need to make the right choice in terms of selecting a site for your apple plantation.
One of the things that most places lacks in Nigeria to grow this fruit is the is the temperature; Apples strive only in cold environment and that is why they are a temperate plant. They grow at a very low temperature.
An apple plant requires a temperature of less than 7C for at least 6 weeks during the rainy season. This is why it grow in only places like the Jos Plateau. The ideal soil for an apple to grow is loamy soil with a pH of between 5.5 to 6.5.
Also note that Bell apples require adequate humidity and rainfall to thrive. It can tolerate different soil types from sandy to clay. It can also thrive in moderately acidic soil.
Step 2: Planting And Post Planting Activities
Bell apples are planted usually in January/February and requires rainfall of 115-120cm per year. During flooding, the excess water should be drained out quickly to prevent water-logging.
However, in the case of heavy rainfall, there’s no need for irrigation. The frequency of irrigation increases to 4 times a month during the summer and reduces to once a month during winter.
The seeds would need light to germinate. You have to press them gently into the soil with a space of 1 inch apart. Water the seeds and wait for about 3 weeks before it would start to germinate.
You can start selling the seedling 10 weeks after planting. Bell apple seedlings is also on demand because there few farmers in the country planting this kind of apple.
Also, training and pruning of the tree is needed. Pests can be controlled using pest resistant root stock. An apple orchard starts producing fruits at the 7th or 8th years and continues until it is about 35 years though some exceed this years.
Step 3: Harvesting
Normally, before the tree start producing fruits, it usually take three years. Each harvest should yield you at least 1000 fruits with a minimum of 2 harvests within a year.
There is a growing demand for apples in Nigeria and you can harness this opportunity to make yourself some money. If you don’t have enough time, money, space or patience, you try planting the tropical apple such as the Bell Apple, it grows in 34 out of the 36 states of the country.