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11 Tips to Start Castor Crop Cultivation Business in Nigeria

Castor Crop Cultivation:We have a weed around here called Castor Oil Plant and it comes up all along our creeks.

It has large-lobed leaves that makes it easy to recognise and identify.

Castor, botanically known as Ricinus communis, is a herbaceous perennial plant.

It can be grown as an annual or perennial, depending on the weather.

There are all sorts of different common names for native species and weeds alike.

Castor Crop Cultivation

And I didn’t think this weed was the real Castor Oil Plant.

But rather some importer that looked like a plant from ‘the old country’.

Much to my surprise, it is the real Castor Oil Plant – the plant we get castor oil from.

After investigating further, I have a new found respect for this weedy nuisance.

Castor Oil Plant ( Ricinus communis ) is a plant not to be messed with.

Castor Crop Cultivation

It packs a powerful punch full of nasty chemicals waiting for the fool-hardy.

It also produces castor oil – that tormentor of small children with any hint of constipation or bad temper.

“You need a good dose of castor oil” is sure to send shivers up many an old person.

Happily it is not used for that anymore (I hope).

Castor oil works as a laxative and purgative.

The main ingredient, ricinolein, is a triglyceride (or triple-chain fatty acid).

Which can cause cramping in the bowel.

It is usually safe but using too much is life- threatening due to chronic dehydration.

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Castor Crop Cultivation

Other chemicals in castor oil include oleic acid.

An omega 9 fatty acid found in avocados and olive oil.

And linoleic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid found in the lipids of cell membranes).

The plant contains a number of mild toxins, some allergenic, and one real snorter, mainly found in the seed.

Ricin is the lethal toxin in castor oil seeds. It is lethal to humans and stock.

Ricin attacks the ribosome in cells, preventing the production of essential proteins, thus causing the cell to die.

Castor Crop Cultivation

The seed is only toxic if the outer shell is broken and the seed is chewed.

Ricin is thankfully destroyed by heating during the oil extraction process.

Castor Oil Plant is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family.

It is a shrub to 3 metres, with large multi-lobed leaves (7-9 lobes) and red branches.

Leaflets are toothed. Flower spikes contain separate female and male flowers.

The female flowers have prominent red stigmas.

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Castor Crop Cultivation

Seed pods are green, round, spikey balls that explode when ripe.

Seeds have a ‘caruncle’ – a handle for ants to grab and carry them away.

Using ants to spread seeds is called ‘myrmecochory’.

Castor Oil Plant originates from the Mediterranean, East Africa and India.

It is grown commercially mainly in India, China and Brazil.

Picking the crop can lead to long term health problems due to a build- up of toxins.

And I doubt if there are many old castor oil pickers.

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Castor Crop Cultivation

The weed has now spread around the world in tropical and subtropical areas, especially along waterways.

Treatment is by hand-pulling (wearing gloves of course, and don’t eat the leaves) or by foliar spray or cut-stump methods.

Talk to your Land for Wildlife Officer about specific herbicides for Castor Oil Plant.

I do wonder what, if anything, all this ricing from Castor Oil Plants is doing to our aquatic and riparian ecosystems?

Thankfully we no longer live in times when “everyone needs a good dose of castor oil.

As the cure might be worse than the disease.

Castor Crop Cultivation

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1.Castor Crop Cultivation: Conditions for Growing Castor plant

Castor plant grows quickly and as it is native to tropics, it needs heat and warm temperature to grow, the optimal cultivation temperature is 77 – 86 F (25 – 30 ° C) with a good amount of light.

It is also possible to grow castor oil plant in coastal areas.

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2. Castor Crop Cultivation:Propagation

Growing castor beans plant is possible by seeds. Soak castor seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours before planting. Use filtered or purified water instead of tap water.

3. Castor Crop Cultivation:Castor plant sowing

Sow castor seeds 1 inches deep and space the seeds at least 3 feet away.

Keep the soil moist and transplant them to bigger pot or in the garden when the two real leaves emerge.

In the garden, space castor plants 3 feet apart.

Add some well-rotted compost in the planting hole.

For growing castor beans in a pot, choose a large container and use potting mix or make it yourself by mixing equal parts of soil, perlite, peat and compost.

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4.Castor Crop Cultivation:Requirements for Growing Castor plant

Soil

The soil has to be rich in organic substance.

And must be well drained much as it does not tolerate water logging.

Castor plant is quite adaptable to many types of soil.

Sun

Castor loves the sun but needs to be sheltered from the prevailing winds because of its height.

Watering

Castor plant prefers the soil to be always slightly moist.

In winter, reduce watering and let the soil to dry out between watering spells.

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5.Castor Crop Cultivation: Sowing

Castor bean is usually planted at the start of the rainy season.

During the later part of May and early June.

Or at the end of the rainy season in the late September and early October.

Sow in such dates / periods as to avoid wet weather in 2nd half of the crops life.

Castor bean seeds for planting must be healthy, vigorous, hardy and come from prolific mother plants.

After the seedbed has been deeply cultivated, seeds in mechanized countries are planted 4–7.5 cm deep in rows 1 m apart; and about 50 cm apart within rows (some varieties can be planted just 25 cm apart).

For unmechanized societies that prefer larger varieties.

Seeds are planted 60 by 90 cm apart, 2–4 seeds per hole, and then thinned to one plant.

6. Castor Crop Cultivation:Land Preparation

For good growth, castor requires a well pulverised seed bed with loose sub-soil upto 45 cm depth.

For annual varieties the seedbed must be weed free as young plants are delicate.

Good weed control is essential, both pre- and post-emergence.

It does not require fine tilth, but for germination it requires adequate moisture for a longer period in seed bed, preferably to a depth of 15-20 cm.

7.Castor Crop Cultivation: Castor  Plant Care

Fertilizer

Fertilize the castor plant once a month with an all-purpose fertilizer.

Spread a layer of an inch of aged manure or compost around the base of plant when the buds begin to emerge.

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Pruning

Pruning is not necessary for castor plant.

8. Castor Crop Cultivation:Harvesting

Select the bean pods as they begin to dry on the plant.

Either remove the castor plants from the garden with pods or leave them if growing as perennial.

Wear garden gloves, long-sleeved shirt and long pants during harvesting castor beans and disposal of plants.

9. Castor Crop Cultivation:Pests and Diseases

It is not susceptible to any pests or diseases

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10. Castor Crop Cultivation :Production

Castor oil and its derivatives also find major application in soaps, grease, hydraulic brake fluids and perfumery products as well.

Castor oil is a basic ingredient in the production of nylon 11.

Jet engine lubricants, nylon 610.

Heavy duty automotive greases, coatings and inks, surfactants, polyurethanes, polishes, flypapers, and many other chemical derivatives and medicinal, pharmaceutical and cosmetic derivatives.

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11.Castor Crop Cultivation: Warnings

  • Keep the castor plant away from the reach of children.
  • The toxic called ricin is mainly contained in the seeds but it is also found in castor leaves in low amount.
  • In any case ingestion of any part of castor plant should be avoided.
  • Castor plant can be allergic to some people but it is not poisonous when touched.
  • If you have pets make sure they do not eat the castor seeds or leaves.

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Conclusion:

Castor (Ricinus communis L.) is cultivated around the world because of the commercial importance of its oil.

India is said to be the world’s largest producer of castor seed.

And meets most of the global demand for castor oil.

Nigeria imports over N30 billion worth of castor oil every year despite having arable and fertile land.

And climatic conditions suitable for its farming.

It is crystal clear that only very few Nigerians are taking advantage of the present opportunities in the different agriculture value chains

Castor Crop Cultivation

Numerous opportunities abound in castor farming.

As a potential farmer or investor can make up to N50 million on 10 hectares of land over a period of seven years.

Due to its more than 1000 uses and over 80 health benefits.

Which is why it is regarded as miracle seed.

The oil extract from the plant is one of its most economically valuable aspects that companies around the world cannot do without on daily basis.

Because of its unlimited industrial applications, castor oil enjoys tremendous demand worldwide.

The current consumption of castor oil and its derivatives in the domestic market is estimated at about 300,000 tonnes.

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Castor Crop Cultivation

Castor oil’s application range is very wide with uses ranging from paints, synthetic resins and varnishes.

To the areas of national security involving engineering plastics.

Jet engine lubricants and polymers for electronics and telecommunications.

Potential farmers and investors are advised to consult an expert in castor farming.

On where to get good seeds and other inputs before venturing into castor farming business.


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