Start Cocoyam farming: Cocoyam is a popular food crop in Akwa Ibom State and a staple food for many communities in Nigeria.
However this tuber crop is also popular in most tropical regions of the world .
It comes in several varieties. Some varieties are used for soup, others are boiled.
While some are used to make porridge among a long list of recipes.
Little wonder that this crop has continued to grow in popularity among Nigerians and Africans.
However Our focus here is to guide you on how to start a profitable Cocoyam farming business in Akwa Ibom State.
There is no better time than now as the opportunities it offers are tremendous.
Using the information provided here, you have the chance of reaping bountifully as there is currently a huge supply deficit.
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1. Start Cocoyam farming: Know the background
Some people would like to know why cocoyam farming is attractive.
Well, before now, cocoyam farming was popular among small scale/subsistence farmers.
These only cultivated it for personal consumption.
The little left was sold at the market.
All these changed as knowledge increased about the health benefits of Cocoyam.
This will be discussed in greater detail shortly.
As societies became more cosmopolitan.
Cultures were shared and people learnt a great deal about the way of life of each other.
The exchange of food recipes formed a dominant part of this relationship.
This made people discover newer ways to prepare this food crop.
A result of this is the high demand of cocoyam across Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria as a whole.
Some popular cocoyam recipes in Nigeria include Oha soup, Ekpang Nkwukwor, Achicha Ede, used in bitterleaf soup as thickener, and several other dishes.
It is important to note that apart from the cocoyam itself, the leafs are also consumed.
These are also prepared in a variety of ways.
A good thing about cocoyam is that you can prepare it any way you choose to.
With these, you can see that there is great potential for cocoyam farmers.
Meeting the huge supply deficit becomes necessary.
2. Start Cocoyam farming: Know the Health factors
The health factors of cocoyam itself is an incentive.
The less information about the health factors of any crop.
Tthe less likely it is to attract much attention.
Before now, little was known about the health factors of cocoyam.
However research has shown that there is much more than meets the eye.
This tuber crop contains a good amount of Thiamine, Copper, Manganese, Niacine, Calcium, Vitamins B6, A, E and C.
Other nutrients include Zinc, Pottassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Riboflavin, and Protein. These are very important food nutrients obtained from Cocoyam.
3.Start Cocoyam farming: Acquire the Land
Commercial cocoyam farming requires a sizeable farmland.
A major part of production cost goes into land acquisition.
However owning a farmland will significantly reduce your expenses.
Well drained sandy-loam or loam-clay soil will be best for cultivation.
Getting your seedlings ready are an important requirement as well.
4. Start Cocoyam farming: Land preparation/crops cultivation
The next action to take is farming or cultivating your crop.
This requires tilling the soil.
You can decide to use mounds or ridges.
It is good to apply enough compost manure when farming your crop.
Therefore should be adequate spacing to encourage proper growth.
However proper space management is important.
This ensures proper utilization of farmland.
And as a result encourages bumper harvest.
Higher ridges will encourage deeper penetration.
5. Start Cocoyam farming: Farm tendering
Tending your crop is necessary for bumper harvest.
This involves weeding, as well as piling more soil to the base of the stem.
Adequate spacing will make it easier to do this.
This process ensures your crops get the perfect conditions.
You can choose to cultivate in the dry or rainy season.
Irrigation farming is widely practiced too.
However the same care process applies to all.
6. Start Cocoyam farming: Marketing the products/ profit making
The profit potential of Cocoyam farming is not in doubt.
Although this is the case, work is required..
This work is in the area of marketing your products.
7. Start Cocoyam farming: Join the farmers club or cooperatives
There are several farmer cooperatives that seek to protect the interests of farmers.
Joining one of these is the first step.
If there is non around, you can form one with other farmers.
This gives you a leverage for adequate pricing.
These groups also help in sharing information about buyers.
There’s a lot you can benefit from such associations.
The high demand for it is good for business.
In addition to this, the few who have ventured into the business have not regretted their decisions.
Taking a stroll into any market will reveal that it is not always available all-year round.
This presents an opportunity to exploit!
Therefore taking the bull by the horn is necessary.
8. Start Cocoyam farming: Get the quick tips
Clear up the area meant for planting by ploughing, you can even make uniform ridges.
At a spacing of 1×1 meter place your cormel pieces on the crest of the ridges in a row.
Cover the planted cuttings with soil and gently firm.
Cocoyams don’t require fertilization so it should the least important of your inputs.
Like other crops maintain a clean field by weeding to prevent foliar pests and other disease causing organisms.
At 6 months you can start harvesting your cocoyams in piece meal while leaving the small ones to grow bigger
9. Start Cocoyam farming: Harvesting
Most coco-yam varieties mature in about 8 months from planting.
Harvesting can however start from six months.
This is done by shaking up the plant and uprooting it to bring out the cormel.
The remaining cormel I the soil can also be harvested by digging them out, though care has to be taken not to bruise the cormel for proper storage.
When you are done harvesting, take your product to the market and make sales. cocoyam farming is lucrative as it is a very important commodity in the market and sells very fast.