Egusi farming in Nigeria-The hidden treasure in melon farming
Do you know that egusi (also known as melon) farming in Nigeria is another lucrative farming you can do?
Well…don’t take my word for it.
Many are familiar with egusi soup and the ball stops there.
However, there are other benefits of egusi(melon). For instance, egusi is a raw material for oil that can be used in aviation and other health benefits.
In this article, I will show you the exact steps you’ll need to that to cultivate egusi in Nigeria.
So if questions like:
- How lucrative is egusi farming?
- Is egusi farming lucrative in Nigeria?
- Hidden profit in egusi(melon) business
- How to cultivate melon(egusi)
If such questions keep popping up, then you’re in the right place.
This is simply because if you read the article in its entirety, you’ll know about egusi(melon) farming in Nigeria and beyond.
But before we go into how to cultivate egusi, let’s look at some of the benefits of egusi farming.
Benefits of egusi(melon) farming in Nigeria
Even though egusi farming is profitable, many are yet to know the hidden profit in egusi(melon) business or farming.
So what are the benefits….
- Cultivating of egusi is simple when you compare it to other forms of crops. This is because weed control is pretty simple.
- You get more seeds in one stem. This means with small space, you can get more.
- The leaves are not foods for animals. In other words, you’re sure that no animal will temper with your plant, therefore making it possible for egusi to grow well.
- More and more demand for egusi (apart from soup) is on the increase. This is due to the fact that the need for egusi in health, aviation et al is on the rise.
The demand for egusi will no doubt continue to grow both nationally and internationally. So the demand for egusi as raw material will continue to grow.
This will be great for those who’ll want to start egusi farming in Nigeria.
What this article is not.
Even though egusi farming in Nigeria is lucrative, this article is not about how you can get rich quick from cultivating melon.
What this article will do is to show you the steps you’ll need to follow to plant and grow your egusi. Success can come slowing and when you put the steps into practice. With time, you can know the nitty-gritty of farming egusi.
so if you’re ready, let’s dive in.
How to cultivate egusi(melon) in Nigeria
like any crop you intend to cultivate, egusi farming will need you to follow certain steps in other to ensure that you have a high yield during harvest.
This steps will help you practice the right farming methods which ensure you reduce risk and boost yield during harvest.
The following steps are some of the steps you’ll need to follow to ensure that you meet your target yield at the end of your farming season.
Step 1: Get the knowledge
The fact that egusi farming is lucrative does not mean egusi will just give you the profitability that you need at the end of the day.
Knowledge will be required. This should be what you should be doing on a constant basis. Knowledge will help you know the best farming method you’ll need in other to get the required outcome at the end of the day.
Getting knowledge can be done in two ways:
You can get knowledge online
You reading this article means that you’re seeking knowledge about egusi farming. And that’s why I will give you the required information you’ll need.
Get online and get other materials on how egusi farming is done. You’ll find tons of material that’ll help you.
- Seek knowledge from an experienced farmer
An experienced farmer can also help you with the knowledge you’ll need. When meet and experienced farmer, what you’ll get will be like gold.
By and large, knowledge will help you:
- Know when to plant
- How to prepare your land
- Practices you’ll need to take during the growing stages
- How to harvest your egusi.
This article will address the process involved from start to finish.
Step 2: Get the required seed
The steps to success will be from the type of seed you get you to get.
Egusi seed can be found in the market and can be used as the seed for planting.
The seed you’ll need is the one with its shell on it. Ensure that the seeds are not broken in any way and should be completely dry.
In other to still know if your seed will grow well, you can conduct a seed germination test. This test will help you know if your seed is the right one for planting.
Conducting a seed germination test…
Doing a seed germination test is simple. And the following steps will show you how to go about it.
- Get a container and make several holes. The holes will ensure that water escapes via it.
- Get some sand, preferably loamy-clay soil and fill the container with it. If you can’t figure the soil out, get the soil you know maize or yam can grow on it
- Then water the soil in the morning and evening for two days
- Then like 10 to 15 seeds and plant it.
- Wait and see it germinate.
- Then count the number that grows.
- If 90-80% grows, then you’re to plant two per hole. If less than 80% plant 3 per hole. If less than 70% germinates, then you may want to change your seed.
Step 3: Get the land
Getting land is crucial to your success. Not all farmland works with egusi, the farmland that’s suitable for the melon to grow.
Because egusi doesn’t need water log area, clay soil will not be a suitable land. However, the best form of land is loomy-sandy soil. Or the soil that’s suitable for the growth of maize or yam.
As for the size of the farmland, that’ll depend on your target. But just know that large span of land does not translate into bumper harvest(in some cases it is). It’s how you work the land that’ll guarantee success.
The right soil will ensure the plant grow as required.
Now that you have your land, then let’s move into the next stage…that’s land preparation.
Step 4: Land preparation
Large farmland does not guarantee more yield (in some cases it does), but how you prepare the land is what you translate into the yield you desire.
Land preparation is a key step that you shouldn’t take it for granted.
Land preparation begins from day one, with clearing the land. This is to ensure you remove the large shrubs and other plants that’ll be a problem for the plant.
Then go ahead and use pesticide to control broadleafs, sledges, grasses, and woody in crops.
The herbicide will depend on the type you use. There are the ones you spray that takes up to 7 days before you begin to see the effect. There are the ones that take only 24 hours for the sign to begin to show.
Next, plow the land to form ridges which can be used for planting.
Note: if you have animal manure or farmyard manure, you can introduce it into the land before plowing it. This will help the land have nutrients that can help the plant growth.
Step 5: planting
Planting egusi is pretty simple after you’ve finished the land preparation.
You can plant 2-3 seeds per hole. The hole depth shouldn’t be more than 2 inches deep and 18-20 inches spacing.
The sprout will take up to a week.
Step 6: Growing period
The growing period is vital. One key thing you’ll need to avoid is the weed. In the early stages, weed control is vital to allow the plant to grow to some level.
Egusi suppresses weed growth by forming a blanket-like shadow on the soil thereby preventing weed from getting adequate water and sunlight.
To also boost growth, you’ll need to introduce fertilizer to the plant. For egusi, NPK 15 15 15 fertilizer is the suitable type. One hectare will require a 2-3 bag of fertilizer.
Step 7: Harvesting melon(egusi)
One stem of egusi stem will shoot out 5 to 15 head and one head can produce up to 150 seeds.
But before harvesting, you’ll need to know whether your egusi is ready or not.
However, that will depend on the species of egusi you’ve cultivated. Some will be yellow, yellow with stripe, green or white.
And harvesting will begin by cutting the head from the stalk. and taking it into a container or sack.
This should be taken to a location where no one will play with or steal it.
The head is broken and left for one to weeks for it to decay. After then, you’ll need to remove the seeds from inside the head.
Wash the seeds with water and sundry it. At this stage, the egusi is ready for storing.
Step 8: How to store egusi
At this stage, your egusi should have been dried. Then storage will be the next step.
However, storage can be pretty simple and straight forward. You can store it in a container with a suitable cover (like gallons or bucket with good cover), or in a sack. Whichever method you choose to use, the method works great.
Step 9: How to market your egusi(melon)
Now your egusi is ready for the market. you’ll need to market the product if you want buyers.
- You can take it to the farmers market and sell your product
- You can talk to a buyer to come to where you store it to buy it.
- You can tell your friends and family.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
There are still questions people still ask about egusi farming. Here are a few we intend to address.
Is egusi(melon) good for health?
40% Egusi (melon) seed is made up of protein. It also has stearic, palmitic, linoleic and oleic acid.
40% comprises of oil and cholesterol-free. 78% has been an unsaturated fatty acid, essential for protecting the heart.
The egusi seed has vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, C, and alpha-tocopherol a component of vitamin E.
Melon is rich in fiber.
Which fertilizer is best for egusi farming?
Egusi will require NPK 15-15-15 fertilizer.
What is the melon yield per hectare?
This will depend on how well the plant grows. 1kg of planted seed should give you 160 to 175kg of seeds. In one hectare, you can plant up to 10kg of seeds.
Is egusi farming lucrative in Nigeria?
Egusi farming can be lucrative and fund. But that’s when all the farming practices of melon are put into place.
What is the cost of a bag of egusi?
As at the time of writing this article, a bag of egusi is N80, 000 to N120, 000 depending on your location and season.
Challenges of egusi farming
Because egusi does not need too much water to grow, timing can be crucial. That’s why planting at the first time of rain (around April or June) depending on your location is key to success.
Others have decided to use the dry season to grow their melon because they can control the amount of water they can give the plant.
Getting the right seed
Getting the right seed can be a challenge. That’s why I encourage you to do a seed germination test as discussed in step 2.
Brings pest and other animals
Because egusi is sweet, it’s easy for it to attract pest and rodents. That’s why it’s really important not to leave any seed that has not been planted in the field. This will ensure it does not attract the pest and other animals.
In case of exposure to pest and other animals, spray the farm with neem water.
I know what you’re thinking, but don’t be carried away with excitement yet. Read the article in its entirety and ensure everything sinks in. With that, then decide whether you want to go into it or not.
No matter your decision, it’ll be good if you too share the information with your family and friends via various social media platforms.