Maize is one of the most commonly eaten crops in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Maize production in Nigeria is by far one of the most interesting, easy-to-start and most lucrative type of agribusiness you can ever lay your hands on. Maize production would simply see you investing money, time, and energy into the business (of course, easier said than done.) but when the harvest period comes, it also the type of business that would make you ask yourself how much you invested to make such huge sum as income.
Maize production in Nigeria doesn’t take any special or intensive training, since you just have to follow basic rules and instruction to make it work. Also, one of the upsides of Maize production is that it’s one agribusiness that requires one of the lowest capitals. Maize, also known as Corn, is one of the most utilized and multifunctional crops in Africa. Maize and its numerous by-products are rich source of vitamin B, carbohydrate, iron and minerals, and as food, it also digests very quickly. If you’re contemplating starting a Maize production business in Nigeria, this ‘How to Start’ guide/post is for you to acquaint yourself with the basics of successfully running your Maize production in Nigeria.
Maize Production: Overview
The importance of Maize production in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. Like said earlier, a lot of by-products are gotten from Maize. Maize production gives birth to a lot of other consumables and some of them are:
- Corn Oil.
- Animal/Livestock Feeds.
- Corn Flour.
- Corn Starch.
- Corn Powder.
Maize can be used as raw materials for the manufacture of fuel, essential chemicals and alcohol and as straight food (boiled corn, roasted corn, etc.). It is grown by planting seeds in a cluster of 4 to 5 seeds directly in the soil during the start of the rainy season. They are planted in ridges, rows or furrows but for optimum growth, it is recommended that ridge spacing must be 2 to 4 inches apart to avoid choking up the germinating seeds. It is also recommended to plant maize seeds twice or thrice in one season to ensure continued harvest.
Maize Production: Required Facilities
Suitable Land: Maize is a very rugged crop and can grow in the least expected of soil types but the ideal soil for it is loamy soil. Preferably, forest loamy soil with a lot of decomposed leaves, wood chips, micro-organisms and so on.
Irrigation Channel: Watering and Maize production go hand-in-hand and the easiest method is through irrigation channels; especially if your farm is a wide piece of land. Corn needs enough water and you can’t afford it running on low soil moisture, especially during pollination time. One has to be careful though, so water doesn’t flow in the tassels as this could wash down pollen needed for fertilization.
Maize Seeds: One of the tricky parts of starting a Maize production business is the selection of Maize seeds. Maize seeds are in varieties and they are stronger, disease and infection resistant than one other. This would inadvertently affect maize yield/production at harvest.
Storage Barn: You could either construct a well-fortified storage barn right on your Maize farm, or if your capital doesn’t give room, you could have a place even in your compound, well set-up for Maize storage.
Fertilizer: Application of fertilization is sure to improve soil nutrients and ultimately crop yield. You can use 4 bags (200kg) of NPK – 25 – 10 – 10 for one hectare as band or broadcast application during planting period.
Knowledge: You can either decide to start you maize production business after reading this post, in which way you’re not on the same level with someone who has no idea of what Maize production is all about, and you can work at a maize farm for a few months, if you intend gaining practical knowledge.
Maize Production: Feasibility Study
The feasibility study included in this guide is for a Maize production farm, measuring one hectare, after one farming year and two times of harvest.
Cost of the plot of land, cost of irrigation, cost of planting seed purchase, cost of fertilizer, cost of transportation the harvest from the farm to the market, workmanship (for planters, weeders, etc.), post-harvest cost (peeling the maize and storage), additional costs and expenses, all approximated to N4,000,000.
You can harvest as much as 150,000 cubs from one hectare but if 10,000 were lost due to pest infection or any other reasons, and one maize cub is sold for just N50.
Then calculation is as follows:
140,000 cubs X N50 = N7,000,000
At the end of the year, N7,000,000 – N4,000,000 = N3,000,000
That amount isn’t bad to show at the end of the year as the first year’s ROI. Bear in mind that the ROI increases yearly, if planting and nurturing instructions are carefully followed.
That is not in any way to say that Maize production doesn’t come with its own risks and challenges though.
Maize Production: Risks Involved
- Birds, locusts, termites, rodents, and so on are some of the biggest threats to a Maize production business. Periodic and adequate pest control is very necessary.
- Weeding must be as soon as 15 days after planting and not later than 25 days after planting. Weed does not only choke the crops, it also zaps off soil nutrient that is meant for the crops.
- You must select the variety of maize seeds that has high yield and are disease resistant. It would surely determine your yield at harvest.
Maize Production: Advantages
- The market demand for Maize is readily available. With proper marketing and awareness, you could be selling off your harvest within a month or less.
- The many products that can come out of corn makes it move very fast and less tedious to market. Most times, you’ll be selling to a wholesaler, who would in turn be selling straight to companies needing it in large quantity, or to consumers.
- Another merit of Maize production is that it requires just basic instructional knowledge and you don’t necessarily have to go for any seminar or workshop.
- The short yield time of the Maize crop also means quick returns, for borrowed capitals.
- There is also governmental support and financial backing for farmers that wants to try their hands on Maize production.
- After market selloff, Maize production is one branch of agribusiness that is definitely worth the time, effort and money invested into it. you’ll realize this when you see your ROI.