Maize Farming :Steps on How to Start Maize Farming In Nigeria

Maize, also called “Zea Mays” by scientists as it botanical name is a cash crop that can be cultivated both in small scale and in large scale for business purposes and exportation. This article will make you understand how you can start maize farming in Nigeria.

What is  Maize?

Maize is a cereal crop that produces grains known as corns in rows on a cob. It originated in MesoAmerica, in the region that is now Mexico in North America. Although some scientists still claims it was first discovered in Central and South America making its specific origin complicated.

In the 10th century, the Portuguese introduced Maize in some West African countries including Nigeria. Ever since then, the crop has become a household name and dietary supplement in all Nigerian families.

So Maize Farming is the art of planting/cultivating maize either for personal use or for commercial purposes. Maize (corn) can be planted alongside other crops like Cassava, Melon, Yam, Potatoes etc. Because of its short life span, the crop can be cultivated 3 times in a year which makes it one of the best crops you can plant in your farm.

Its ability to grow in many soil conditions and weather makes it suitable for the Nigerian climate. This is why you see people in the South East, South West, South South, North East, North West, North Central and Middle Belt planting and harvesting maize.

Maize Farming : How To Start Maize Farming In Nigeria

Health Benefits Of Maize

  • Maize (corn) contains enough fiber which is good for digestion
  • Corn contains all amount of protein corn that helps in lowering LDL (bad) Cholesterol.
  • Corn fights against diabetes
  • It can prevent hypertension
  • Maize contains anti-cancer properties used in preventing cancer diseases
  • Maize is good for vision improvements
  • Corn is ideal for your heart
  • Maize helps in preventing Alzheimer’s disease
  • Corn is good for smooth healthy skin
  • Maize help in preventing Hair loss
  • Corn is rich in carbohydrates
  • Corn also has small amount of oil in it called “corn oil”
  • It contains little amount of fat.
  • When processed as popcorn, it will give several minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc
    Sweet corns varieties contains folate, Pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, Niacin and Potassium.

These nutritional values of Maize can not be neglected because it’s vital for healthy living. Apart from the health benefits, maize is useful in many other ways.

Uses Of Maize/Corn

Below are the economical uses of corn to the Nigerian populace, Africa and the world at large.

As Food For Human Beings

Maize and its by-products serve as diet for people in Nigeria. A lot of families eat and drink things gotten from corn like corn flakes, pap (akamu), beer, popcorn etc. For instance, almost 95% of Nigerian families feeds their infant babies under 2 years with pap which is a product of corn. We all also love eating popcorns especially when we visit Cinema to see a movie. All these foods are gotten from maize.

Stats shows that 8 out of every 10 families in Nigeria eats food or drinks that contains corn. That’s a huge percentage of people so it’s a popular crop for human consumption.

As Animal Feed

A lot of animals depends on corn and its by-products for food. For instance, Chickens, Hens and other birds solely depend on these maize products to feed well. When a fowl is well fed, it will be healthy and lays more eggs. This means without corn, a lot of birds and chicken will die of malnutrition which will eventually result to low availability of eggs for human consumption.

Some other animals that also eat corn or maize products are Rabbits, Goats, Squirrel, Deer, Raccoon, birds, Groundhog, insects and rats.

As Industrial Material

Maize contains a lot of starch and this starch is harnessed in a suitable industry to produce so many byproducts such as Beer, Medicines, Ink, Paints and cosmetics. Maize is also used in making Ice Cream, shoe polish, batteries, syrup and glue.

While Nigerian Breweries is one of the biggest companies that buys maize in large quantity for producing beer, Nestle Nigeria and Cadbury also buys it for the production of corn flakes and chips.

Used For Making Fuel

Some developed countries and Brazil uses the starch in corn to produce renewable fuel called “corn ethanol” or bioethanol which blends with gasoline to yield E10, E15, and E85 mixtures.

How Lucrative Is Maize Farming In Nigeria?

Maize farming in Nigeria is very lucrative; There is great return on investment in maize planting. Do you know that one seed can give you over 500 kernels during harvest, That is to tell you how Profitable maize farming is. Maize plants matured very fast (Just within 3 to 4 months), And during its season it sells very fast, There is huge market demands involves in maize production both local markets and individuals.

Challenges of Maize Farming in Nigeria

A. Pest and Disease.

B. Poor storage facilities.

C. Fluctuation Of Prices.

D. Climatic conditions.

E. Poor/Unhealthy seeds.

F. High cost of farm inputs.

How to start maize production business in Nigeria

(1) Buy Or Rent A Farmland

The first thing to consider before starting a maize farming is land, Ensure that the land is fertile (rich loamy or sandy-loam soil), the land should not be waterlogged (protect your crops from waterlogging), The land should be free and opened for sunlight. Once you get the land, clear and till the land well to avoid weed competing with the maize.

(2) Maize Varieties

Maize has different varieties and you should choose based on preferred and accepted varieties within your area. The white and the yellow varieties are the most common varieties used in Nigeria, and these varieties grows and matures very fast. Buy the seeds from rightful source.

(3) Planting

There is a traditional believe which states that maize should be planted during the rainy season. Everything has been changing as we are in modern age. There is no actual date to plant maize. Just plant your varieties after it had rained for 3 to 4 times, It will soften the land and helps the seeds to germinate & grow well.

(4) Caring For Your Maize Plant

Weed your farm when needed, Prevent pests and diseases with pesticides and other control methods. You should know that maize doesn’t require much watering. Apply fertilizer after 3 to 4 weeks of planting.

(5) Harvesting

Harvest once matured. They can be harvested either on green or dry. It takes 3 to 4 months to mature depending on the maize variety and climatic condition.

Conclusion

If you are looking for agribusiness to invest in, then consider maize farming business. Maize production in Nigeria is very Profitable and we believe this information we shared will yield lots of productivity to aspiring entrepreneurs.

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