Introduction to Maize Farming in Nigeria
Maize farming is one of the crop farming that is very suitable for Nigerians, it is as old as man itself, and it has been done commercially in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular for decades now.
Maize is perhaps the most common food crop in Nigeria, and also the most important as it is eaten in various dishes and forms the basis for most of the meals prepared by the average Nigerian family (S. Courage)
After cassava the next food crop that is widely and highly consumed is maize, the reason being that it can be consumed in varied forms such as maize flour for confectionaries, semo (for swallow with soup), as corn beef, feed mill (for animals feeding), as roasted corn, boiled or prepared as pottage (E. Johnson).
How to plant maize
Plant corn into the soil 2cm-3cm with a spacing of 25cm x 75cm; 25cm between crops and 75cm between rows. The spacing is rightly done in other for the ‘maize plant’ to form canopy.
You can soak the corn in water a day before planting. This will help the maize to germinate faster. It is mostly carried out with maize that are very hard.
In other to break their dormancy you soak them in water. You need 20kg of maize in a hectare.
Maize seed germinates 3-5 days. A hectare will yield between 3-5 tonnes. Although with improve species like the hybrid maize type, one can harvest up to 8 tonnes all things being equal.
An hectare will produce 10,000 stand with the spacing provided above while acre will produce 4040 stands (E. Johnson).
Maize cultivation can be successfully done in various soils like clay loam, sand loamy, and black cotton soil. If you want a better yield of maize crop then choose a soil which has good organic matter content with high water holding capacity.
In Maize farming, the PH of soil required is between 5.5 to 7.0 (An Agriculture Pedia for farmers, 2018).
Maize kernel is planted in holes of one to one and a half inches deep, drilled into ridges, rows or furrows made with a hoe or rototiller. Planting must be done 2 to 4 inches apart to prevent the seeds from choking up.
This crop usually grows well under temperatures varying from 22°C to 30°C, although it can tolerate temperatures as high as 35°C. It requires at least 50 to 90 cm of rainfall.
It is not recommended to cultivate this crop in areas where rainfall is more than 100 mm. (Maize farming guide, 2018). Before soil cultivation, soil test is required to find out the deficiency of any nutrient in the soil.
If any deficiency occurs it can be covered at the land preparation stage by adding some good organic matter or compost (An Agriculture Pedia for farmers, 2018).
Maize require nutrient such as nitrogen, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorous, calcium and potassium.
Harvesting can be done 75-90 days for fresh corn.
Maize can be stored in cribs or silos, in the olden days they were preserved by putting them in a basket kind of cage, placed above the wall where fire can be keeping them warm.
You can make your sales directly to local marketers, roadside roasters, feedmill etc. Some maize farmers normally contact people who sell fresh maize during planting.
Also you can process the maize and sell to livestock farmers. A ton of dried corn is 120k (E. Johnson).
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO MAIZE FARMING IN NIGERIA
Maize, also known as corn, is one of the farm produce that gives an incredible return on investment, as one seed of planted maize could return more than 500 kernels of corn come harvest season.
A little monetary investment in corn farming can therefore yield a sizeable level of income and profit after a little while.
Starting a maize farm in Nigeria is quite easy, as the initial capital outlay is very low.
The major expensive factor of production involved in this venture is the land, and this can be leased if the farmer does not have the capital to purchase one outrightly.
Also, if done properly, farming maize on a commercial basis in Nigeria could be quite a profitable venture.
It takes between 75-90 days that is about 2 ½ – 3 months for harvest. Meaning it takes a short time to realise investment. It is not difficult to do as it does not involve complex techniques.
If properly done, you can make from 50% and above returns on investment. That is to say it is very lucrative and profitable to do maize farming in Nigeria (E. Johnson).
There is a ready market for it as the demand for maize is constantly on the increase. You can never hear of glut in maize farming.
In conclusion, if you truly want to start the maize farming in Nigeria and make millions, the secrets are; dream big, study hard and act.
Steve O. Courage, 2016 : Africa Business Classroom, Maize Farming in Nigeria & Secrets of making millions
Eno Johnson, 2018 : How To Earn A Living From Maize Farming In Nigeria: Detailed Guide