One of agricultural produce that we come in contact with in our day to day life is Carrot which is scientifically called Daucus carota. Its one of the major source of Vitamin A, D,C,E,K and other minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium
Output in Nigeria
Currently, we boast of being the largest producer of Carrot in sub-Saharan African with an estimate of 22500 tonnes annually, boosting our revenue to about $720million naira. This is good news but we are still behind in Global production where we currently hold 32nd position of global carrot production.
The population of carrot depends on your decision which can be affected by various factors. This decision can pose a problem because you have to achieve the correct plant population. For example, if the carrot population that you planted on the Land is low, roots becomes large and can cause cracking which can affect the marketable yield of your product. On the other hand, if the population is too much, root becomes smaller and becomes twisted around one another causing a poor root quality which can also affect the marketability of the product.
Generally, for carrots used for processing or big size we can have up to 600000-900000 plant per hectare, for prepacked size we can have 900000-1500000 plants per hectare and for smaller size we can have 2000000-3500000 per hectare.
Before you start planting, it is best you choose soil that are well drained and of good tilt, maintaining a pH range of 6-6.5 on mineral salt. You should note that the presence of salt can cause damage to your carrot, as a result of this, you should ensure that your fertilizers should be added at about 7days before planting. Carrot are planted in rows at least 3-4inces apart and they initiate their growth between 1-3 weeks. In Nigeria, carrot are planted in state such as Plateau, Kano, Jos, Zaria and Sokoto
Ensure that you plant your carrot seed at the beginning of raining season because the seed thrives on water and make sure of constant supply of water through irrigation.
During land selection process, you make sure that rocky or stony land should not be considered for carrot production because it may obstruct the growth of your carrots which can decrease your yield. You first have to clear your land because it is important to remove stumps and debris that can hinder the growth of carrot and to ensure loosening of the soil to a depth of 30cm which will allow good root development. You will mix the soil to be used with compost manure to obtain maximum yield.
The environment can influence the planting of carrot seed, as a result you maintain a depth of 0.5-1.5 cm during planting. In any case, if the seed is panted in a shallower depth it can be affected by extreme weather conditions on the surface and if it is too deep, it will require more food reserve for the seed to emerge. In some cases, you can make ridges or hips before planting to facilitate maximum penetration of the roots
Planting of the seed
Carrot seeds are very tiny which can take a period of 12-14days to germinate and during the germination process, you ensure that the soil is kept moist with regular irrigation. You plant your seeds in rows though uniform planting might be difficult to attain since the seeds are very tiny.
You will first dig hole where 2 seeds are planted at about 4-5cm in depth after which you cover the hole with stalks of grass or corn to prevent picking of the seeds by birds, direct rays of sunlight and heavy rain on the seeds. When the seed has grown to about 2cm, they are thin in other to make space for expansion of the seed as they grow.
Tending of the Crops
This is a process in which the stalk used in covering the seeds is raised to allow growing space during seed germination. You can do this by using short stick to allow aeration and growth of the seed until the stems are able to withstand high intensity of sunlight.
Thinning process are carried out at about 2-4weeks in which you make use of knife to prone the growing seed in a way that the seeds are 4-20cm apart.
Processing Factor affecting Carrot production
The yield of carrot products is affected by the variety of carrot seed that was planted which is why it is important that you plant seeds that can yield large quantity of fruit. The quantity produced can also be affected by planting space because when they are closely planted together it can lead to small growth of the seeds.
Other important factor is the cost of applying fertilizers and fungicides that is paramount to the growth of the plant, regular weeding and irrigation of the farmland and presence of pest and diseases which can lead to a decrease in the yield of the farm produce.
You can harvest your carrot at about 4months after planting in which they must’ve been matured. You can make use of simple hand tool such as spade or the use of hand by pulling from the ground, after which the top is cut off to facilitate proper storage before consumption.
Carrot seed oil: You can press carrot to produce what is called felice carrot seed oil which is made up of essential oil from carrot
Carrot cream: The carrot you planted contains vitamin A which is involved in cell generation as a result, its been applied in production of cream which bring out radiant skin cells to the surface.
Sliced carrot: We can also slice and package our carrot in can to increase its shelf life and quality over a long period of time
Marketing and Local consumption
The demand for carrot in local market is very high throughout the yearn. In fact, the rate of its consumption outweighs its supplyhi; this is as a result of the nutritional value of carrots. They are highly demand by local market women/men in large quantity who sell them to supermarkets, eateries and shopping malls. Advertisement can also be done on online stores and groups to pull customers and consumers’ interest in patronizing your product.
In sub-saharan Africa, Nigeria is recognized as the widest and largest producer of carrot. Nigeria produces approximately 225000 tonnes of carrot annually which is just 37.5% of its potential capacity. The revenue generated from this only can be as high as $720million naira. If you closely look at this, it suggests another robust source of revenue for Nigeria economy.
Global market of carrot is approximately $50.57billion with the largest producers being China, Uzbekistan, Russia, US and Nigeria being the 32nd Global producer of carrot. Let us imagine the amount to be made if we break into one of the largest producing country, it will definitely add to revenue generated from agricultural produce which can better the economy of the country.
By Temitope Israel David