Small scale commercial farming is one area of agricultural entrepreneurship that you can explore to make ends meet. Produced mainly for its commercial value rather than personal use, some cash crops do not require so much resources to grow, mainly labour. However, having the best suitable soil to plant them, as well as the right nurturing requirements and precautions, you can own a mini farm in the back of your house growing crops that can easily be converted to cash.
Here are a few cash crops you can grow at home:
Tomatoes, both fresh and canned are one of the most consumed foodstuff in Nigeria. Therefore, growing a few trees can fetch you a basket full at the end of your harvest. With a good healthy soil and sufficient water supply, you can grow tomatoes in any part of Nigeria. Nonetheless, some northern states like Bauchi, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, etc. stand a better chance to grow more robust tomatoes. You can choose to grow cherry tomatoes, plum or pear tomatoes.
Normally, tomatoes need 1 inch of water a week, but they may need more in extremely hot, dry, or windy weather conditions. Watch out for tomato hornworm and green caterpillars so they don’t ruin your hard work and in 50 – 100 days, you should have a ripe harvest, depending on the variety of tomatoes you grow.
It is easier to plant corns than any other crop in Nigeria. Even a child can own a corn farm. All that is required is a space to do so. Place 4 – 5 seeds of the dry grain in one shallow hole and cover up with thin layers of soil and do same for the entire area of land. Within 60 to 100 days, your grain cobs are ready to harvest.
Depending on how fertile your land is, you can grow three batches of corn in a year, as long as you make the soil good enough for the plants to survive.
From making starch, to eba and abacha, there are a lot more derivatives you can get from cassava. To grow your cassava, choose a well-drained fertile soil. Start by preparing the land and gathering quality cassava stems from a trusted source because your harvest is hugely determined by the eminence of the stem. Growing cassava that will amount to a significant amount of garri requires a large area of land, therefore your backyard needs to be big enough if you desire to plant cassava there. Within 6 months your cassava plants are formed, however, it is better to allow it for a year or two for maximum maturity.
- Oil Palm
One oil palm tree at your back yard is enough to produce 10 liters of palm oil every year. However, you need at least 6 years of patience before you start expecting mature palm fruits. Growing a palm tree is stressful at the early stage, as you need to clear the land, remove all tree stumps, nurture the seedlings, dig holes and then transplant them. But once your tree is over a year old, it doesn’t need much attention. Meanwhile, you can use the fronds for brooms while waiting for the major fruit harvest.
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are in high demand in Nigeria, you can make some cool cash growing them. When growing sweet potatoes, plant them in the garden when the soil warms up to at least 70 degrees F. Sweet potatoes take 90 – 110 days to mature and require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day, therefore dry season is best for it.
Note that whatever crop you choose to cultivate, it is essential that you weed your farm as soon as the plant sprouts and water them appropriately to enable a more conducive environment for healthy growth.