In recent years agriculture has contributed immensely to Nigeria’s gross national development(GDP), in 2018 alone agriculture contributed 29.54% to Nigeria’s total GDP. This is a plus to Nigeria’s economy, especially if compared to previous years where its contribution was very minimal. There is improvement in this sector, that notwithstanding, much needs to be done. This article focuses on a very important tuber crop; Carrot. Apart from the high commercial value of carrot, the crop also bulked up with a lot of health benefits. Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A. Other vitamins include D, C, E and K as well as Magnesium Calcium and Potassium
Why Carrot Should Be Considered For Farming
Apart from Carrot’s health benefits, the economic aspect is also important. Carrots are widely consumed worldwide with a very high demand that makes it very lucrative and financially enriching. One good thing about carrot farming is that you do not need a vast land space before you can commence. Carrot has improved seedlings coupled with improvements in the utilization of space making it much more profitable. Carrots are consumed in a variety of ways by Nigerians. Hence the farmer has an assurance of a continuous demand which is good for business.
Choose the best Carrot Variety for Cultivation
Carrot seedlings varieties which are cultivated in Nigeria include;
the Danvers variety; which are normally larger in size and require soils rich in nutrients to perform well. Others are the Amsterdam, Nantes Chantanay etc. Your choice of any of these variety will majorly depend on the soil type. Most carrot varieties do well on rich sandy-loamy soils. Carrots do well on properly drained soils. Water-logged soil do not support good yield. Hence it is not recommended.
Preparation Of Land and Planting
Carrots when cultivated particular do well in certain areas. This is not the same for other areas. So an ideal soil for carrot cultivation is sandy or loamy. You should avoid rocky or stony areas. They usually disrupt the downward growth and development of carrots. Carrots are taproots that grow downward. Carrot if allowed to grow on rocky stony soils may result in stunted growth. Therefore, you should use a loose soil. The best soil preparation is to make ridges to effect proper growth of the seedling.
Making the ridges high help for maximum penetration by the carrot. Thereby helping the carrot to attain maximum height and size as well as shape. Carrot seedlings are normally sold in packets. A stick or hoe is used to draw a line across the length of the ridge. The seeds are then sprinkled evenly along the groove or line made on the ridge. Cover the groove with stalks of grass or corn. This will help prevent seed picking by birds. Other uses include. to prevent direct sunlight effect which may kill off the young carrot plant. It also help to shield the seedlings from strong rain wash off. The same process applies for irrigation farming.
Tending Your Crop
After cultivation, you must follow up with tending the crop. The stalk used to cover the seedlings are raised when the seeds start germinating This is to allow for a space for the carrots to grow and develop. Meanwhile, the stalks are not totally removed at that young age. Instead they are raised by placing short sticks at intervals underneath the stalks to allow for aeration and proper growth. These are eventually removed when the stems have developed to withstand direct sunlight, and rain. The thinning
process follows after a few weeks. Thinning helps is done to allow adequate spacing between carrot plants.
If this process is not adhered to, the carrots may definitely not reach the desired size. This significantly drops its market value. You need to apply fertilizer after thinning to encourage growth and development. As your plants become more mature, it will require more soil around its roots.
Selling Your Produce
To Market your produce, it’s necessary to make all the necessary enquiries about your potential buyers. When your carrots are almost mature, vegetable markets are ideal places to dispose them. Other likely buyers include restaurants, hotels and so forth. Before selling, it will be helpful to visit the market to keep up with current prices. This will place you on advantage for a better bargaining and marketing of your carrots. These are the basics of starting a carrot farming business
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