Nigeria produces a wide range of agricultural commodities, amongst which are maize, soybean, cowpea (beans), yam, cassava, potato, etc. Apart from being used as food, many of these crops are also used as raw materials in the manufacturing industry.
Maize (Zea Mays) is a cereal crop that grows across a range of agro-ecological zones in Nigeria, though it is grown slightly more in the Northern part of the country. Two types of maize are commonly grown in Nigeria, which are the yellow and white variety.
- Choice of Land: The first thing to consider when going into maize farming is to choose the right farmland. Several factors to consider in choosing this include security of farm location, soil fertility, and access to farm laborers. Any well drained sandy loam or loamy soil can be used for maize farming.
- Land Preparation: After getting a suitable farmland, the next step is to clear the land and prepare it for farming.This involves clearing the land of bushes, fumigating it against pests and insects, ploughing and ridging. Use any method (Mechanical, Chemical & Manual) that can adequately remove weeds and keep the soil loose for good seedbed. At this stage, you can apply a mixture of poultry manure and rice husk to the soil in order to improve the soil organic matter and the ability of the soil to retain moisture, nutrients and proper aeration.
- Planting The Right Seed Variety: Choosing the right maize seed variety will determine the type of maize yield the farmland will generate. Every farming community has a variety that performs well in the area. Always go for a hybrid variety.
- Fertilizer application: Apply 600Kg (12 bags) of 25:10;10 per hectare in two splits. 200Kg at planting and 400Kg 5 to 6 weeks after planting.
- Weed Control:
- Hand Weeding: Carry out the first weeding 14 – 21 days after planting or as soon as necessary. A second weeding may be done if necessary before the second application of fertilizer.
- Herbicide Application: Apply Atrazine pre-emergence at the rate of 3Kg ai/ha on a clean seed bed.
Expected Yield of Maize Per Hectare
The average yield of maize in Nigeria is 2 – 6 tons per hectare. With adequate rainfall and working with experienced personnel and with everything done right, you should expect to get a yield of 5 tons (50 bags) per hectare of farm cultivated.
It cost an average of N200,000 to cultivate maize on 1 hectare of farmland. This includes the cost of farmland lease, land preparation, hybrid seeds, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer, etc. With the average cost of maize going for N90,000 per ton, one can get a return of (N90,000 x 5) N450,000 from cultivating 1 hectare of farmland. This translates to a profit of N250,000 per hectare cultivated.
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