How to Start Bitter Leaf Farming in Nigeria (2023)
Do you considering rearing a vegetable farm in Nigeria, but you’re unsure of the most lucrative kind to start with? Out of all the vegetable planting options, bitter leaf farming is the one you should choose. This is so that it can grow in any type of soil as the veggie is simple to plant.
Because it is widely consumed by all tribes in Nigeria and used for a variety of herbal medicines, bitter leaf farming is lucrative and profitable.
Three key resources are required to begin growing bitter leaf in Nigeria. A good farmland is required. The stems of these bitter leaves or their seeds, along with an adequate source of water, must be present on a field. When deciding whether to plant the bitter leaf plant’s seeds or stem, it is recommended to plant the stem because it produces results more quickly than doing so with the seed.
The stems are solid and grow readily as long as you give them enough water each day. The seeds, on the other hand, take a long time to emerge from the soil and are the most time-delicate to handle. As a farmer who has been growing bitter leaves for the past three years, I can state this. Welcome then! I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about growing bitter leaves in Nigeria in this article.
This post teaches you how to prepare the ground for bitter leaf farming, how to plant bitter leaf crops, how to irrigate bitter leaf crops, how to weed bitter leaf crops, and how to generate money from bitter leaf farming.
IS IT PROFITABLE TO GROW BITTER LEAVES?
Planting bitter leaf is profitable for a variety of reasons. The fact that this vegetable growing is firm and resilient enough to resist any climatic conditions in Nigeria is the primary factor in its profitability.
This implies that your bitter leaf will continue to grow and thrive well regardless of how Nigeria’s climate develops in the future. The strong demand for the vegetable among Nigerians for food and herbs is another factor contributing to the profitability of bitter leaf growing in that country.
As I mentioned earlier, bitter leaf, also known by its botanical name of vernonia amygdalina, is one of the most widely used vegetables for preparing various cuisines, including vegetable soups, egusi, and more. It is also used for herbs.
The last known factor that makes growing bitter leaves profitable in Nigeria is that it may be sold abroad to generate income. Along with waterleaf, scent leaf, and ugu leaf, bitter leaf is a vegetable that is in great demand abroad (pumpkin leaf). Whether processed or not, bitter leaf can be exported.
HOW TO ESTABLISH A BITTER LEAF FARMING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
Here are the steps to grow bitter leaf in Nigeria successfully
STEP 1: PREPARE THE LAND FOR THE BITTER LEAF PLANTING
The first stage in the preparation of the land for bitter leaf planting is to remove the area of all weeds and trash. Then tilling the soil, applying manure, and creating beds after the ground has been cleared of any required weeds.
Additionally, it is not required if you don’t want to make the beds. Making beds will allow you to properly space out each bitter leaf stem or seedling, which is why I advise you to do so. Making bedding helps you manage the farmland effectively by making use of all available space. Although bitter leaf does best in sandy-loamy soil, it can still grow in other types of soil.
STEP 2: PLANTING SEEDS AND STEMS OF BITTER LEAVES
Bitter leaf can be grown from any parent stem or seed, but as I already mentioned, it is simpler to plant stems than seeds. Compared to seeds, stems produce rapid development.
Furthermore, while the stems of bitter leaf plants are simple to locate, the seeds are not. You will require between 2,500 to 3,500 bitter leaf stems or seeds for every acre of farmland. You should begin to harvest your bitter leaves in three months or less after properly spreading the bitter leaf seeds or stems, adding the appropriate manure, and watering the vegetable.
STEP 3: ADD COMPOST MANURE ON BITTER LEAF
Because the leaves, not the seeds, are what may be sold in bitter leaf farming, fertilization is not really necessary. So all you need to do to encourage the bitter leaf plants to develop more quickly is to add enough nitrogen-rich compost manure. You can use compost manure of any kind, including cow or poultry excrement.
STEP 4: WEEDS IN BITTER LEAF FARM
Bitter leaf stems block sunlight from reaching the surrounding soil as they get higher and bigger, which prevents weeds from sprouting. However, if any weeds try to grow next to the bitter leaf trees, you may easily hand uproot them all across the farm.
STEP 5: IRRIGATE THE BITTER LEAF FARM
Although bitter leaf trees and stems can go without water for weeks, sometimes even months, it is crucial to have a proper irrigation system around the bitter leaf farm that will equally deliver water to all of the bitter leaf plants in order to speed up their growth for a quick harvest.
You can water the bitter leaf manually yourself or hire employees to help you if you are unable to afford to build an effective irrigation system around the bitter leaf farm.
STEP 6: SELL AND MAKE PROFIT
In Nigeria, there are several methods to benefit from bitter leaf farming. Simply providing butter leaves to market ladies, or women who sell veggies in the market, allows you to generate money.
They will compensate you if you simply supply them on a regular basis. Selling directly to customers is another way for your bitter leaf farm to generate income. Yes, you can do this for customers who want to purchase your farm’s fresh bitter leaves.
Last but not least, you can earn from your bitter leaf farming by either selling your bitter leaves to exporters—people who purchase goods to send abroad—or by exporting them yourself.
THE AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS OF CONSUMING BITTER LEAF
Because of its numerous health advantages, bitter leaf is in high demand both domestically and abroad, as I already mentioned.
Several advantages for health include:
- Enhances fertility
- Especially when consumed on an empty stomach, it combats free radicals.
- Asthma is cured by it.
- It soothes stomach upset.
- It benefits expectant and nursing mothers.
- It restores memory. A mild case of memory loss may be cured with bitter leaf.
- The internal organs of the body are detoxified. Yes, you may just wash and blend the leaves to detoxify if you want to remove toxins from your body but don’t want to spend a lot of time doing so.
Before using the bitter leaf for herbal medicines, you should be aware of some of its adverse effects, and you should conduct your own research to determine whether it functions as an antibiotic.
Similar to other profitable vegetable cultivation in Nigeria, bitter leaf farming is a lucrative industry there. Without a doubt, vegetables are important in Nigeria, even if their price in the market is high for obvious reasons. Bitterleaf soup is one of Nigeria’s national dishes, and aside from that, vegetables are also utilized for herbal remedies. If you know how to break into the market, bitter leaf farming may be quite successful in Nigeria.