Farming Pepper for Profit – Pepper is one of the essential ingredients used in food preparation across the globe. In Africa, each country is a producer of pepper with a production rate of over 68,000 metric tons annually as of 2017.
Despite this number, the majority of the pepper produced in Africa is consumed locally, and the rest most times are exported.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a profitable agribusiness to start up, that has a constant ready market and a great international demand, starting a pepper farming business is one way to go.
The business has a short-term return on investment as pepper takes only about three months to start producing fruits, while its global demand is far above the supply.
There are many kinds of pepper and they are grown according to regions and climatic conditions. In Nigeria, there are four common varieties of pepper – Chilli (ata ijosi), Habanero (atarodo), Sweet pepper (tatashe) and cayenne (shombo).
The highest-priced among the four is sweet pepper because of its uniqueness in taste and usefulness for meal decoration, while the habanero pepper is the most utilized. However, all these varieties are needed for their specific culinary functions.
Below are easy steps to grow pepper for profit;
Land Preparation / Farming Pepper for Profit
After acquiring land, clear and make beds on it. Treat the soil with insecticides to kill insects. Pour organic manure which could be pig, cow, or poultry dung on the bed. Pepper grows well in a sandy loam soil rich in organic matters.
Water the beds two to three days before transplanting them into it. Transplanting should be done in the evenings. In pepper farming, the seedlings should be transplanted to the farm 8 -10 weeks after planting in the nursery.
Most seeds sprout in about seven days. It depends on the variety planted. Germination for hot peppers can be delayed. To hasten it, cover the nursery with a transparent material and carefully remove it when the seeds start sprouting.
Pepper farming needs a lot of water as the plant consumes a lot of water from germination to harvest. However, water should be applied moderately. Waterlogged soil is not good for pepper cultivation, which is why a well-drained sandy-loam soil is needed to hold enough moisture to keep the crops growing.
During transplanting, you can use dry poultry waste (rich in Nitrogen). Wood such as sawdust is rich in potassium.
Weeding should be done twice before harvesting. Weeds can carry pests and diseases as well as spread fungi and viruses to healthy pepper plants close to them.
Pepper can be harvested before they are ripe because they can continue ripening after harvest if they were matured at the point of harvest.