In Nigeria, the most common apples are those grown in temperate or Mediterranean climates. Unfortunately, apple farming in the Nigeria is not common because they need cool temperatures to thrive and produce fruits.
Over the planting season, temperate apples should be exposed to temperatures below 70°C for at least six (6) weeks (1,008 hours).
Meanwhile, these temperate apples are thought to have been grown in the past in Nigerian plateau regions such as Jos, Mambila, and Obudu. If you live in one of these cold areas of the country, you can try growing temperate apples on a small scale.
Apple can be grown in Nigeria!
Since the Nigerian climate does not allow the production of temperate apples, this does not rule out the possibility of growing them. According to research, the Bell apple is the kind of apple that could be grown in large amounts in Nigeria.
This apple is also nutritious, with a sweet and sour flavor that varies depending on how mature the fruit is.
The Bell apple can be found in 34 of the country’s 36 states, with the exception of Borno and Sokoto in the north.
Since only a few farmers are interested in planting this apple, there is already a high demand for Bell apple seedlings and fruits. So, why not seize the opportunity?
Steps to cultivating the Bell Apple in Nigeria:
- Soil Requirement
Bell apples need a lot of humidity and rain to grow well. It can grow in a variety of soil types, from sandy to clay. It can actually grow in mildly acidic soil.
The Bell apple has a planting season that runs from September to April. At a spacing of 5m by 5m, you can plant 160 seedlings per acre. The seeds are pressed onto the soil but only slightly covered.
This is large because seeds need light to germinate. Seeds can also be spaced at least an inch apart.
After planting, the soil should also be watered. The seed usually takes about three (3) weeks to germinate.
- Care & Management
Tree training and pruning are needed to ensure optimum plant growth and improved productivity.
During the fruiting season, the most common apple pests are ants, bats, thrips, and aphids. These can be avoided by using pesticides that are resistant to pests.
The use of disease-resistant rootstock will also reduce disease resistance in the case of diseases like crown blight and collar rot. Another issue arises during storage.
The apples are perishable and will rot after three days. If refrigerated, it might last a couple of weeks.
It usually takes three years for the tree to start bearing fruits. Each harvest yields at least 500 fruits, with at least two harvests per year.
Depending on the things you concentrate on, you can earn a 100% return on your investment in as little as six (6) months or as long as 3 years.
This means that Apple Farming in Nigeria can be lucrative. Within six months of planting, you might market the seedlings. You could also wait until the fruits are fully mature and ready to sell.