Based on the current drive to use Agriculture as one of the channels to revitalise the economy, encouraging cash crop production, considered as a money spinning aspect of the sector, remains inevitable.
But why many preferred to toe this line of farming, the long gestation period, appears to be a major encumbrance, forcing them to look into other areas of farming that can bring quick cash.
For instance, cashew takes more than 30 months for gestation, cocoa takes between three to five years, likewise orange, mango, grape, lemon, lime, apple, pawpaw, strawberry, and other cash crops.
But the good news is the new window of opportunity, through a new technology-grafting and budding, an improved root engineering method, whereby most cash crops that hitherto take eternity to fruit, can easily be planted to maturity in just six months, through the world of dwarf cash crops, which can spin millions within months.
Though it is an old method used for adapting plant to the temperature of choice and making it give the best yield ever, but some researchers and group of farmers, under Food and Fruits International Company, have upgraded it to a money-spinning level.
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Shuaib Mubarak, a researcher and crop expert, based in Abeokuta, Ogun State told The Guardian that based on its innovation, all crops can bear fruit at either tender or reduced days, which it has been able to achieve in almost all the fruits and trees like mango, pawpaw, cashew guava, and even coconut. “All these are grafted and budded to other trees. In the case of apple it was grafted to a Nigerian tree.
“For us to achieve this, we cut stems of a fruit, joined with another fruit, so as to help reduce the production months and the produce will be very high. Yoruba call it Afomo-that is grafting and naturally some fruits are dwarf so this help them to fruit higher too. They are really good for commercial purposes. Our dwarf cashew tree is six months compared to the 30 months old cashew. With this, you would have harvested four to five times before you harvest from the old ones and the yield of the dwarf is massive.
“Another tree is coconut, the tall and old ones use three to five years before fruiting, but our dwarf is eight to 10 months and the yield is 50. They all fruit heavily, which makes any investor to get his investment at a short period of time. A tree like cashew is twice a year and the production ranges from 7-30-200-500-1200 and fruits every six months and this is the best ever. It is rich in cashew nut, which is 48-49 kor (kernel size for nut, snacks and oil.)
He noted that currently, the 48-49 kor of cashew is N450, 000 per tonne, two to 100 tonnes can be harvested on a plot in one to two years of cultivation. Apart from the high yield, they also help to manage space like three to five meters planting spacing, compared to the eight to 10 meters old tree plantation spacing.
“You can plant 20-25 cashew stand on a plot compared to the 10-12 stand of the old measurements, and more on cashew is that it now fruits in Nigeria because they have been joined with a Nigerian hybrid tree to make it adapt to our weather, but by God’s grace all land in Nigeria can now grow the imported apples too. All these researches are from so many international research institutes and we have been able to plant all dwarf fruits, ranging from cashew, orange, mango, cashew grape, lemon, lime, apple, pawpaw, strawberry, and other plants across Nigeria successfully.”
While allaying fears that the new method might reduce lifespan of the crop, Mubarak said the varieties can last for as long as a minimum of 30 years, assuring that with the new method “foreign apple can now grow on all soil in Nigeria.”
Mubarak said: “This is completely different from Genetically Modified Crops, it is natural, because human beings too have dwarfs and they are not genetically disordered. The genetically modified version looks bigger. These are the best for both commercial and home use because they produce twice the normal and the harvest is twice a year too.
“It is very easy to cultivate, all you need is to get a pot, flower vase or you just dig the ground and make sure you cover the soil well. Then water it for three to seven days after planting, that’s all.
“These crops that can produce within six months are available for investors-Sweet Orange; lemon; lime; mango; Dwarf Pawpaw; Apple; Coconut; Grape; soursop; Permoganate; and Palm. They are dwarf fruit that can be planted in pot, flower vase and on land.”
Source: Guardian Newspaper