Watermelon Farming is taking People Out of Poverty in Africa: Watermelon farming is becoming an area of business to look into in Africa. Although it’s a seasonal fruit, but with storage facilities and it being processed into further goods, will be a great idea. Watermelon is known to aid digestion and is among the best fruits that our body system needs. More so, it’s among the high demanded fruits for Agro-Alied Industries. On this article, we gonna be talking about how Watermelon is being cultivated and how it’s being taking the People of Africa out of poverty.
Of all the fruits I know, my favourite is watermelon. Juicy and especially delicious when chilled, it’s high in water content makes it perfect for rehydration after a hot day. I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves watermelons. In fact, the demand for watermelon fruit continues to grow. Watermelon is a well-known fruit in Nigeria and can be eaten anytime before or after a meal. So today I would like to show you how to start a watermelon growing business. It’s a very lucrative business, not very capital intensive, but very rewarding.
Watermelon farming is so lucrative that it’s not uncommon to think that it takes a lot of money and time to get started. Well, the reality is the opposite.
However, you should have a good knowledge of how to start growing a watermelon. Without proper knowledge and proper practice, the fruit will be bitter and not desired at all.
In this article, I would like to explain in sufficient detail how to start your own watermelon farm. We’ll show you the pitfalls to avoid and how to get the most out of your business. are you ready?
How To Start A Watermelon Growing Business
You Need Money
I said you don’t need a lot of money to start growing watermelons, but you do need money, no matter how small. Since the cost varies depending on the time and place, we cannot answer the specific amount.
However, you need money to cover things like:
- The cost of a suitable farmland.
- Buying watermelon seed.
- Irrigation. Watermelon need lots of water so having an irrigation system in place will go a long way.
- The cost of equipment for the operation. For a small-scale farm, you don’t need much equipment because every phase of the farming cycle can be carried out manually.
- The cost of buying fertilizers and pesticides.
- The cost of hiring labor. Again for a small-scale farm, you can do most of these things yourself especially if you know your way around the farm. It will only take you time and sweat but will save you more in working cost.
These costs are not fixed. Most are negotiable, although it depends on the time and location. We recommend doing some research to find out how much these will cost.
Get the right arable land: good location, good soil, etc.
You don’t need any land to start growing watermelons. In order for plants to grow, farmland must meet some specific characteristics.
Watermelon grows well in loamy, well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 6.7.
Land should be near or accessible to a source of good, clean water. A watermelon needs water, it needs a lot of water. It has something in common with cucumbers. The country you choose should have sufficient rainfall or watery streams.
If the water supply is inadequate, consider building a proper drainage system. Remember that watermelons are over 93% water, so they need plenty of water to grow.
The amount of farmland you gain is largely up to you. It depends on how much capital you have. So I’m not going to tell you to buy 3 parcels or 3 acres. Do whatever comes to your mind.
Watermelons need sunlight too. In fact, farmland needs about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day.
Finally, you must practice good farming and land preparation such as clearing and weeding.
How to get melon seeds to plant
There are various ways to get melon seeds to plant.
One of these ways is to visit and purchase existing watermelon growers. Prices vary from farm to farm, but you want good seeds from the best varieties. Your interactions with them will tell you which path to take.
Another option is to visit the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). They have an office in Ibadan, Nigeria. You can also contact us through our website.
Finally, the Nigerian National Agricultural Seeds Council has a database of seed producers you can contact to obtain watermelon seeds.
Plant a watermelon
Of course, once you’ve prepared the farmland and got the seeds, the next step is to plant the seeds.
The best time to plant watermelons is from March to July. If you plant multiple rows, space them at least 6 feet apart. This gives the soft vine plenty of room to grow.
Floor temperature warms up to 70 degrees or more. Make sure your farm gets enough sunlight.
Provides adequate protection for soft seedlings. Watermelons eat a lot of food, so farmers need to add a fair amount of fertilizer and leaves when planting.
Key Considerations for Improving Agricultural Performance
Apply nitrogen-rich fertilizers before flower formation. Once the watermelon flowers have sprouted, they should be fed with a fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium.
As I said earlier, Watermelons need water to grow. If you are planting in the rainy season and your farm has plenty of rainwater, this is not a problem. If you live in the north where it rarely rains, you can build your own irrigation system.
Watermelon becomes bitter if it is dehydrated. No one likes bitter watermelon. It’s not very good to be known as a “farmer who sells bitter watermelons”, is it?
Weeds compete with good crops for food and water. You should visit the farm regularly to remove weeds. Not only is this good for watermelons, it’s common farming practice and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Take Care of Pests
Pests are the main enemy of watermelon cultivation. Several pests infest watermelons, including aphids, wilts and cucumber beetles. This is not good for your bottom line. Therefore, it is important to use suitable pesticides.
Fruit can begin to rot as it ripens. Therefore, put cardboard under the fruit to prevent this.
Also leave enough space to encourage air circulation and trim if necessary.
Harvest and sale
Aging period is 70-90 days. It is recommended to harvest only when ripe. How do you know when they are ready to choose? Good question!
Horticulture professor Dr. Bill Rose suggests that watermelons need to be “tapped” to ensure they are ready for harvest. If the watermelon sounds empty, it’s a clear sign that it’s “ready for harvest.”
But if tapping so many watermelon seeds feels like a burden. Look out for the following signs:
- If the underside turns yellow in colour.
- If the stem starts to wither or dries off.
- If it has a glossy look.
- If it stops growing.
Apart from the Hollow Tone method, these are signs to see if the watermelon is ready for harvest.
Before you start picking watermelons, it’s a good idea to start setting up your marketing channels. Make sure you have a ready market. Visit a local market to find out how other farmers sell their produce.
The reason for this is that we want the system to run as soon as the watermelon is ripe. Any delay can lead to spoilage.
You can also contact a fruit or grocery store and arrange a deal to sell your produce there.
It’s your turn!
Watermelon farming always gives good results when done right. Give it a try. Don’t wait until you find a vacant lot. Start in any garden space or empty space you have. Gain experience before investing money and resources.