A greenhouse is a building with glass sides and a glass roof in which plants that need protection from or are sensitive to weather are grown. A greenhouse is different from a typical farm which consists of an area of land used for growing crops or keeping animals.
Greenhouses are enclosed spaces used for growing crops only. Greenhouses make it possible to regulate the temperature and humidity of an enclosed space therefore making it possible for certain crops to grow and thrive regardless of the external weather conditions.
Greenhouse farming in Nigeria
Greenhouse farming in Nigeria is the business of working on and managing the growing of crops and plants inside a greenhouse. Greenhouse farming technology makes it possible to grow tropical crops (pineapples, tomatoes, peppers) in the cold regions of Russia and France. And in the reverse direction, temperate crops (apples, cabbages, blackberries) can also be grown in hot regions of Nigeria, Dubai and Israel using greenhouse farming technology.
Greenhouse farming is very profitable and has become very popular in countries like Netherland, Belgium, New Zealand, and Germany etc. For instance, Netherland have over 3,000 greenhouse companies that operate over 9,000 hectares of greenhouses and employ some 150,000 workers producing €7.2 billion worth of vegetables, fruits, plants and flowers.
Greenhouse farming is gradually finding its footing in Nigeria too. For example, Taraba State is in the process of setting up a very large greenhouse farm which is going to employ over 300 youths. Also, many individuals and private organizations are embracing greenhouse farming in Nigeria.
Advantages of Greenhouse Farming
There are many advantages of growing crops and plants in a greenhouse. Some of these advantages are:
- Plants are protected from unfavorable weather conditions that affect their growth
- Plant environment are better managed to reduce the harmful effect of pest and diseases
- Plants can be grown and made available throughout the year
- Plants and crop can be grown in commercial quantities in urban areas or in the city
- Improved harvest and production yields due to better management and control of plant environment
Greenhouse Construction in Nigeria
In greenhouses, three considerations which are very critical to the growth and development of plants: ventilation, the amount of light that gets through to the plants and retaining the heat generated from the ground. These considerations determine the choice or type of materials used to construct a greenhouse.
As a result of these considerations, two materials are majorly used in greenhouse construction: Glass and Plastics (Moldable Polymers).
Glass has a higher light transmission value (97% to 98%) compared to plastics (80% to 96%) so a glass greenhouse allows more light to get to the plants. However, light passing through plastic diffuses therefore making light penetrate more areas of the greenhouse.
Plastics are lighter than glass so they require less construction work and materials when used for greenhouses. Although plastics like twin-wall polycarbonate (TWP) can be more expensive than glass, they are more durable and last longer.
Also, plastics have a good thermal insulation value ® which makes them suitable for retaining the ground-generated heat inside the greenhouse.
To cater for proper ventilation in greenhouse farming, the greenhouses are oriented so that the vents are open towards the direction of prevailing wind flow of the greenhouse site or location.
Types of Greenhouse
Based on the type of material and automation processes involved, greenhouses can be classified or grouped into three main types:
Domestic : This type of greenhouse is built using glass, usually of 3mm thickness, which is known as Dutch Light or Horticultural glass grade. It’s the cheapest type of greenhouse.
Plastics : This type of greenhouse is built using moldable polymer materials such as polyethylene (or polyethene) film or polycarbonate materials. It is more durable than the domestic greenhouse.
Commercial : This type of greenhouse is a full-service, stand-alone unit with built in screening, heating, cooling and lighting equipment that can be remotely controlled via a mobile device or computer. An example of such a unit is Freight Farm’s hydroponic tank. This type of greenhouse is the most expensive.
A commercial greenhouse farming unit available in Nigeria is the Dizengoff Greenhouse. The Dizengoff greenhouse (which is also called or known as Dizengoff Farmer’s Kit) is a plastic greenhouse unit that is fitted with tools and inputs for sustainable farming needed for a whole season of growing crops.
The Dizengoff greenhouse comes with certain add-ons that have been designed to give farmers the highest possible chance to succeed in greenhouse farming in Nigeria. Some of these add-ons that come with the Dizengoff greenhouse are:
Fertilizer and Agro Chemicals : The right fertilizers needed for a whole growing season and certified pesticides for complete pest coverage, also for a full growing season.
Drip Irrigation System : Gravity-fed drip irrigation system which ensures efficient water usage in the greenhouse.
Quality Seeds : High yielding hybrid varieties of tomatoes, pepper, cucumber and sweet melon tailored for effective growth in the greenhouse.
Jacto Sprayer : Portable and hand-operated knapsack sprayer for applying the greenhouse agro chemicals to the plants.
You can purchase the Dizengoff greenhouse with its accompanying add-ons for N1, 500,000.
Cost of building a greenhouse in Nigeria
You can choose to build a greenhouse farm in Nigeria instead of purchasing a commercial greenhouse. The type of greenhouse you can build in this case are the Plastic type using polyethene material. The cost of building a local greenhouse in Nigeria with a dimension of 100 meters by 50 meters will cost you about N300, 000. While a 150 meters by 60 meters greenhouse can be built for N600, 000.
If you would like to start greenhouse farming in Nigeria and you need a greenhouse farming business plan or consultation service, please send a mail firstname.lastname@example.org