Nigeria has a multi-billion Naira opportunity in its spice farming industry that remains untapped and continues to go unnoticed by thousands of prospective entrepreneurs looking to venture into the agricultural industry.
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Irrespective of Nigeria as a country, the world spice industry is a multi-billion dollar one, with various African nations exporting spices to the tune of over $700 million dollars in yearly revenue, which Ethiopia, for instance, did in the year 2012.
Spices have been used as primary ingredients in African meals for decades to improve the taste, aroma, and appeal of the meals to the people feasting on them. They’ve become so ingrained in our feeding routine that almost every home in Nigeria and across Africa continues to add various types of spices to their meals anytime they have to cook, causing the spice industry to only continue to soar endlessly.
What Is Spice Farming In Nigeria About?
Spice farming is the cultivation of spices on farmlands. They can be harvested in the forms of fruits, stems, seeds, flowers, barks, or even rhizomes, and have a wide variety spanning over 50 different types of spices with popular examples like ginger, thyme, pepper, turmeric, and much more.
Business Opportunities In Spice Farming Around The World
The business opportunities in spice farming vary across different categories. Some of them are:
1). Spice Cultivation:
You could venture into the business of cultivating spices by growing them on farmlands. This is the basic level of the venture, as the spices must be cultivated before they can even be traded, processed, or branded.
2). Spice Trading:
This involves the buying of spices from spice farmers and selling of the spices to exit buyers. Since some spices are extremely scarce and difficult to find, you could build a business finding the farms, purchasing from them, and reselling to the spice processing and branding companies who need them for specific purposes. You could also source the spices for export.
3). Spice Processing And Branding:
Here, spices which have been harvested and traded to organisations undergo another form of processing and branding into products that can further be sold to individuals for use in their homes.
Facts And Benefits Of Spice Farming In Nigeria
- There are over 50 different types of spices.
- Spices have been used in meals for more than 4,000 years.
- Black garlic used to be associated with immortality in several myths like the Taoist mythology.
- Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, with a bowl of it costing as much as $371.
- Herbs are derived from a plant’s leaves whereas spices are sourced from the bark, buds, roots and seeds of a plant.
- Red peppers are unusually rich in vitamin C.
- Red bell peppers are simply fully ripened green bell peppers. Yellow bell peppers, however, are different cultivars.
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chili, the world’s hottest chili pepper can burn its way through protective latex gloves.
- Ancient Greeks and Romans thought basil would only grow if you screamed wild curses and shouted while sowing the seeds.
- Earthworms are 82% protein, rich in Omega 3, and are said to pair well with cumin and curry.
- Garlic, yoghurt, and tea tree oil are all successful home remedies for vaginal yeast infections.
- Before the discovery of electricity, there was a spice clock—a clock that opened a different compartment of spices each hour, so that people waking in the night could taste the time before going back to sleep.
- There is a herb called epazote, which can reduce the gassy effects of eating beans.
- Spices start germinating in anywhere from 4 to 18 days.
- Spices can grow in poor soil.
Types Of Spices
There are over 50 different types of spices that can be sold locally or exported as part of a multi-billion dollar industry. Below are some of the spices that can be sold:
- Stock cubes
And much more
How To Start A Spice Farming Business: Step By Step Guide
1). Select The Spice Crop You Intend To Cultivate:
The first step in starting a spice farming business is to decide what type of spices you intend to grow. As earlier stated, there are vast numbers of spices to choose from, and picking the right one or set is critical to growing a successful spice farm.
Some questions to ask yourself about your decision-making process are:
- How resistant is this crop to pests and diseases?
- Is there a large demand for this spice?
- What are the risks of growing this spice?
- Where and how will the spices be sold?
- What volume of this spice should I first grow?
When you’ve answered the questions to the best of your knowledge and are satisfied with the preliminary results your spice crop of choice may fetch you, you can go ahead to start a spice farming business in that regard.
2). Choose A Suitable Farmland:
Spices and herbs can be grown in garden beds, in containers, or right in your yard. They tend to be easy for new gardeners to grow and are ideal for those who are short on space. Though most spices and herbs are very hardy and will grow even in poor soil, you still need to be extra picky of the soil type.
Depending on the type of spice crop you’ve decided to plant, you should choose a farmland that’d work perfectly for it. Some factors to consider in choosing a farmland include:
- Access to sunlight
- Availability of water
- Soil type
Every spice crop has the best type of soil or conditions in which it can grow, and your second job as a farmer is to choose the best farmland that’s suitable for the spices you’ve decided to grow.
3). Apply Fertilizer And Start Planting:
You could first cultivate the spices by first planting them in small pots before replanting them in permanent pots or farmland. Next, you should soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before proceeding to plant them in soil, as soaking the seeds increases the chances of germination.
The seeds should then be planted at about a quarter inch deep, because generally speaking, the depth the seed is planted should be equivalent to about two to three times the size of the seed.
The fertility of the soil will determine the need for fertilizers or not. There are different types of fertilizers you could purchase, but irrespective of how fertile the soil is, if you want higher yields, you can apply fertilizer to the farmland.
4). Irrigate And Re-Fertilize:
Water the crops carefully, at least once a day to keep the soil moist, and re-fertilize the soil when the plants begin to grow.
5). Harvest & Market:
After a couple of weeks or months, depending on which type of spice you’re growing, the next step is to harvest your crops, keep them in optimal storage locations, and sell them through your supply chain network.
Challenges Of Spice Farming In Nigeria
Some of the challenges of spice farming in Nigeria and many parts of Africa include:
- Lack of experience.
- Pest and diseases
- Low and unstable investment in agricultural research.
- Financial challenges.
- Marketing challenges.
- Weed control.
- High cost of production.
- Low consumer purchasing power.
- Poorly managed supply chain.
Spice farming in Nigeria can be a Lucrative and profitable agribusiness, due partly to its vast market demands and largely on your own ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a profitable agribusiness to venture into, spice farming in Nigeria is a great option to explore.