Practical Guide On How To Start A Profitable Sugarcane Farming Business In Nigeria
We often see sellers of sugarcane on the street and most of them may look haggard. We may be deceived into thinking that sugarcane farming is not profitable. Unfortunately, that is not true. I will shock you soon. Stay with me if you think you can start a profitable sugarcane farming business in Nigeria. Even if you don’t want to start any sugar cane business ab initio, you might be pushed to change your mind.
First of all, you should know that there is a huge market for your product if you want to start a profitable sugarcane farming business in Nigeria. You see, there is a high rate of sugar consumption in the country. That is not all, it is not even the main reason for telling you to start this business.
According to Edom of startuptipsdaily.com, “Over 1.5 million metric tonnes of sugar is consumed annually in the country and 1.32 MMT of it is produced by local sugar mills. However, these mills spend close to 500 million dollars on the importation of sugarcane from Brazil.”
What does the above stat mean for you? A massive opportunity I would say. Nigeria is ripe for sugarcane production and you will definitely have buyers waiting for you to get ready to sell.
In case you don’t know, sugarcane is a tall, grass-like, tropical, perennial crop. It is usually cultivated for its sugar content. It can be chewed but the real deal is selling it to people who will process it into sugar.
In this article, we shall look into the processes you will follow when you want to start a profitable sugarcane farming business in Nigeria. We shall also look at the opportunities involved in the business.
Business Opportunities in Sugarcane farming
Sugarcane production has many business opportunities. The following are the opportunities open to you when you are into sugarcane production.
Sugar and Sweeteners production
In the first instance, sugarcane is a sugar crop. You see, a great percentage (about 80%) of the sugar manufactured in the world comes from sugarcane. Therefore, the commercial value of the product is very high. It is sold to mills producing sugar and they are refined into fine sugar there. More so, bakeries, makers of pastry and even homes all need and use this product.
Of course, given the importance of sugar to the metabolic process of the body system, there is an increase in the consumption of sugar and this has subsequently led to the increase in the demand for sugar.
Non-Alcoholic and Alcoholic Beverages
You can benefit from sugarcane farming by starting non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages or by supplying the producers of the above goods. Sugarcane is used in the production of non-alcoholic, glucose filled and energy drinks and juice. It can also be used as a flavor in mixed fruit juices and its by-product, molasses is used in making hot alcoholic drinks such as rum.
Sugarcane can also be used for making renewable energy. It means that it can produce energy for electricity. The process of burning the fibers of sugarcane after extracting the sugar provides energy while keeping the environment clean.
Sugarcane can also be used for other things which provide great business opportunities. They can be used to make plastic meal packages, water bottles, and other plastic products. More so, sugarcane can be important in making skin care products. refined sugarcane is found in skin care products because it has exfoliating properties . on the other hand, when sugar is processed, it can scrub away dead cells.
How To Start A Profitable Sugarcane Farming Business In Nigeria
Research the business
When you want to start a profitable sugarcane farming business, you will need to take your time to look at what it really takes to do the business. You have to find out what you need to do and what to avoid, the opportunities involved, the risks and the benefits. You just need to research the business.
After getting all the necessary information on how to start the farming business, the next thing will be to prepare the farmland that will be used for the planting of the sugarcane. It should have the temperature of 25oC-30oC and 1400-2600mm annual rainfall.
The crop does well in most soil types. However, it does best in a well-drained fertile farmland that has 5.0-8.0 pH. You need a land that has moisture retention ability or you frequently irrigate it.
Planting and Propagation
When you have chosen a land to plant, the next will be to plant the sugarcane. You will need to clear out the weeds and till the soil. You can use disc or mold plows are great-tilling farm machinery.
When you are done tilling, you will make ridges through the means you can afford. You will need to give spaces between furrows. About 120cm on average soils or 150cm in deep soils should do it.
You can plant your sugarcane billets horizontally in four-inch deep rows and then cover with a layer of soil. You can plant with a sugarcane planter if you can afford it or manually.
One thing is to plant your crop, another is to manage your crops. If you really want to start a profitable sugarcane farming business, you must be ready to manage the crops. You will need to add nutrients for your sugarcane plantation to stay in good shape.
More so, you will need to handle pest and diseases as these are almost inevitable. You need to work on after-crop care to avoid pathogens and pests and these could be destructive to the plant.
According to Edom, below is how to harvest sugarcane;
Sugarcane crops take as much as 10-24 months to reach maturity and then are manually or mechanically harvested. Reap crystal cane crops as soon as they mature to obtain the high amounts of sucrose-delay results in a decrease in quality and quantity of sugar content.
Two weeks before harvest, be sure to stop all irrigation.
Manual harvests are carried out by skilled farmhands with the aid of machete or cane knives. Start by burning the field to remove leaves, and kill or chase out poisonous snakes. Stalks and sugarcane roots remain safe despite burning.
Next, cut sugarcanes right above ground-level to maximize its sugar yield.
Sugarcane or combined harvesters are the types of machinery used to mechanically reap cane crops. It harvests crops and transfers them into the attached bin at a much faster pace. There is no need to burn field or strip away leaves because it performs those tasks. The downside to mechanical harvesting is that sucrose levels drop rapidly and loss could occur if milling is delayed.