I am Prince Ukpong Idiong. I come from the small town of Ukana in the Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Protection and Resource Management. After completing my education I made the choice to ply my trade in the northern part of Nigeria.
I am embarking on a ginger farming endeavor. You may not know it, but my country Nigeria is one of the top producers of ginger in the world. In the Nigerian market ginger is well known and in high demand, even though it is quite expensive. Kaduna state stands as the highest producer of the crop, while states like Gombe, Bauchi, Benue and Nassarawa, among others, are also major producers.
I want to expand my farming operation because we started cultivation on a small piece of land approximately 400 m2 that was allocated to us by the Kaduna State government. But we wish to expand our business to be able to capitalize on the market to export our goods to other parts of the world.
The socio-economic impact of ginger farming is such that it will create more jobs for the people of my community and also help to improve human health. It is used as a spice in many local cuisines, in bakeries as flavoring, and as a constituent of some herbal medicines. It is also used in breweries to produce ginger ale or ginger beer. The ginger plant can even be used for landscaping.
What motivated me to submit this project is that the present economic crisis in this part of the world demands diversification. Our economy is dependent on crude oil exploration, so the alternative means of helping the economy is through agriculture. Agriculture will create more jobs and promote sound health for the people of my community.
Ginger is available in various forms: fresh ginger rhizomes, powdered ginger and dried ginger rhizomes.
The vegetative propagation of ginger involves the following steps:
- Set preparation. When the fingers of rhizomes to be propagated begin to develop buds, they are cut into smaller pieces called sets. A set is about 3 cm in length and each set has at least one bud. The set to be propagated is usually stored until signs of growth are noticed, after which planting is performed.
- Planting. Ginger is planted by burying each set in a hole about 8 cm deep with the bud of each set pointing upwards in the soil. The sets should be spaced 30×30cm apart. Each set grows into a new ginger plant. Planting should be performed about a month before the rains come.
- Fertilization: Both organic and inorganic fertilizers can be used. Compost manure is preferable. The preferred fertilizer in Nigeria for ginger growing is the NPK 15:15:15, which is applied twice: first about twenty days after planting at a rate of 4 bags per hectare, and second about 40 days after the first application at the rate of 2 bags per hectare. Urea is used during the second fertilizer application.
- Weed control. Controlling weed growth on the ginger farm can be done manually by hand picking or by using chemicals (herbicides).
- Pest and disease control. Mites, shoot borers and leaf rollers are major pests that attack the ginger plant. These pests can be controlled by using pesticides and insecticides. Captan is used to control some of the diseases that affect ginger, such as leaf spot.
- Harvesting. On average ginger takes about nine months from the time of planting to mature. The rhizome can be harvested at different times depending on its purpose. If fresh ginger is required, it is harvested about six month after planting. If a matured ginger rhizome is required, it is harvested nine months after planting. Sometimes the rhizomes are left in the ground for nearly two years for propagation to continue. In Nigeria, harvesting begins in October and runs through May. Ginger rhizomes can be harvested manually by hand or with machines such as the mechanical digger.
- Processing: The activities involved in processing ginger depend on the end product required. When the harvested rhizome is washed with boiling water and dried later, the product is called dried ginger and this can be ground to produce powdered ginger. Otherwise, it can be used as a fully dried ginger rhizome. The rhizome can also be processed as fresh ginger or be peeled.
We can produce up to 20 tons of ginger per hectare. However, if we can acquire a bigger piece of land we can produce even more for the purposes of export to other countries.
Purchase of ginger rhizomes: USD $3000
Purchase of fertilizer: USD $500
Purchase of pesticides: USD $300
Transportation of ginger rhizomes and fertilizer to the farmyard: USD $200
Deployment of casual labor for the cultivation process: USD $1000
When all my rhizomes and farm materials are in place, and depending on when the first rains come, we are looking at 5 months at most.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Prince Idiong (Ukana, Nigeria) – ukmax11[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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