Maize farming is a profitable agribusiness widely cultivated throughout the world. It is an important staple food and one of the main cereal crops in West Africa. It is one of the most consumed cereal after sorghum, millet, and rice.
Maize is a versatile crop used both domestically and industrially. It’s used for flour milling, brewing, bread baking, confectionery, manufacturing, and animal feeding. It is an important source of carbohydrate, protein, iron, vitamin B, and minerals, and can be consumed in the form of porridge, pap, grits, popcorn, etc. Freshly harvested corn can be eaten in a roasted or boiled form.
Owning to the increasing Nigerian population, the demand for maize both for domestic and industrial purposes has been on the rise. Hence, there is a need to heavily invest in this business area.
Do you have an interest in agribusiness? Maize farming is a good agribusiness to invest in.
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Maize Farming In Nigeria
Maize also called corn is a popular farming business in Nigeria. It is usually done on a small and large scale in every part of the country, but mostly in the Northern region for commercial purposes.
Today, Nigeria is the 11th largest producer of maize in the world, and the 2nd largest producer in Africa after South Africa. The process has become easier especially through the use of modern tools from farming to the processing stage.
It has remained a key food crop in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Maize serves as one of the basic human food in Nigeria and as a raw material for cereal production in many manufacturing companies, like Nestle, Kelloggs, and beer production in brewery companies.
Little monetary investment in maize farming can yield a great profit. For instance, the hybrid maize with a mechanized system of farming can yield up to 10.2 tonnes per hectare, while the manual type of cultivation can yield up to 2.1 tonnes per hectare.
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Uses Of Maize
Maize has several alternative uses. For humans, its calorie content is high much more than rice and wheat. It is an important source of vitamin B, iron, carbohydrate, and protein.
Also, it can be used or processed traditionally by wet and dry milling methods to give a variety of food products. For instance, in Nigeria, it is used to produce foods unique to the different region such as; ogi (pap), fufu, corn pottage, tuwo masara, corn pudding, pito, donkwa, kokoro, aadun, gwate, etc.
For animals, it is one of the favourite raw materials for animal feed production. This is because it provides livestock with the required nutritional content and is preferred by farmers. It is a large component of commercial chicken feed, catfish, cow, goat, e.t.c
In addition, maize is in demand for industrial raw material due to its high starch content. The starch can be processed into additives, agents, and ingredients such as; ethanol, dextrose, sorbitol, dextrin, sorbic, and lactic acid. The ingredients can then be used for glue, starch, batteries, shoe polish, paint, ink, cosmetics, perfumes, etc.
Also, it can be used to produce edible items like beer, drinks, syrup, medicine, ice cream, etc.
Basically, the market for maize is huge, both in Nigeria and every other part of the world. I have highlighted step by steps plan on how to start the maize farming business and become successful at it.
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How To Start Maize Farming
Starting maize farming is not a difficult thing to do. If you are aiming to venture into this business, below are the basic steps to kick start the process.
Step 1: Register The Business
The first step in every business venture is to register the business. It is a step that involves the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), an agency responsible for registering businesses in Nigeria. Your business can be registered as a one-man business or as a limited liability company.
Whichever you decide, it should be in line with your company’s goals and long-term objectives. All you need is to pick a unique name, then, get other necessary requirements like valid means of ID and other details and start the process.
To start the process, log on to the official website of CAC or contact ReDahlia. ReDahlia is located at 43B Emina Crescent, off Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos. It is a company that offers business support services like business registration, co-working spaces, and consultation services. ReDahlia makes the registration process seamless and affordable for businesses.
With a registered business, you can open a corporate bank account for easy transactions with clients. Also, you have access to loans and other business support opportunities when your business is registered.
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Step 2: Create A Business Plan
Creating a business plan is a vital part of every successful business. It is a document that states the vision, mission, aims, and objectives of the business.
A viable business plan for maize farming should contain the industry overview, market analysis, operation cost, pricing, swot analysis, and the financial projections for the first 1-5 years of operation.
Having a business plan will give you access to grants, bank loans, and other funds tailored to farmers.
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Step 3: Secure Funding
It’s easy to secure funding if you are in the agricultural business. For example, the Nigerian government through the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) provides agricultural loans to farmers.
Asides from the government, you can approach investors or team up with other farmers to form a partnership.
If you have savings or assets you can liquidate to raise money for the business. Also, you can use crowdfunding to raise money for your business.
The bulk of the capital will go into land acquisition and preparation, purchasing seed, labour cost, purchasing working tools and equipment, pesticides, marketing and processing.
If you have enough funds, getting all these mechanical equipment can make the business very easy. They are:
- Soil cultivator
- Broadcast seeder
Step 4: Choose A Land
The ideal land for maize farming is a well-drained sandy loam or loamy soil. Although it can be grown on every land, it is more ideal to cultivate maize on a loamy soil or forest and savanna regions. It grows well under a temperature of 26 – 30°C with rainfall of between 75 to 150cm per annum.
Also, the soil needs to be rich in organic content and should have a good water retention capacity. So, in choosing a land, you must consider all of these factors.
Besides, you can look into getting 2-3 hectares of land in some of the major maize producing states like Adamawa, Kebbi, Jigawa, Niger, Nassarawa, Sokoto, etc, or in other regions of your choice.
Once you have land, the next thing is to prepare the land for planting.
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Step 5: Prepare The Land
Land preparation can be done mechanically, chemical, or manually. The most important thing is to remove the weeds and remains of the previously grown crops from the land.
Then, keep the soil loose for a good seedbed. Also, plough the land to bring the soil to a fine tilth by preserving the topsoil when uprooting and clearing trees.
Once the land has been prepared, the maize should be planted immediately. This will allow the maize to germinate ahead of weeds. But, if the land has been used for maize cultivation before, you can incorporate residue of the previous crop into the soil.
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Step 6: Plant The Seed
There are two major seasons/periods for planting maize in Nigeria; the early season and late season.
For the early season, if your land is in the forest zone, the best time for planting is between 15 March to 1 April, or as soon as rainfall is steady. But, if in the derived Savannah zone, it is best to plant as soon as rainfall is steady especially in April. In the Southern Guinea Savannah Zone, planting is best for May and June depending on the rainfall.
Examples of the maize varieties for early season are;
- Yellow Open-Pollinated Varieties – Western Yellow 1: TZSR-Y-1 (Streak Resistant), Western Yellow 1: TZSR-Y-1 (Streak Resistant)
- Yellow Hybrid Varieties – 8425-8; 8329-15
- White Open-Pollinated Varieties – TZPB (FARZ 27); TZB (FARZ 34)
- White hybrids – 8321-18; 9022-19; (Striga Resistant).
For the late season, plant preferably between the first half of the month, August (1-15) in areas where rainfall is likely to be adequate. In this time, you can plant early maturing streak and/or downy mildew resistant varieties. Such as;
- Yellow Open-Pollinated Varieties e.g Tzesr-y, Dmr-esry.
- White-open pollinated varieties e.g TZESR-W, DMR-ESRW.
- Popcorn e.g White Pop, Yellow composite.
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How To Plant
As soon as the seed has been decided, the next thing is to plant. Maize seed can be planted by hand (hoe) or with the use of a machine (rototiller). First of all, till the soil to a depth of 6 inches, then, make mounds or ridges and insert four kernels of corn facing upwards inside one mound and close the soil loosely. Continue this pattern for other mounds on the farm. If planted mechanically, the depth planting should not be more than 5 cm (2 inches).
Space the rows about 30-36 inches apart and repeat the same method for all the ridges.
Maize can be planted on the same land used for cassava farming and can be done side by side.
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Step 7: Control Pest And Diseases
Maize farming is susceptible to pests and diseases and this can cause great damage to the plants. If care is not taken, there can be a loss of about 10 to 100% depending on the time of their infection.
Some of the common weeds and diseases that infest maize are; downey mildew, rust, leaf blight, stalk, ear rots, leaf spots, maize streak virus, and striga. For instance, striga also called witchweed is one of the most dangerous weeds common in the Savanna area of Nigeria.
Also, there are pests like corn borers, wireworms, cutworms, flea beetles termites, storage insects, beetle, etc. Stem borer is very dangerous and can cause a loss of 20-40% during cultivation and 30-90% post-harvest storage.
In order to get a good yield and minimize the effects of pests and diseases, you can weed 3-4 times at regular intervals using a hoe or chemical with specified herbicides. Also, you can use herbicides/pesticides or appropriate chemicals like Nitrogen after two weeks of planting and at other intervals.
Nitrogen is a constituent element of protein and also integral components of other compounds essential for plant growth processes including chlorophyll and enzymatic processes. By adding it, the fertility level of the land will improve which will then yield a good crop.
In addition, you use traps or fence the farm round to prevent raccoons, bat, etc. Also, plant other disease-resistant varieties around the maize.
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Step 8: Harvest
Maize matures fast and so, you can harvest within 2-5 months of planting, depending on the variety and weather. As soon as the ears turn dark green, silk turns brown and kernels are soft and plump, it can be harvested. Harvesting can be manually or mechanically depending on the size of the land.
To harvest manually, pull the ears from the stalk of the plant with hand. You can use machines like corn-pickers or corn-shellers. These machines can harvest, shuck ears, and pre-clean the corn kernels.
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Step 9: Market The Product
It is not enough to have a product, the most important thing is knowing how to sell the product. And this requires creating awareness about your product.
In the case of maize, if you have big farmland, with a standard business structure in place, you can write proposals to manufacturing companies whose raw materials include maize. Write a detailed proposal and pitch what they stand to gain if they make you their supplier.
Also, build an online presence using a website optimised for search engines. Design a unique logo, business card, fliers, and make sure to distribute them to your target market.
Equally, leverage social media platforms and build a community on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. On these platforms, you can post the daily activities going on the farm. This way, you are sure to create awareness and be patronised by your audience once the crop is ready.
More so, you can sell the products directly to local traders, roadside roasters, or individuals. In addition, build relationships with other farmers; both crop and livestock farmers. They can refer businesses to you.
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Maize farming in Nigeria does not require a lot of training or capital before you can start. It is a sustainable business with a high chance of survival. Once there is adequate rainfall, good climate condition and you are diligent by following the highlighted steps, you are on your way to success.
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7 thoughts on “How To Start Maize Farming Business In Nigeria”
Thanks for this excellent impact.
Thank you too for visiting and reading. Do get the comprehensive guide which contains the step-by-step guides and cost of starting the maize business. Get it here https://www.entrepreneurs.ng/35-business-ideas/. You can reach us directly on WhatsApp: 08038874148. Thank you.
I have started already but big challenge of pest, what should I do?
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Please get our comprehensive guide on how to start the maize farm business: https://www.entrepreneurs.ng/product/start-your-own-maize-farming-business/
It will answer your questions.
This article is found helpful to me, and I believe it will be very helpful and encouraging to those who have the mindset of doing Agric but don’t know how to go about it/start.
We’re glad you the content insightful. Interestingly, we have a more comprehensive proposal that will help you start the maize farming business and 34 other profitable businesses. You can find it here: https://www.entrepreneurs.ng/35-business-ideas/
Maize farming is a good agriculture venture.