Avocado commonly referred to as the African Pear has the potential for fostering Nigeria’s industrial growth. The fruit also known as “green gold” for the high prices it fetches can generate foreign exchange in large volume annually. But despite an abundant water supply, a favorable climate, and wide areas of arable land to plant the commodity, coupled with its export potential, the crop still being neglected by Nigerian government compared to other African governments that take advantage of Avocado’s affluence.
However, Avocado is a versatile fruit as it can be used for both culinary purposes as well as a part of beauty regiments. It is one of the most nutritious fruits as it is very high in fiber, vitamins K, B5, B6, and C, folate and potassium. The bark, leaves, stems and roots are also used to make local medication. Despite its increasing popularity, the plant species has remained largely underdeveloped in the Nigeria.
Research have shown that Avocado farms could produce a gross income of $8,000 to $15,000 per acre, and require five or six acre-feet of water per acre, per year. Indoor flowering and foliage plants can produce a gross $500,000 per acre and require about half the water avocado farms need.
Currently, avocado has not been produced for industrial purposes but rather for household consumption or sale at local markets in Nigeria. It is predominant in the southern and central parts of Nigeria, including Ondo, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross River, Osun and Oyo, that have about 10 per cent of natural vegetation. If harnessed properly, avocado’s industrial potential can contribute immensely to furthering Nigeria’s economic growth through exportation.
Research shows that imports of fresh avocados to the European market have doubled from 2012 to 2016. This trend is as a result of the increased health consciousness of the consumers. With the increased demand for the Hass variety, Nigeria stands a chance of becoming an exporter like its Kenyan and South African counterparts.
Currently, Europe imports avocado from Peru, Chile, Mexico, and Kenya. The competition for the European market is fierce but the avocado industry experts expect a shortfall in production in the near future, as countries in Asia and the Middle East would begin to demand the product. This provides an opportunity for Nigeria to become an exporter of avocado.
Investigation revealed that Kenya, the world’s sixth largest producer of avocados currently produces 200,000 metric tonnes (MT) of the fruits per year yet exports 16,000 metric tonnes. Israel, on the other hand, produces 100,000 metric tonnes of the fruits but exports 60 per cent of the total and South Africa currently exports more than half of its annual production of around 125,000 tonnes to Europe.
Meanwhile, Kenyan avocado exports have recorded a 10 percent increase annually for the last few years. Its exports to the European market have doubled between 2012 and 2017.
Today, the Avocado is grown primarily as a cash crop, almost in all types of climate conditions and weather. However, there is also less capital required for growing avocado fruit crop and a very good returns as good fruit production.
Most of avocado production in Nigeria is done in rural areas but there is a huge potential for commercial production for export and industries. They could both serve as a source of foreign exchange for the country. There would also be need for government buy-in to ensure that the policies and programs favor avocado production.
There are varieties of pears fruits in Nigeria and all are nutritious and delicious in their own way, there is no need to worry about how to make profits in this kind of farming because it is one the fruits that can never to be enough no matter how much it is planted, so you will also make your money because they are in high demand.
So what you should be thinking about is how to start this pear farm business and which variety of pear will fetch more money in your locality. Below are the necessary steps to guide you through:
- The varieties of pear in Nigeria include the Avocado pear, the African or Bush pear and others, so try to know which one you should go for and the one which will yield you more money, and so on. Try also and get some other vital information as regarding the type of pear farming you want to embark on, as it will help you to know in details what you are actually going into.
- Before starting any farming business, it is better to have a little experience or knowledge about it first. Don’t jump into farming without knowing what season you to grow your pear, how to grow and harvest it, the things you have to look out for when you have cultivated it and so on. This will make you not to farm blindly and have the maximum profit as possible.
- Depending on the one you chose, and also the scale of your farming activities you will be able to find a suitable land for it. Finding a land too small or too big maybe not be the best choice as it will likely affect your productivity and make you spend more respectively. You can also rent a land if you are not financially stable at the moment of starting this farming activity and as time goes on you can buy the land of your choice from the profit you make.
- Soil plays an important role in farming and agricultural activities because that is what will determine if your products will grow well or not. Note, that even though Nigeria is in the tropical region that some crops and fruits tend to do better in some areas because of the soil compositions and the temperature changes. So, find out which soil is best for the kind of pear farming you want to engage in so that it can be able to get the best nutrients out of the soil.
- Put in mind the necessary things you need to make the pear farming activities a success from the inception to the carrying out of your plans. These include manpower, labour and costs as you will clear the land and prepare it for the farming, as well as the hiring of farming machines and equipment, paying of labourers and other miscellaneous which will arise at the cost of this project.
Apart from buying and renting of land, you should still have enough capital that will see you through till you start making profits to avoid stopping half way.
Long are the days when there are no much profits in farming, In Nigeria today, farmers are gradually becoming richer every day and have better opportunities of making more money. Even though the cultivation of a pear tree takes 3-4years to start bearing fruits, its return on investment is great.
While waiting for the tree to bear fruits you can use the time available to source for suppliers, distributors and companies that might be interested in the fruit because it will help you to quicken sales since pear generally are perishable fruits.