Edo State is notable for the production of pineapple, and the farmers in the state say it is lucrative, but the production is limited because of some challenges.
One of the farmers in the state, Henry Osemwenghogho, identified lack of storage facilities as one of the major challenges affecting pineapple farming in the state.
“Pineapples, on reaching maturity, ripen almost at the same time, and due to lack of storage facilities for preservation, many are lost.”
Other challenges, according to him, are lack of finance, access roads to convey farm produce to markets, lack of consistent workers, and fluctuating prices, among others.
He said there is market for pineapple in the state while production is good because of the fertile land, adding that there are prospects for pineapple farming in the state.
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“The market is not just in Edo. We take the produce to Borno, Kaduna, Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Enugu and other states of the country where there is a huge market for pineapple.”
“Pineapple farming doesn’t really have a season to start; majorly, we start planting by February up to April but if farmers are not able to plant all the hectares within the period, they can continue by December,” he explained.
For a new farmer in pineapple production, he said he should, first of all, acquire land, either through buying or lease.
“You then clear and burn the debris when it is dried and start planting the pineapple suckers.
“But everything involves money; to get the land and employ workers to clear it and start planting.
According to him, getting the seedlings for planting is easy in Edo because farmers have enough suckers, but that too involves money.
“Before now, a sucker used to cost between N10 to N20 but it is now between N50 and N100 depending on size.
He lamented that they have not received any form of assistance from the government, adding that even when they applied for loans, financial institutions did not take them seriously.
“I applied once, but when I discovered that they were not taking me seriously, I opted out and fell back on my savings. Any farmer here is either doing it through his savings or with support from siblings,” he lamented.
He said pineapple is of great economic value to farmers because they get daily income from it, adding that it is a very lucrative venture.
“There are many buyers on ground, who come to buy and transport them to Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Sokoto, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and the southeastern states.”
According to him, marketing pineapple is very easy because you have buyers waiting for the produce to mature, adding that the only period farmers experience glut is when they have surplus from bumper harvest.
“I have about 30 acres of pineapple farm located in Ovia South East and if the government can locate a factory for us, it would go a long way to assist us in curbing wastages occasioned by lack of storage facilities.
He added that government should create access roads for farmers to convey their produce to the market as well as help them secure loans to expand their farms.
On his part, another farmer, Osayi A., described fire as a major challenge confronting pineapple farming, as other challenges could be overcome with time.
“Most farmers have lost hectares to fire and it is the most serious one among the numerous challenges. Also, harsh weather also affects pineapple,” he said.
He said pineapple farming is very profitable, but one has to maintain it until production time through constant weeding, adding that once it starts producing, the farmer would get his investment back and profit.
“Pineapple takes one to three years to produce, as the case may be, as the size of sucker planted, maintenance, and planting time affect the duration of production.
“If you plant in the early part of the year and weed the farm, it will produce fast, so planting early is best for pineapple farming,” he said.