Zobo farming business in Nigeria is one very lucrative, yet untapped business one can venture into with the current state of unemployment that is currently battling the country. While zobo farming is still unpopular among Nigerian farmers, the exposed ones are venturing into it because of the lucrative nature of the business. The leaves of the zobo plants are used in the production of the popular and nutritious zobo drink.
Facts about the Zobo farming business
Zobo farming business involves the planting of zobo plants (hibiscus plant) for the purpose of making zobo drinks. The hibiscus plant is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The zobo plant is a warm growing plant that is cultivated in African countries like Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Mali.
In Nigeria, northern states like Kastina, Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Gombe and Borno are the major hibiscus farming states in Nigeria.
According to a report which appeared on the Vanguard newspaper on the 5th of February 2018, Nigeria generated over $35 million in 2017 from zobo farming. This is to tell you how lucrative the business can be. You can decide to either export them to other countries, or supply to indigenous buyers in Nigeria.
Another very important fact about the zobo plant is that it is a perennial crop. This means that you can keep harvesting for years after your planting. The demand for the plant is higher than the supply, so you won’t have to stress yourself over getting buyers too.
Tips On How To Begin Zobo Farming
We’ll be listing some steps on how you can start a lucrative zobo farming business in Nigeria. Don’t hesitate in dropping us a comment if you don’t understand anything and we’d be sure to help.
Site selection and preparation
Hibiscus plants do very well in acidic soils, so it is advisable that you go for a sandy-loam soil with a pH within the range of 5.5 – 6.5. After choosing the farmland, you can proceed to the land preparation stage which involves clearing and tilling the ground in preparation for planting your zobo plants.
Planting can be done in two ways; either by seed broadcasting or stem propagation. In stem propagation, the stem of the parent plant should be cut about 5 to 6 inches with the bottom wet with liquid fertiliser in order to hasten germination.
NOTE: It normally takes between 8 to 10 weeks for the stem propagated hibiscus to develop roots. When planting with seeds, you will have to first soak the seeds in water overnight before planting.
Pruning involves cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to encourage growth. It should be done between August and October in order to stimulate the growth of new shoots and buds.
Pruning in the zobo plants will involve removing the branches growing sideways to enable the plants grow erect.
Irrigation and fertiliser application
You can irrigate during the dry season to prevent the leaves from turning yellow and falling off. While ensuring the plants have good availability of water, endeavour to avoid excess irrigation as it can cause root rot disease in the plants.
You can apply treated animal dung or liquid fertiliser to increase yield. Alternatively, you can go for NPK , as they are also useful in improving yield in crops.
Pest and disease control
This is also another very important part of zobo farming business. You should endeavour to control the pests and diseases that might attack the hibiscus plants. Common pests that you might notice in your farm include spider mites, aphids and mealy bugs. In the part of diseases, you might also have to tackle the stem/root rot.
You can control the pests with either neem oil or pesticides. In addition, avoid planting in waterlogged areas.
Maturity, harvest, and drying
Depending on the plant varieties planted, the zobo plants should start maturing within 4-8 months after planting. Harvesting can be between October and November, when the flowers are fully boom.
Very important, endeavour to harvest only the healthy flowers and and allow some stems on the flowers for easy drying. Washing of the harvested flowers should be done in order to remove any dirt or insects that might be attached.
Drying of the flowers can be done with a mat or rack, in an area where breeze won’t blow them away. You will spread the flowers under the sun until they shrink and turn brittle. Also remember to take them inside in the night to because of dews.
You can sell directly to retailers, or supply to wholesalers and retailers in larger quantities. A 25kg bad of zobo leaves costs between ₦7,000 to ₦10,000. If you have the leaves in big quantities, you can also export them to other countries in Asia, Europe, etc.
What more? If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to drop us a comment before leaving. Also check out our previous article on how to venture into maize farming business in Nigeria.