Cucumber Farming in Nigeria; Complete Guide on How to Start (2021)

Cucumber Farming in Nigeria
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Are you looking to start cucumber farming in Nigeria? Then you’re in the perfect spot as this cucumber production guide will teach you everything you need to know about cucumber farming techniques in Nigeria.

Have a good read.

Cucumber Farming in Nigeria – An Introduction

Agriculture is a big deal in Nigeria – almost as big a deal as oil and gas exploration and production.

When we talk about agriculture in Nigeria, we talk about the farming of food and cash crops such as cowpea, maize, oil palm, cotton, cassava, cocoa, groundnut, and many more.

However, not many people discuss commercial cucumber farming in Nigeria.

It is a lucrative farming business, which with the right soil type, capital, skilled and experienced labor, technology, and attention can produce high cucumber farming profits.

Cucumber and watermelon farming have certain similarities since both plants are from the same family, Cucurbitaceae.

But despite the similarities, both are not the same.

Cucumbers are vine plants/vegetables with low calories, high water content, a refreshing taste, and various health benefits.

They have green rinds, with white flesh and are highly consumed in Nigeria and across the globe too.

Cucumbers originate from India and there is enough information concerning that, however, there is hardly any information of the origin of cucumber in Nigeria.

If you’re looking to go for a different agricultural path in Nigeria, you might want to consider modern cucumber farming, as it is a lowkey venture in the country.

As one would expect, growing and grooming cucumbers is not as easy as planting other conventional crops or fruits.

It will take you a lot to successfully run a cucumber farm in Nigeria, but trust that the proceeds will make up for the stress and effort.

You may also have to undergo some cucumber farming training before going into the venture.

Before going into the cucumber farming guide and how to start cucumber farming in Nigeria, let’s take a quick look at the health benefits of cucumbers.

Related: Food and Beverage Companies in Nigeria; A Complete List

Health Benefits of Cucumbers

  • Cucumbers may prevent dehydration due to their high moisture content
  • They contain antioxidants that protect against heart, lung, and autoimmune diseases.
  • Perfect for reaching and sustaining good skin health
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Cucumbers may also prevent cases of high blood pressure
  • Support digestive health and prevent constipation
  • Their low calorie content makes them perfect for losing weight
  • High nutrient content
  • Cucumbers may also function as potent pain relievers

Cucumber Farming in Nigeria

Yes, we have talked at length about how profitable cucumber farming is, and the benefits of cucumbers, but one will enjoy neither of the two without understanding some basic concepts about practical cucumber farming.

Also, understand that just like other agricultural products, cucumber doesn’t grow in a day or two, neither does it grow in a week.

In fact, experts claim that it takes about 2 months – give or take, for cucumbers to reach maturity.

So, patience is key.

Now that you understand this, let’s dive into the process of cucumber farming in Nigeria.

Process of Cucumber Farming in Nigeria

Here, you will learn some of the best cucumber farming practices in Nigeria.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you will have learned all about cucumber farming in Nigeria.

Think of it as a cucumber production manual.

Note: Most of the cucumber production in Nigeria is done in the Northern region.

However, it is very possible to cultivate cucumbers in other geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

Step One: Feasibility Study and Business Planning

You might be thinking, “What’s the need for all these fancy terms and processes? Let me just get on the farm and start planting my cucumbers!”

Your enthusiasm is understood, but you have to understand that cucumber cultivation in Nigeria is a business venture, so you can’t just jump in head-on, without a proper plan for how the business will run.

What is your budget?

Your target harvest numbers and profits?

Possible challenges and solutions to them?

What are the labor and technology requirements?

What is your marketing strategy when the harvest comes?

And so many more questions.

You may be thinking that you’ll figure all these out as you go on.

But, it is better for you to find answers to these questions now if you want to succeed at this.

Step 2: Site Selection

Well, you’re not going to be planting your cucumber mid-air.

So, of course, you need to select a piece of land (or pieces of land) where you want to set up your cucumber farm.

Here are some things you need to know:

  • Exposure to the proper amount of sunlight is vital, not just because of photosynthesis, but because cucumbers are highly sensitive to cold temperatures.
  • Cucumbers grow best in light to medium, well-drained loam soil rich in organic matter, and with moderate soil moisture. As you know, harvested cucumbers usually have high water content (96%), and they get it from the soil – just laying emphasis on the need for the land to be well-drained.
  • These plants grow optimally in neutral to slightly alkaline soils (pH range: 5.5 – 6.5)

It is advisable to consider these things too:

  1. Start with a small piece of land. Since you’re new to the cucumber farming business, you might want to gain some experience before deciding to scale up and set up hectares of cucumber farms.
  2. Set up your cucumber farm near a market or where you can easily sell them off.
  3. If you can, avoid lands with trees and thick vegetation, it will save you some costs during land preparation.
  4. Your cucumber farm also has to be near a major water/irrigation source. You absolutely cannot rely on rainfall alone. An alternative would be to dig up a well/borehole, but the expenses of executing this might be quite heavy on such a new venture.

Step 3: Site Preparation

Except the land is already prepared, you will need to perform some activities on it before you can plant your cucumber seeds on it.

You will need to perform clearing, plowing, and tilling operations to make the land suitable for cucumber farming.

These can all be done through manual or mechanized labor.

Clearing the land till it’s bare and free of weeds or other plants will make it easy for your cucumbers to grow optimally and without any competition.

Tilling and plowing will loosen up the soil, thereby making it for the roots of your cucumbers to penetrate the soil and reach enough amounts of water and nutrients.

It is not advisable to apply bush burning as a method of clearing the land as it may lead to the destruction of topsoil nutrients and nitrogen-producing bacteria.

Step 4: Application of Compost Manure

Your cucumbers will need all the organic matter and nutrients they can get.

Ensure this by supplying them with compost manure which includes food processing residuals, food scraps, wood ash, animal manure (chicken manure specifically), grass clippings, and coffee grounds.

These materials will break down into useable nutrients for your cucumbers.

After applying the compost, add just enough water and leave the site for about 7 days for decay to take its course.

It is most advisable to avoid chemical fertilizers like the common NPK fertilizer.

These fertilizers contain harmful chemicals which may be absorbed by the cucumbers.

This may later be toxic to people or animals who ingest them.

Step 5: Selection of Viable Seeds

A viable seed is one capable of germination under optimal growing conditions.

Seed viability is crucial to the success of cucumber production in Nigeria.

Without it, the previous processes are rendered null and void – hence the need to take it seriously.

One way to ensure that you’re planting viable seeds is to buy them from a reliable source.

There are different agricultural outlets in Nigeria where you can buy viable seeds from, all you need to do is look in the right places.

You may also need to choose whether you want to buy general or hybrid cucumber seeds.

General seeds may be susceptible to Downy Mildew, Bacterial Wilt, Angular Leaf Spot, Powdery Mildew, and other important diseases of cucumber.

Hybrid seeds are genetically modified seeds that are often resistant to such diseases and may grow even faster.

However, they are more expensive than the general seeds, so you may want to consider that before making a choice.

Some of the most common hybrid seeds in Nigeria are;

  • Murano F1
  • Tokyo F1
  • Gemini 7 F1, and
  • Darina F1.

Technisem cucumber seeds are also highly reliable.

To ensure that you’re buying viable seeds, you may want to contact the seed regulatory body of Nigeria to confirm if the organization you’re purchasing seeds from have a good record.

Step 6: Irrigations

After selecting viable seeds, the next thing to do is plant them.

But before doing that, you need to make sure the land has enough moisture to support the seeds’ growth and survival.

You ensure this by irrigating the land.

This will only be the first phase of irrigation, as you will need to irrigate your cucumber farm from time to time (about 5 times a week).

Remember earlier when it was said that the cucumber farm should be set up near a water source?

Well, now it will come in handy.

There are various irrigation systems you can apply, but the best for cucumber are overhead sprinkler, seepage, and drip irrigation systems.

Drip irrigation is the best in managing water usage per acre.

Note:

  • You don’t have to irrigate your cucumber farm if there is enough rainfall. However, once you start to notice soil dryness or lack of rainfall, irrigation becomes pertinent.
  • It is advisable to perform irrigation early in the morning (between 4 am and 6 am) or in the evening when it is cool. Irrigation in hot conditions may do more harm than good to your cucumber plants.

Step 7: Planting

Finally, you can start planting your cucumber seeds on the prepared farmland.

However, there’s a process and method to cucumber seed planting, and you need to learn it if your cucumber farm is to be a success.

Here’s how to plant cucumber seeds:

  • The best method of planting cucumber seeds is the direct seeding method on the farm. This should be done when the soil is warm, as cucumber seeds will not germinate in a soil temperature lower than 60 degrees. Simply push two or three cucumber seeds 1 inch into the soil, with a spacing of 18 to 36 inches (2 to 3 feet) apart. If the soil is moist and warm, the seedlings will germinate within a few days (typically within 3-10 days).
  • Another process of planting cucumbers is to plant them in mounds (or “hills”) with spacing of 1 to 2 feet apart. 2 to 3 seeds should be planted in each mound. After the plants germinate and reach a height of 4 inches, thin them to one plant per mound. If you feel the soil is too cold, you can help warm up the soil by covering the hill or mound with black plastic. You may not need this since it is usually warm/hot in Nigeria.
  • You may deploy a trellis if you want the vine to climb, or if you have limited space. This process also protects the fruit from damage from lying on the moist ground. A trellis is a structure made of wood, metal, or bamboo that supports climbing plants like cucumbers.

Note:

  • Cover newly planted cucumber seeds with nets or baskets to protect the seeds from pests like rodents, squash bugs, squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, and other pests.
  • Also, consider mulching the land with chopped leaves, straw, or other organic mulch options to protect the cucumbers from pests, control erosion, and maintain proper soil temperature and moisture content.
  • Inserting the cucumber seeds deeper than 1 inch may hinder seed growth or even induce death of the seedling because the seed’s plumule will suffer weakness before sprouting.

Step 8: Vine Staking

Vine staking is an important post-planting operation and it is seen as one of the agronomic practices of cucumber.

If everything goes according to plan, after two weeks, your cucumber plants must be growing into really long vines.

When this happens, it is time to stake them.

Staked cucumbers are easy to harvest, clean, and free from pests and diseases, they grow optimally, and also do not decay from lying on moist soil.

How to stake a cucumber plant:

  • Insert the stake into the soil between each cucumber plant (about 2 to 3 feet apart)
  • Tie a horizontal wire or string along the top end of each stake
  • Repeat the same process until all the stakes on the farm have wires between them

Step 9: Pruning and Clearing

In simple terms, pruning is the process of removing laterally growing shoots from the major cucumber vine.

Pruning may prove to be an important step in grooming cucumbers because it helps create a balance between fruit production and vine growth.

Vine overgrowth may affect fruit production, hence the need for pruning.

Start trimming cucumber vines by removing any dead or damaged parts.

You can also remove older leaves to allow sunlight access to developing fruit and improve air circulation in the vines.

Warning: Don’t risk the health of your cucumber plants. It is advisable to prune cucumber plants 3-5 weeks after they start to germinate. Trimming a cucumber plant too early may destroy the vine, and lead to poor growth and fruit production.

You should only do this if you’re an expert at it or if you will hire an expert.

Clearing is another important post planting operation for cucumber plants.

It is important to clear other plants and weeds growing on the farm.

This will allow the proper growth and development of the cucumbers.

Be careful not to cut the cucumber fruits or vines with sharp objects as it may expose the cucumber plants to harmful diseases.

Step 10: Application of Pesticides/Insecticides

Pests are one of the major challenges of cucumber farming.

If you cannot control them by using the old-fashioned picking method, you may need to deploy pesticides/insecticides.

Most of the pests of cucumbers are squash bugs, aphids, mites, squash vine borers, and cucumber beetles.

They not only eat cucumber plants but may also act as vectors of dangerous plant diseases.

There are two forms of pesticides/insecticides you may want to consider: Organic and Inorganic (Chemical).

It is advisable to do away with chemical insecticides because of their harmful effects on the environment and their toxicity.

Instead of opting for chemical insecticides like Furadan, here’s an organic insecticide formula:

  • Boil some Neem and Moringa leaves. 
  • Mix a suitable amount of dried/mashed plantain leaves, ground ginger, and garlic with the water from the previous process
  • Pour the solution in your knapsack sprayer and spray the farm with this solution once every 3days.
  • This is a proven organic method of dealing with pests and harmful insects in your cucumber farm

Step 11: Harvesting

Harvesting comes after the plants start fruiting and the maturation of the fruits.

The onset of fruiting is visible by the development of yellow flowers on the plants.

The timeframe between germination and harvesting is between two to three months (50 to 70 days.)

The best way to harvest cucumber is to cut the fruit itself from the vine using a sharp knife.

Note:

  • Make sure not to twist or pull on the vine. Doing so may disrupt the flow of water and nutrients in the vine. This might lead to plant withering and you will lose the whole plant. Also, wear gloves while harvesting.
  • Harvest cucumbers every 2-3 days (daily in hot weather)
  • Harvest the cucumbers when they reach the desired size. Don’t allow them to grow too big, lest they ripen and start to turn yellow, and become bitter.
  • You can harvest cucumbers multiple times. To achieve this, make sure no mature cucumbers are left on the plants.

Step 12: Seed Saving

In preparation for another planting cycle, you should save the seeds from your cucumbers.

How to Save Seeds from Cucumber

Here’s how to go about it:

  • To save seeds from cucumbers, allow healthy fruits to ripen on the vine until their rinds transform from green and smooth to leathery, yellow or brown rinds.
  • Cut them away from the vine and slice away the rinds without cutting into the seeds.  Place in a bucket of water and mash thoroughly with your hands. Leave for two days.
  • After two days, discard the floating seeds, and collect the seeds at the bottom of the bucket.  Spread them out on a clean surface and allow them to dry at room temperature for two weeks.
  • Store in a dry cool place.

Properly saved cucumber seeds can remain viable for up to 5 years.

A good business plan for cucumber farming will help you figure out how best to market and sell your cucumber harvest.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Cucumber Farming in Nigeria.

Is Cucumber Farming Profitable?

For smart and experienced farmers, cucumber farming can be a highly profitable venture.

Within a few months of growing cucumbers, it is possible to make about 2 – 5 million naira in cucumber farming profits.

Profits from cucumber farming are sure if you have set up a well-detailed business plan on cucumber farming and conduct a feasibility study.

These plans will help you calculate the costs of starting and running a cucumber farm and the possible profits from selling them in the markets.

Depending on the size/weight of your cucumbers and the time of the year, you can sell a bag of cucumbers for about 4,000 to 10,000 naira.

Now that things are highly costly in the country, you can even increase the price, and by the time you’re done selling your bags of cucumbers, you will be in bumper profits.

How Long does it Take to Grow a Cucumber?

50-70 days (about 2 months.)

Growing a cucumber from seed to full fruit maturity will take between 50-70 days (about 2 months.).

What is the Best Time to Plant Cucumber?

In Nigeria, cucumbers can be planted virtually anytime – even in the dry season, as long as you can provide sufficient irrigation to support their growth.

If you want to reduce costs on irrigation, you might want to plant your cucumbers during the raining season, which usually falls around February/March.

Creating a cucumber farming business plan will help you figure out to minimize irrigation costs without sacrificing the survival and health of your cucumbers.

Cucumber farming in Thailand suggests that vigorous cucumber vines do better in warm summers.

How Much is a Bag of Cucumber in Nigeria?

Between 4,000 Naira and 10,000 Naira.

Depending on the size/weight of the cucumbers and the time of the season, a bag of cucumbers can go for any amount between 4,000 naira and 10,000 naira.

These values may even increase because items and labor for maintaining cucumber farms are getting costly in the country.

How Much is a Kilo of Cucumber?

300 – 500 naira

A kilogram of cucumbers may cost any amount between 300 and 500 naira or higher in Nigerian markets.

What is the Best Fertilizer for Cucumber?

The best fertilizer for cucumbers is well-aged compost or more specifically, chicken manure.

You may also want to consider chemical fertilizers like NPK 10: 10: 30, since cucumbers require more nitrogen for proper growth.

Is Cucumber Farming Possible in Lagos?

Yes.

Cucumber farming in Lagos is feasible as long as you have all the necessary requirements like capital, manpower, machinery, experience, water, sunlight, viable seeds, and others.

Which Farming is Most Profitable?

Nigeria is a country blessed with rich agricultural soil and temperatures suitable for a wide variety of crops and animals, as well as ready indigenous and foreign markets for them.

Hence, it is difficult to pinpoint a particular form of farming as the most profitable in the country.

Here’s a list of the most profitable farming ventures in Nigeria;

  • Maize farming
  • Fish farming
  • Rice farming
  • Cattle rearing
  • Plantain farming
  • Snail farming
  • Cassava farming
  • Poultry farming
  • Cucumber farming
  • Pig farming

How Many Cucumbers Do You Get Per Plant?

Around 10

A healthy cucumber plant growing in the best conditions may produce as many as 10 cucumbers.

However, it is also possible for genetically-modified cucumbers or even general cucumbers to grow as much as 15 or 20.

How Many Cucumbers Can You Get Per Acre?

500 bags

With proper farming practices, it is possible to get up to 500 bags or more (40 kg each) of cucumbers from one acre of land at the end of a planting season.

Wrapping Up

It was a long read, but by now you should know how to cultivate cucumber and all there is to know about cucumber farming in Nigeria.

With this information and some experience on your side, you will succeed in the cucumber biz and make millions of naira or dollars in profits.

If you’re looking for sponsors to fund your dream of starting and running a cucumber farm in Nigeria, you may need to go and learn how to write a proposal on cucumber farming.

A well-written proposal may go a long way in getting people to invest in your plan for a cucumber farm.

If you found this article on Cucumber farming in Nigeria insightful, kindly hit the share button and also leave a comment.

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