This article will essentially lead you through the process of growing potatoes in Africa, step by step.
Even if you grow potatoes in colder climates, the technique of commercial potato farming is the same.
To succeed, you only need to consider the temperature and soil requirements.
If you’re interested in learning more about a different tuber crop, check out this in-depth introduction to cassava growing.
So, let’s get this party started.
Farming Potatoes Has Many Advantages
If done correctly, potato farming can provide a good source of income.
It’s fantastic cuisine for a lot of people’s kitchens all over the world. For consumption, many families fry, boil, or roast potatoes.
When exported to other countries, potatoes can be a major source of foreign cash.
Potatoes provide incredible skin, hair, and health advantages. Potato juice is used to treat a variety of ailments and to get rid of warts.
Potatoes are excellent for polishing silverware, such as cutlery. Potatoes can be used to clean windows and erase stains.
It aids in the treatment of arthritis, infections, and boils.
Potatoes are excellent at absorbing salt from a cooking pot.
Potato is used by art students to create uniform patterns for stamp designs.
For a better potato harvest, watch this video on potato planting tips.
In Africa, How to Grow Irish Potatoes
The following are the steps to a successful potato farming business:
In Nigeria, find a suitable location for cultivating Irish potatoes.
Step 1: Find a Good Place to Plant Potatoes in Nigeria:
Potatoes need a lot of sunlight to grow well, so you can plant them in the open.
Potatoes may be grown in practically any soil, except saline and alkaline soils.
Naturally, the most favorable soils for cultivating potatoes are loamy and sandy loam soils that are rich in organic matter.
This is because the soils are loose and provide the least resistance to tuber expansion.
Make sure the soil has adequate drainage and aeration.
Your potato should be planted in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.2–6.4.
Step 2: Prepare the Ground for Potato Planting:
Growing potatoes necessitates a lot of ground preparation.
Clearing the property and plowing the soil are two steps in the potato planting procedure.
With a hoe or plow, harrow the soil until it is completely clear of weed roots.
Plowing at least three times and regular harrowing and rolling are usually required before the soil reaches a suitable condition: soft, with enough drainage and aeration.
At this point, you can add fertilizer to the soil and start preparing seedbeds for the potatoes.
Step 3: Understanding the Different Types of Potatoes and Choosing the Best Potato Variety:
Even though the potato is only one botanical species, Solanum tuberosum, the tubers come in thousands of different kinds.
The sizes, shapes, colors, textures, cooking properties, and tastes of the variety vary greatly.
You must choose the potato kind you want to grow.
There are various sorts to pick from, but you must take into account some of the following factors:
Consider these factors while selecting a potato cultivar for growing.
You must examine the variety’s disease resistance as well as the length of time it takes to mature.
You should also think about the potato’s production or yield, as well as the overall quality of the potato it produces.
Choosing the Best Potato Variety for Growing
Seed potatoes come in a variety of kinds in Nigeria, as you may already know.
Some are from the area, while others are from abroad.
Step 4: When to Plant Potatoes and How to Do It:
Sweet potatoes are grown by transplanting stems from established plants, whereas Irish potatoes are cultivated from seed.
Potatoes can be planted as soon as the ground can be tilled, but keep in mind the soil temperature.
Potato plants won’t start growing until the soil temperature reaches 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
To avoid rotting the seed potato, the soil should be moist but not waterlogged.
How to Plant Irish Potatoes
After you’ve finished preparing the land for potato planting, perform the following:
1. Dig a four to the six-inch-deep trench.
Before planting the Irish seed potatoes, fertilize the trench according to the soil test results’ recommendations.
2. Fill the trench with seed potatoes, spacing them 10 to 18 inches apart.
Cover the potatoes with 2 inches of soil and separate the trenches by 2 to 3 feet.
3. Water the potatoes as soon as they are planted.
Water the soil every three days or so to keep it moist. The soil should not be allowed to dry out or get soggy.
4. Once sprouts emerge from the ground, cover the potatoes with another 2 inches of soil.
Continue mounding soil or mulch over the tops of the potato plant roots as the plants grow to keep the growing tubers covered.
Potato tubers become green when exposed to sunlight and can be hazardous, thus they should not be consumed.
How to Control Weeds on a Potato Farm,
Potatoes are broadleaf crops that are chemically sensitive.
As a result, weedicide treatment should be done with extreme caution.
According to Agropedia, it can be done in the following way.
Use EPTC (1-2 kg ha-1) or Fluchloralin (1.0 kg ha-1) for pre-plant soil incorporation. Apart from weed control, EPTC is known to boost the proportion of large-sized tubers in the harvest.
Pre-emergence: Use Alachlor @ 1.0 kg ha-1 or Pendimethalin @ 1.8 kg ha-1 or Metribuzin @ 1.0 kg ha-1 or Methabenzthiazuron 1.0-1.5 kg ha-1 or Oxifluorfen @ 0.1-0.2 kg ha-1 or Oxidiazon @ 0.75 kg ha-1 or Oxifluorfen @ 0.1-0.2 kg ha-1 or Oxidiazon @ 0.75 kg ha-1.
Use of Paraquat and Diquat at 0.36-1.0 kg ha-1 or Metribuzin at 0.35-1.0 kg ha-1 early after emergence. When no more than 5-10% of potato plants have sprouted from the soil, apply. In India, it is the most widely used for the treatment of potato weeds.
In potato cultivation, these pesticides can be used to battle various forms of weeds.
To achieve better outcomes from using the solution, acquire thorough training from a professional on mixing these ingredients with water.
The spraying swath must be accurate.
For the best effects, the moisture content of the soil should be appropriate while applying the weedicide.
Step 6: Fertilizer Application in the Potato Farming Business:
Growing large potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) necessitates good soil preparation before planting.
Adding a lot of potassium and nitrogen to the soil while it’s being prepared helps them get off to a good start.
To grow huge tubers later in the season, the potato plants require an additional dose of fertilizer.
The type and amount of fertilizer to use are usually determined by the results of soil tests.
Cover crops, organic fertilizers, and non-organic fertilizers can all help to improve soil fertility.
Chemicals in non-organic fertilizers may cause seed potatoes to burn. So, before planting, is the best time to use them.
To fertilize your potato, use a combination of broadcasting and side-dressing methods of fertilizer delivery.
This is usually more effective than relying just on one of the fertilization techniques.
How to Harvest the Mature Potato
The weather, the growing season, and the tuber size you prefer all play a role when you harvest your potatoes.
Growing potatoes, on the other hand, normally takes 3 to 4 months after planting to reach maturity.
Wait until the vines’ tops have died down and are beginning to wither before picking.
Because potatoes are tubers, you want your plant to store as much of the delicious starch as possible.
When the foliage becomes brown, it’s time to start thinking about harvesting.
Harvesting is usually done on a sunny day with slightly dry but not packed soil.
Before storing these potatoes, make sure there is no damage to the tubers during the harvesting procedure.
This will keep the tubers from deteriorating too quickly while they’re being stored.
Harvesting potatoes is a step in the potato farming process.
How to Prepare and Store Potatoes After They’ve Been Harvested:
The two most critical criteria in successful potato storage are temperature and tuber damage.
The key to avoiding damage is very careful handling.
Harvesting is best done while the soil is damp to reduce abrasion and the tubers are delicately pulled to avoid harm.
They should be dried in the field for a few hours, then collected in field containers, and stored in a cool, shady location.
Food potatoes (ware potatoes) should not be exposed to sunlight for more than a few hours, because they will turn green, develop a terrible flavor, and possibly become hazardous.
It’s critical to understand the difference between ware and seed potato storage.
The primary goal of ware potato storage is to obtain the greatest possible quantity of tubers of acceptable quality for consumers at a rate that meets demand.
This necessitates the lowest possible quantitative and qualitative losses, as well as no or minimal sprouting, dark storage to prevent greening, and hard tubers, all at a reasonable cost.
The goal of seed potato storage is to have the best possible sprout development before planting.
In all circumstances, the farmer wants to get the most out of his time, supplies, equipment, and structures.
Potato Processing for Industrial Uses
In breweries, potatoes are processed to make alcoholic beverages such as vodka.
Sweet potato flour is excellent for creating biscuits, baking bread and cookies, and a variety of other culinary applications.
Potatoes are eaten by livestock such as goats and pigs. Potatoes that are either too tiny or damaged for human consumption can be fed to cattle. The potatoes are steamed before being fed to the animals, or they are fed raw.
Potato starch is used as a thickening and binder in soups and sauces by the food industry. Potato starch is used as an adhesive by textile firms, and it is used to make sheets and boards by paper companies.
Because of several unique properties of the plant, potato tubers are frequently used as specimens in plant study.
Nothing beats learning how to cultivate potatoes from a farmer who is already doing it.
The incredible benefits of potatoes, as well as their strong market demand, make it beneficial to start a potato farm.
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Most Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it possible for me to grow potatoes from store-bought potatoes?
Yes, you may grow potatoes from the store in your garden. Simply keep the sprouted potatoes until spring planting time. Plant potatoes when the soil temperature reaches 45 degrees Fahrenheit, according to standard advice.
What month do you plant potatoes?
Early April is the best time to sow potatoes. Potatoes should be planted two to three weeks before your last frost date for the best results.
How long does it take for potatoes to grow?
To reach full size, potatoes need between 90 and 120 days. About 120 days after planting, full-sized potatoes are ready. When the potatoes are fully developed, you’ll see a distinct bulging of the earth around the plant’s stem. The soil is displaced and a soil mound forms as the potato tubers grow.
Is it necessary to sprout potatoes before planting them?
Although pre-sprouting potatoes are not required, it will help your potatoes grow faster in the garden and yield more.