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10 Steps to a successful Ogbono farming in Nigeria

Ogbono farming is highly profitable and sustainable. Ogbono plants are mostly grown for their nuts, the fruit is like mango, oval in shape and can be eaten  same way. The scientific name for OGBONO is IRVINGIA GABONENSIS, English name is African mango, wild mango or bush mango. Ogbono grows naturally in the wild and the fruits fall on their own when the  matures. The fruits are then allowed to decay or eaten for the seeds that are broken for the nut. Infact,  it is one of the most expensive soup ingredients in Nigeria. 

It is also known as ‘draw soup’ in some parts of the country. This food product has witnessed a recent  increase in price due to the lack of it’s massive production. The ogbono seed is derived from the kernel  of the African bush mango fruit. 

The trees from which the bush mango fruits are obtained are found in west African countries like Nigeria  and southern Cameroon, and also in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin 

The trees are majorly located in the rainforests of South Eastern and Southwest Nigeria. They are rarely  planted by farmers in commercial quantity. The reasons for this is that the tree when planted can take  up to 15 years to produce fruits after planting, therefore majority of the farmers harvest it from the  already established trees scattered across the forests. 

Although there are reports of improved varieties that can fruit within 6-8 years. But a lot of farmers are  not patient enough to wait that long after making huge investments in an orchard. 

Another problem is that this varieties are uncommon and not readily available. There haven’t been adequate research targeted at improving the unproductive cultural practices currently used by farmers  who are into the production of ogbono. 

Market research has shown that the most profitable sector of the ogbono business is the distribution or  processing of the seed, which is widely used in Nigeria as an ingredient for the famous ‘draw soup’. 

Apart from the use of it’s kernel as an ingredient for soup in majority of Nigerian homes, the African  bush mango’s kernel contains oil used for cooking, making soaps, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. It also  contains waxes useful as an adjunct for making drugs. The fruits can be processed into jam, juice and  wine. 

Majority of the African bush mango edible seed (ogbono) available in Nigeria is gotten from the South  eastern and south southern states such as Rivers, Edo, Cross Rivers, Akwaibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ekiti and  Ondo. 

The tree flowers from March to June and fruits twice in a year, around April to July and from September  to October. The ogbono seed is very nutritious and has been ascertained to contain 697 calories in a 100  gram portion, it also contains other nutrients like fat, carbohydrate, protein, calcium and iron. 

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In Nigeria, the most important part of the African bush mango fruit is its edible seed (ogbono) which is  cooked as soup. The seed is also exported, although this hasn’t affected the local market as the high  demand for ogbono in every part of the country has placed this soup ingredient as one of the most  expensive in the Nigerian markets. 

 7 Health Benefits of Ogbono seeds to Humans.

These health benefits shows the importance of the Ogbono farming business

  1. Provision of calories: Ogbono provided calories which are rich in fatty acids and are essential in  performing many body functions such as strengthening the nervous system, muscles and ligament. 

2. Enhances the immune system: It is used for cardiovascular health and enhances the immune system.

3. Rich in protein content: It is high in protein, fiber and essential fats. 

4. Protection against heartburn and other diseases: The oil from ogbono seeds are rich in beta-carotene  which is powerful in protecting the body against heartburn, high blood pressure, infertility, cancer,  mental disorders etc. 

5. Fights against bacteria: Ogbono contains anti-oxidant, anti bacterial and anti-inflammatory analgesic. -Relieving pain: The bark of ogbono tree is a good remedy for relieving pain. 

6. Aids weight loss: The seeds are very helpful in achieving weight loss. 

7. Improvement of the libido: It promotes libido, improves sleep and memory. 

BASIC STEPS INVOLVED IN OGBONO FARMING BUSINESS 

Listed below are the basic steps for a successful Ogbono farming business;

  1. Prepare your land for ogbono farming
  2. Sort out the best variety for the ogbono farming business
  3. Plant the Ogbono seeds
  4. Irrigate the Ogbono farming business
  5. Weed the ogbono farming business
  6. Apply necessary fertilizers to the Ogbono farming business
  7. Control pest and diseases
  8. Prepare for harvesting the Ogbono farming business
  9. Have storage plan for the Ogbono farming business
  10. Market your Ogbono produce.

Preparation of land for Ogbono farming business:

As adviced in all our posts, try to acquire land in a farm area. Mechanize the land with tractor and harrow. Make  the place ready for planting by clearing the debris. Ogbono is best planted in a deep sandy loam soil that  is rich in organic matter.  

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Sorting out for the best variety for the Ogbono farming:

There are different varieties of ogbono in Nigeria; the draw and the  non draw type. Two varieties are available in Nigeria, the ugiri and the real ogbono, this two cannot be  easily distinguished until when cooked. Therefore, it is necessary that the product is obtained from a  reputable source, following the guidance of an expert in the field.

It is also important to get as much  information as you can obtain from those who are already in the field. Ogbono tree can grow up to  about 40m in height with a temperature between 20-37°C; annual rainfall is between 120-150cm. They  are planted in deep soil and also a seasonal crop. 

Planting the Ogbono seeds

Ogbono can be propagated through seeds and grafting, marcotting, cutting, air layering and  budding. But propagation through seed is difficult and may likely fail except you are well experience or have a technical knowledge on how to go about it. Research carried out shows that you have to dry the  seeds in an ambient temperature and then soaked them in water for a day. This kind of method  guarantees 100% germination and maturity of the trees may not take up to10 years. However, grafting  will survive and produce within 3 years. 

Irrigation of the Ogbono farming Business

Irrigation must be done on the farm during draught or more especially during the dry  season. Although, the plant can do well with less water adequate water is necessary for optimum  growth. 

Weeding the Ogbono farming business

Just like every other plant weeding is very necessary in other to eliminate competition. To  avoid pest attack weeding should be done early. Remove weeds using herbicides before cultivation.  Ensure that the herbicides are applied according to the instruction of the product label. 

Application of fertilizer:

Animal dung or compost can be added to the soil at different times – when  the plants are 6-8 inches tall and after 2-3 weeks. After some period, nitrogen should be used properly to dress the soil for quick germination, reduce their application in the next manure addition. Until fruiting begins in other to checkmate the growth if not the plant will produce more foliage with little  flowering. 

Control of pests and diseases:

Early identification of pest and diseases is key to successful  management in Ogbono farming business. Nemicides can reduce Fusarium wilt. Cultural practices like  crop rotation, soil solarization and suppressive crops can control diseases and pests. Crop rotation can  reduce leaf spot, Caterpillars which eat leaves, Flea beetles which eats leaves, Blister beetle which eats  the blossom and foliage of the plant. Blister beetle has narrow neck and are soft. They are between ½  and ¾ inch in length. 

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Insects that feed on the seeds are: Leaf footed bugs which suck the pod and the blossom. Corn ear  worms which leaves tunnels and holes and chew pods. Stink bugs which causes distorting, twisting and  has irregular shape. Apply with some measures to avoid contamination. 

Harvesting:

Ogbono flowers from March-June and has two fruiting seasons; April-July and September October. Ogbono is harvested around January-February, this means that it is in abundance and cheap  around that period. A lot of merchants maximize profits by investing in warehouses where they properly  dry and store this product till its off-season when it’s price would be at its peak.

The fruit is greenish  when ripe with a bright orange pulp. It can be harvested by plucking the fruits manually by hand. Ogbono yield is determined by; the size management of trees, the kind and amount of fertilizer used  and finally, the labor applied. Processing of the seed has been a very big challenged but NIHORT has  produced nut cutter that can easily cut the shell. And the seeds will come out neat and fast. 

Storage:

You have to dry your ogbono nuts to make sure they are properly dried before storing. Since  you are dealing with a food product that is highly perishable, it is important to get a well constructed  ware house to enable you store the products for a very long time. The warehouse should also be  spacious enough to allow you dry the ogbono seeds from time to time so as to reduce the moisture  content, thereby increasing the shelve life. 

Marketing:

Ogbono is a sought after market. Most times, it is the buyers that will be looking for you to  buy the ogbono seeds. During the harvest, Locate market traders to supply to. Others are cosmetics  company, juice industries etc. Make adverts your online for more patronage and larger markets. Ogbono  exportation is another way of making high profits. Africans staying in Western Countries such as;  Europe, Asia, America cherish ogbono a lot.

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I am Israel Otoijamun, the Founder of Ofarms.ng. I am a blogger, web and graphics designer, brand manager, product manager and farmer. I have interests in crypto currency, technology, business and agriculture.

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Israel Otoijamun

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