You might have heard of the expression – an apple a day will keep the doctor away. This is because these delicious fruits come packed with loads of healing properties that will boost your immune system and keep your health up. However, there are rumors that you won’t be able to grow these fruits in Nigeria.
Can Apples Grow in Nigeria?
Yes, apples can grow in Nigeria. However, apples are particularly difficult to grow in Nigeria even though it would be a very lucrative farming venture. For most farmers, it is practically impossible to grow apples up to the point of harvest. Why? This is because the apple is a temperate plant and as such can only grow in temperate regions.
Nigeria is a tropical country where the temperature levels do not support apple growth and which is why the major producers of apples are temperate countries like the USA, China, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.
However, not all apple varieties require a temperate climate to grow. There are certain varieties that will survive in the tropics and still provide all the right properties as those grown in temperate regions.
What Kind of Apple Can Be Grown in Nigeria?
The Bell variety is one of the few apple varieties that can grow in Nigeria. There are also several varieties of this apple which can be both sweet and sour to the taste but are always nutritious. This type of apple can be easily be grown in the Jos Plateau and Mambilla Plateau which have the much-need temperate climate to support apple growth. The bell apple can also do well in the tropics but you would have to take certain precautions to ensure it makes it to harvest.
Tips on How to Grow Apples
When choosing land for apple farming, you have to go for the best ones as apples won’t grow just anywhere. The temperature of the area and soil are very important as this is one of the main factors that will determine the quality of your yield. Apples strive only in cold areas which is why they are temperate plants.
To grow an apple plant, you will need an area with a temperature reading of less than 7 degrees Celsius for at least 6 weeks during the rainy season. There are places like this in the Jos Plateau which is perfect for apple farming. The bell apple can tolerate different soil type from clay to sandy but it would require adequate humidity and rainfall to thrive.
Bell apples should be planted around June/December but you should take note of the amount of rainfall required. Heavy rainfall is great for apple farming and irrigation is also necessary. During the summer/harmattan, irrigation should increase to 4 times a month.
When planting, make sure the seeds are pressed gently into the soil and spaced 1 inch apart. The seeds should start to germinate after 3 weeks. You can make a lot of profit from selling the seedling. You should wait for about 10 weeks after planting before doing so. Bell apple seedlings are in high demand in the country considering it’s rare to grow apples in Nigeria. When fully matured, an apple orchard can start producing fruits at about 8 years and will continue to do so for about 35 years.
When the apple orchard is fully mature, you can expect to make a minimum of 2 harvests every year.
Growing apples can be very profitable if you can get the right location and apply the right farming practices. If you’re not ready to put up with the risk involved, you could go for importing and selling the apples instead.