Potato is a household food in Nigeria. It is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial night shade solanum tuberosum. Potato can be either referred to as a plant or edible tuber, it has become a food eaten routinely in many parts of the world today and is an integral part of the much world’s food supply.
Potato is ranked fourth among the most distributed food crop in the world behind rice, wheat, and corn (maize).
Benefits of potato
- The fleshy part of its root can be eaten a vegetable and used to make medicine
- Raw potato juice can cure stomach disorders
- A purified Protein powder from potato can be mixed with water and used for weight loss
- Some people apply raw potato directly on affected area for arthritis, infections, boils, burns and sore eyes
- It can be eaten and used as a source of starch and fermented into alcohol.
Popular Species of Potato
The popular species of potato includes
- White potato.
- Red Potato
- Blue potato
- Fingerling potato
Potato farming in Nigeria
Potato can grow on a variety of soil types. But for optimum result go for a well-drained, deep and loose land with P.H of 5.5. Go for a farmland where no crop has been grown on for about two years, this is important as it reduces the risk of diseases. A disease-free farmland can also be maintained by constant crop rotation. This prevents nematodes like eelworm that can live up to 20 to 30 years on a farmland.
Prepare the land by clearing the bushes in the land with a cutlass, making heaps or ridges manually with a hoe or mechanically by ploughing, harrowing and ridging.
Choose species for planting
It is very important, you do your research well and grow the species that the market wants. , you may want to consider these factors when choosing a potato species
Quality, Maturity, yield, disease resistance and storage lifespan.
Other practices for a healthy Potato farm
- Replanting of seeds to replace the seeds that did not germinate
- Removal of weak plants from a stand to give rise to one or two vigorous crop plants.
- Apply NPK 15:15:15 (200kg/Ha, four bags) at planting, also apply 250kg (5 bags) or 150kg (3 bags) of urea per hectare, five to six weeks after planting. Farmland manure, droppings from the poultry/organic manure can also be applied.
- Weeding; this is done three to four times at regular intervals. It can be done manually using a hoe or chemically by the use of specified herbicides.
- Control of pests and diseases; it can be done anytime at regular intervals or by preventing it completely using appropriate chemicals.
Harvesting can be done three (3) months after planting. Harvesting potato can also depend on the weather condition. Potato should be stored within the first 14 days of harvest, this is to enable it to heal properly from the cut.
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