Irish potato is a mild crop that matures well on Low temperature of 15-20C, it requires high altitude that’s why South Africa grow them on large commercial basis. In Nigeria Plateau State are the major producers of Irish potato. Other places with high altitudes are: Mambilla Plateau, Taraba State, Obudu, Cross River State. Irish potato farming can breed well during harmattan when the North is generating cold. Places like: Zaria, Kaduna State, Borno and some part of Nsukka in Enugu State. Irish is a staple food classified under vegetable. And it is highly demanded all over the globe, Nigeria not exceptional.
Nigeria is the 8th producers of Irish potato in Africa producing about 843,000 tons yet consumes more than 1 million tonnes yearly. Most Irish potato used in fast food joints are imported in frozen form. It is peeled, sliced and frozen. That is why we are boosting more tycoons to invest in large-scale profitable Irish potato farming. To meet up with local demand and for export. It is a concealed stem identified as root crop and not a root. Irish potato contains 2% protein and 18% starch. Grows well when the days are warm and the night cold. Irish potato can be planted in bags and basins particularly for those who are in the cities because they can make the most of little space for great results. To start Irish potato farming you have to buy quality seed from a known seed company.
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For Irish potato farm, cultivate the land very well to get them loose, weighty soil will make the roots hard, small and it can grow in a wide variety of soil. But a well-drained sandy loam rich in organic matter is idea it requires partially acidic PH of 5.5-6.5. Use a fallow land that has not be used for less than 2 years in order to prevent the activities of pest and diseases. Prepare furrow of 15cm, 75cm apart. It helps in drainage and will give the plant sufficient space to establish. At the same time minimizing competition for nutrients.
Cultivation should be done during the early rains: from March-April. Potato is nurtured from the parent tuber that has developed flower on it. Arrange the potato seed by cutting into tiny sizes about 30-35cm or 35-40cm in size. If the seed is very tiny, it will yield frail plant use developed potato about 1 and ½ inches in diameter Place the seed potato in a warm place between 60-70 F a week to planting. They are ready for planting when the sprout is about’ – long. Cut the potato into 2 with each having 2 flowers. Put the cut potato in a place that has room temperature for 2-3days. Before planting dust them in agricultural sulphur this will safeguard the bare surface from fungi disease. Bury the seed potato in the furrow about 40cm deep. place the potato seed in the hole with the eyes pointing up. Cover it with sand, make it flat and water. The potato will germinate in 2 weeks 5 weeks after planting pile sand round the potato stalks. It will help the new potatoes develop out from the planted tubers. Often hill the plant so that the new tubers are not visible to direct sunlight that can turn them green. There are many types with diverse skin colors, we have: red flesh, white flesh and yellow flesh. The commonest ones are: the red and the white skin but the red variety stay longer than the white. That is why you should start Irish potato farming with the ones that appeals market the most.
Apply manure 2 weeks after germination for Irish potato needs nutrient to produce good tubers. You can use NPK of 8:11:18
Weeding should be manual except you can sensibly use herbicides to attack them. Too much water increases the holes on the tuber and makes them rot quickly. Water when essential.
Pest/Diseases In Irish Potato Farming
Pest and diseases starts their activities instantly after germination. Sucking pests such as white flies and aphids affects Irish potato extremely. Others are caterpillar, tuber moth and leaf miner. Potato blight is a fungus disease called Phytophthora infection that affects leaves and stem. Attack it the moment you notice their existence as any delay will result in 100% destruction within 5 days.
The affected part normally display soaked dark water injury then after few days the potato plant will seem burnt as if fire was set on it. Always spray fungicide every week. Also apply preventive fungicide when there is high humidity or fluctuating temperature sers in.
Bacteria wilt causes extensive losses. Use herbicide such as touch down, Sevin an insecticide and neem oil Eelworm can live about 20-30 years. Plant disease and pest resistant variety. Practice rotational farming. Avoid planting okra, pepper, garden eggs and tomatoes in potato farm.
If you plant in April harvest will be in August, potato develops in about two days depending on the variety some can be less or more. When matured, the leaves will become yellow while the plants will die-back. Let the potato stay for 2-3 weeks before harvesting so that their covering can become hard and smooth. Use your hand, shovel or hand fork to kick them from the soil. Care must be taken not to create wound on the tubers because they don’t store well Pull the tubers from the vine and shake sand away. Yield is 5o tons per hectare
Don’t wash before storage for it will boost deterioration of excellence in the course of storage. Keep the potatoes in a dry place to heal for 2 weeks, select dried and soft ones out. Store in cold storage facility of 30 t it can stay for about a year in this condition.
Distribute to supermarkets, large malls, market traders, potato chips producers, bakers who mush it for baking etc. You can freeze them and stock to fast food joints.
Reasons You Should Venture Into Irish Potato Farming
- It is very easy and cheap to plant
- Irish potato farming is actually lucrative; it trades greater than sweet potato and yam
- The demand for it is increasing by the day.
- It does not need special requirement, anyone can do it.
Health Benefit Of Irish Potato
- It doesn’t contain cholesterol or fat but contains low calories Rich in Vitamin C, B6, Potassium, iron and fiber.
- The fiber helps blood cholesterol level.
- The potassium content helps in lowering blood pressure.
- Preserves brain and nervous health system because of Vitamin B6.
Irish Potato Sack Farming
Mix sand and farmyard manure in the ratio of 1:1. You have to water it further because the dampness retaining capacity of the natural ground cannot be compared to that of sack. A good manure soil will increase damp holding capacity. A sack is expected to yield 20 kg. 520 sacks if well-managed will yield about 10 times. You can also use bowl but you will have to support the plant
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