How To Start A Lucrative Orange Farming Business In South Africa:
Orange is a sweet juicy fruit which belongs to the family of citrus, known as Rutaceae. It is a very rich source of vitamin C, among other nutrients. Orange is a common fruit eaten globally. The global annual orange consumption reached 75 million tonnes in 2017, with an increase of 2% in comparison with the previous year.
Brazil is the biggest producer and exporter of oranges. In 2019, they produced over 15 million metric tonnes, followed by China which produce almost half at about 7.3 million metric tonnes. Nigeria is the 9th major producer of citrus fruit (including oranges), immediately preceded by Italy. In Africa, Nigeria remains the largest producer of oranges, followed by Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa. The 2007 Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) report rated Nigeria as the 9th citrus-producing country with an annual average production capacity of about 3,325,000 tonnes. The centre of orange production in Nigeria is Benue. Other active producing states in the country are Nassarawa, Kogi, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Taraba, Ekiti, Imo, Kwara, Edo, and Delta states.
To foster increased cultivation and processing of tropical fruits in the country, the Federal Government of Nigeria banned the importation of packed juice in 2002 and launched a Presidential Initiative on Tropical Fruits Production in 2005. Since then, the production and exportation of orange have increased significantly, with more people going into orange farming and production of orange by-products. If you’re planning to start a lucrative orange farming business in Nigeria or Africa, you will find a detailed guide here to help you through the process.
What Is Orange?
Orange is a sweet juicy fruit which belongs to the family of citrus, known as rutaceae. Orange is a hybrid of pomelo and mandarin.
What Is Orange Farming?
Orange farming generally involves the cultivation of orange. It includes the selection of suitable soil for planting orange seeds, applying fertilizers/manures, and harvesting the mature orange fruits.
Business Opportunities Associated With Orange Farming In Nigeria & Around The World
1). Sale And Distribution Orange:
Oranges are generally eaten fresh. They are peeled and can be split into segments. Orange seeds are also known to contain sweetening agents, which are currently being studied as a probable sugar substitute. Due to its benefits, orange and its by-products remain in constant demand all year round. This leaves an open window for distribution and sales worldwide, especially to those areas where it is scarcely grown.
2). Orange Juice Production:
Orange juice is a liquid extract from oranges. It has a very high concentration of Vitamin C. It is one of the by-products of orange, and is consumed almost anywhere, ranging from homes to outdoor events to workplaces and restaurants. It is a drink for both adults and children, thanks to its non-alcoholic contents. Orange juice production is a viable business opportunity open to any agropreneur who might be interested in its production and distribution.
3. Orange Oil:
Orange oil is extracted from oranges. It is used for several functions including aromatherapy and skincare. Each passing decade, more scientific discoveries are made which reveal the uses of orang and the orange peels.
Facts and Benefits of Orange
- An orange is composed of about 88% water.
- The outermost layer of the orange can be thinly grated to produce orange zest, which is popular in food processing because it contains oils and has a strong flavour similar to that of the orange pulp.
- Orange is currently grown commercially primarily in countries between the latitude 40°N to 40°S.
- Oranges are among the world’s most popular fruits
- Like most citrus plants, oranges do well in moderate temperatures and require considerable amounts of sunshine and water
- Orange peels can be used for the production of citric acid, lactic acid, feed yeast, and vinegar.
- Gardeners can use orange peel as a slug repellent.
- Processed citrus products include; Orange juice products, orange juice production, orange squash and concentrated juice production, dehydrated citrus product (fruit juice powder, low moisture orange granules and marmalade and jam), Citrus by-products (dried citrus pulp, citrus molasses, citrus peel oils, distilled citrus oil, flavonoids, citrus seed oils, and pectin substances), and fermented products (vinegar, feed yeast, citric and lactic acids).
- Orange juice contributes about 26% of the dietary vitamin C requirement, 0.9% of total daily calories, and 1.7% of the daily carbohydrate intake of an average man.
- The unripe orange fruit and its rind are useful in relieving insect stings, while the bark and root are antiseptic for the treatment of toothaches.
- Juices of the ripe fruits are good appetizers, for healthy teeth, bones, and gums and known to promote healing of wounds and sores.
- Brazil, China and Mexico are leaders of orange production in the world.
- Sokoto, Benue, Borno, Ondo and Edo states are some of the areas in Nigeria where orange farming is common.
Types of Oranges
There are two broad groups; the sweet orange (Citrus Sinensis) and the bitter orange (Citrus Aurantium).
1). Sweet Orange varieties:
The sweet oranges are divided into four classes, each with distinct characteristics. These are common oranges, blood or pigmented oranges, navel oranges, and acid-less oranges. The original citrus species, mandarin, is also classified as one of the sweet oranges.
2). Bitter Orange varieties:
The bitter oranges comprise the Seville orange (Citrus Aurantium), Bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia Risso) and Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata).
How To Start An Orange Farming Business in Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide
To start a successful orange farming business in Nigeria, you need to carry out the following steps:
1). Selecting a Suitable Farmland:
The first step is to get suitable land with suitable soil for orange farming. Sandy-loam soil is the best for the cultivation of oranges. Also, a significant factor to be considered while choosing a site should be water retention. A good land for orange farming should be able to absorb water quickly; otherwise, such a site is not suitable for orange farming. The selected location should also be in a secure environment. You should consider fencing the land to ward off animals, pest attacks and thieves.
2). Land Preparation:
This process is carried out to prepare the selected site for farm operations. It involves clearing bushes, removing tree stumps, trees, stones, rocks, and all other items that may stall the germination and growth of the oranges. More so, it is necessary to remove every tree that would form shades for the young plants. This is because orange plants do not need shades. At this stage, you should apply fertilizers or manure to enhance soil fertility.
Oranges can be planted in two different ways: planting seeds or buying young trees from nurseries to plant.
There are several varieties of oranges; so, when buying the seeds, ensure that it is the desired variety. Before planting the seeds, soak them in water overnight.
To prepare the nursery bed, pack sandy-loam soil that is rich in organic matter into the polythene bag to be used for the nursery bed. Puncture the polythene to allow for natural drainage. Once your nursery bed is adequately prepared, bury the seeds about half an inch deep into the soil. The orange seeds should be watered daily after completing the planting process.
Orange seeds will typically germinate within 14 days or two weeks after planting. Optimal conditions are necessary for germination. This includes the availability of water, the right temperature, and well-drained soil. The tender tree should remain in the polythene for up to 3 months after which it should be transplanted to the permanent site. It is essential to fence the farm to keep animals away from the young trees. In addition, space the plants properly to allow the trees to blossom well. Dwarf orange trees require lesser spacing than standard-sized trees. They are spaced about 6 to 10 feet apart while the standard trees require a spacing of about 12 to 25 feet apart. This is necessary because as they grow, they take up more space.
After about two years, the orange trees start to produces fruits but not in huge quantities. The yield is expected to increase each harvest season.
You should have a well-structured marketing plan before the plants begin to produce. This is because oranges are highly perishable. It is also essential to make adequate arrangements for transportation and proper storage facilities beforehand. This is to help you reduce the damage of oranges before they get to your buyers.