How cultivation of dwarf hybrid crops yields bumper harvest
At a time when Nigerians are embracing commercial agriculture, dwarf hybrid crops cultivation appears to be a new goldmine to explore.
According to agriculturists, the cultivation of dwarf crops will not only increase farmers’ profitability, but it will also boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The new initiative, accomplished through grafting and budding, is an improved root engineering method whereby most cash crops that hitherto took several years to fruit can easily be planted to maturity in a few months. It has been discovered that through the world of dwarf tree farming, farmers who specialise in cash crops, can rake in millions of naira as income within months.
Even though it is an old method used for adapting plants to the temperature of choice and making them give the best yield ever, some researchers and farmers have used innovation to turn it into a money-spinning venture.
According to the Managing Director, SMO Food & Fruits Nigeria Limited, Shuaib Mubarak, whose dwarf hybrid farm is situated in Ogun State, dwarf hybrid tree farming is the best modern-day agribusiness because their fruits are bigger and they fruit faster.
“This is a good money-spinner for farmers willing to make extra income, potential farmers, and lovers of agriculture willing to practice it as a hobby. In one to two years, you’ll have a massive harvest. Another advantage is that most dwarf hybrid crops fruit all-year-round, compared to local breeds that are seasonal. They are droughts and disease resistant. Dwarf tree farming enables people to farm in the city, in their comfort zones, verandah, open garden or in containers and in the cemented compound and lots more. They can also be planted at doorsteps or in small gardens, which will be managed in a short time.
“You can be a farmer with just a little or no land. Once you have a container to plan it, you are assured of eating healthy and appetising fruits year-round. The features that these types of fruits have over the traditional trees are many. They are bigger, sweeter, yield faster, help in reducing farming insecurity, and also ensure ease of farming. Aside from its disease resistance advantage, dwarf trees do not select soil, as they grow on all types of soils,” he said.
While noting that dwarf crops farming is always for the serious farmers and lovers of the initiative, he explained that it takes only one to two days in a week to manage such a farm, adding that it doesn’t consume time if properly done.
Mubarak, who revealed that there are dwarf trees that produce fruits at three, six, 12 and 18 months at the commercial rate in his farm, said: “We have a seedling of trees like orange lemon, lime, mango, pawpaw, apple (red & green), coconut (yellow & green), grape (red & green & purple), soursop, pomegranate, cashew, guava (white and red), palm, avocado, banana, plantain, tangerine, tangelo, shaddock, grape orange, strawberry, kiwi, dragon fruit, bell apple, local apple, star apple, custard apple, nani, rash berry, cherry, African cherry, date, plum, fig, peach, passion fruit, blackberry, blackcurrant and seeds like tomato, pepper and vegetables at pocket-friendly rates.”
Contrary to insinuations that crops of such nature are genetically modified, Mubarak said dwarf trees are natural because “they were discovered from natural trees using grafting and budding methods. Dwarf trees are not Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), because they were not modified, but passed through natural procedures.”
The Director of Research, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr. Lawrence Olajide-Taiwo, who confirmed that the dwarf hybrid trees are not GMOs, said farmers could only know the difference through the planting materials.
“You cannot differentiate GMOs by the fruits, you identify them by the planting material. That’s why it is good to get your planting materials from the source, like research institutes and places where they’ll tell you the history of what you are buying.”
Dr. Olajide-Taiwo said in contrast to traditional trees, the dwarf tree is environmentally adaptable, adding that it has the advantage of fruit uniformity, in terms of size, taste and colour, because it is vegetatively cultivated.
“Dwarf hybrid trees have far-reaching advantages than the traditional trees, such as early maturity, high yielding, and ease of management – when the tree is not too tall, it can be harvested easily and through that, spoilage will be minimised. It is also environmentally adaptable, disease-resistant – because the component that’s disease resistant is actually used as the root-stock, while we super-impose the one that’s high-yielding on the root-stock that is environmentally adaptable, those are the advantages it has over the traditional trees.”
Olajide-Taiwo advised that awareness should be embarked upon by the government and advocates of the crop, to educate farmers, especially those in rural areas on the benefits of cultivating the dwarf hybrid trees, as goldmine to earn extra income.