Sellers and consumers of Cucumber, Cucumis sativus, a green and roughly cylindrical shaped fruit, known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress, need not go far again, as the fruit is now readily available in Epe area of Lagos State.
The discovery of the farm, where the fruit is planted and succesfully harvested, has dispelled the theory that cucumber can only grow in the sandy soil of the north.
Cucumber is a creeping vine with roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant may also root in a soiless medium and will sprawl along the ground if it does not have supports. It has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruits.
The fruit, much like tomato and squash, it is often perceived, prepared and eaten as a vegetable. Cucumber fruits are usually more than 90 per cent of water and contains phytonutrients that provide valuable anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.
According to the crop farmer, Dayo Anjorin, cultivation of the fruit requires lots of soil nutrients to achieve a bountiful harvest. “I always ensure the soil is adequately nourished. However, many farmers lack the technical-know how hence they harvest below their potential. Presently, we harvest 536 bags from eight plots of land, which is still beneath our expectation.”
Relating his experience, which spans over four years, Anjorin said he ventured into cucumber farming because cucumber has potentials of high yield in a short duration, noting that nonetheless, passion, knowledge, close monitoring and tenacity is essential to achieve great results, just as of any business.
Speaking on challenges, he noted that pests and diseases is peculiar to farming. “In the past, fellow farmers like myself have lost crops, which may have been controlled or reduced if we had extension workers to educate us on the prevention and treatment in the case of emergency. However, we have to surf the web for solutions. We implore government to enhance the extension system in our country.’’
On financial challenges, he noted that support from the government will boost farmers productivity. “Currently, I acquire loans from microfinance banks, although, they have high interest rates, they have less bureaucratic processes.