Okra farming is a profitable business in Zimbabwe because of its high demand for everyday use in the kitchen for food preparation, and can also be eaten fresh off the vine. It is a very popular vegetable all over the country, and it is used in a variety of dishes.
If you want to grow okra in Zimbabwe, you have to select the best specie, locate the ideal planting site, prepare the site for planting okra, plant your seed, control weed, apply fertilizer, water your okra seedling, beware of pests and disease and harvest your okra produce.
This step-by-step guide is prepared to provide you and any other interested person with the right knowledge and tool on how to grow okra in Zimbabwe. Ensure you read through this informative piece from beginning to end.
How To Grow Okra In Zimbabwe Step By Step Guide
We have compiled all you need to start growing okra in Zimbabwe here. The steps you have to follow when growing okra either in your garden or large farmland have been meticulously outlined and intensively discussed below.
Step 1: Select the Best Seedling
The quality of the okra seedlings you select determines has a great impact on the yield you will receive at harvest. That is why you should go for top-quality okra seeds. Also, the seeds should be resistant to pests and diseases. Likewise, select an okra seedling that conforms to the climate and soil type of your planting site so that it can grow well.
It is best for you to look for okra seedlings from an okra farm, nursery, garden, or an agro shop that sells high-yield tomato seedlings.
Step 2: Locate the Ideal Planting Site
You must locate the ideal planting site that is ideal for planting okra. Make sure the planting site has the ideal soil type which is well-draining, fertile, light sandy-loamy soil. Also, the planting site should be located in an area with plenty of sunlight, a minimum of 6 hours per day. Also, the soil pH should be between 6.0 to 7.0. you can carry out an inexpensive soil test to ascertain soil pH.
Step 3: Prepare the Site for Planting Okra
Before planting your okra seedling, the planting site must be prepared. The land must be cleared by removing existing vegetation and debris of all sorts. Till and level the land to make the soil arable, and even, and promote plant root penetration. Amend the soil using chemical or organic fertilizer, and water the soil adequately to allow the soil supplement to enter into the soil.
You can prepare the planting site yourself or hire laborers to carry out the task, especially in the case of large-scale farming.
Step 4: Plant Your Seed
You can choose to plant your okra seedlings directly on the farm bed or transplant already-sprouted seedlings. In Zimbabwe, the direct method is commonly used, the step involved making a small hole in the center of the farm bed, and filling it with two or three seeds. Then cover the seed gently with soil. When planting, leave about 2 feet (0.6m) between seedlings and 2 feet (0.6m) between rows.
In the case of transplanting, you should transfer the sprouted plant by gently uprooting it from the nursery or planting container and moved to the farmland to continue growing until fruiting.
Step 5: Control Weed
Weeds tend to grow alongside your okra plants. Therefore, you need to apply countermeasures to control weeds. It is best to weed the moment you notice any unwanted plant sprouting alongside your okra plants.
You can control weeds through hand-hoeing, chemical control measures such as the use of herbicides, and introducing biological pest predators.
Step 6: Apply Fertilizer
Fertilizer application to okra plants should be done meticulously and follow the instructions and guidelines stated on the label or as advised by an expert.
Make sure you apply a fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium with a ratio of 5-10. Apply the fertilizer, by mixing it with water and applying it directly to the soil at the base of the plant.
Step 7: Water Your Okra Seedling
Although the okra plant is drought tolerant and requires minimal watering, it is important to water the plant as required. Make sure you twice daily, in the morning and at night. Avoid watering the leaves as it can cause the foliage to burn when the sun is up.
Create an irrigation system during the exceptionally dry season to supply water to the plant. Drip Irrigation is the best as it won’t allow the soil to be overflooded.
Step 8: Beware of Pests and Diseases
Take time out to inspect the plants for pests and diseases. If any is spotted, make sure you spray your farm with an insecticide, pesticide, or fungicide to control insects, pests, and diseases, as well as keep them away from the farm.
Step 9: Harvest Your Okra Produce
The majority of okra species grow to maturity within 50 to 60 days. Once you see your okra-producing pod that is 3 to 4 inches, you can begin to harvest by cutting or snapping the pod from the plant. Another pod will regrow in place of the harvested pod thereby encouraging multiple harvests.
Varieties of Okra in Zimbabwe
There are several varieties of okra that are suitable for growing in Zimbabwe. These include Clemson Spineless, Emerald, Star of David, Annie Oakley, and Jambalaya. Clemson Spineless is the most popular variety and is well adapted to the Zimbabwean climate.
How much is Okra sold in Zimbabwe
The price of okra in Zimbabwe varies depending on the location and season. On average, you can expect to pay between ZWL $80 and ZWL $120 per kilogram of fresh okra. However, during the peak season, the price may drop to as low as ZWL $50 per kilogram.
Best Agronomic Practices to engage in growing Okra in Zimbabwe
The best agronomic practices for growing okra in Zimbabwe include planting in well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5, adding organic matter to the soil, providing adequate water, applying fertilizer at the right time, practicing crop rotation, and using proper spacing.
It is also important to monitor the crop for pests and diseases and to take appropriate action if necessary.
Projected profit of Okra in Zimbabwe
The projected profit of growing okra in Zimbabwe depends on several factors, such as the size of the farm, the yield per hectare, and the market demand.
On average, a well-managed farm can yield about 15-20 tons of okra per hectare. At a selling price of ZWL $80 per kilogram, this translates to a gross income of ZWL $1,200,000 to ZWL $1,600,000 per hectare.
However, you will need to deduct the cost of inputs such as seed, fertilizer, labor, and pest control to calculate your net profit.
Common Diseases and Pests of Okra
Common diseases and pests of okra in Zimbabwe include Fusarium wilt, root-knot nematodes, aphids, stink bugs, and bollworms.
Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease that causes yellowing and wilting of the leaves, while root-knot nematodes are microscopic worms that cause stunted growth and yellowing of the leaves.
Aphids, stink bugs, and bollworms are common pests that feed on the leaves and fruits of okra.
To control these pests and diseases, you can use cultural practices such as crop rotation, sanitation, and use of resistant varieties, as well as chemical control methods such as insecticides and fungicides.
Different Propagation Method of Okra
Okra can be propagated through seeds or cuttings. Seeds are the most common propagation method and should be sown directly into the soil or started indoors and then transplanted.
Cuttings can be taken from the stem of a mature plant and planted directly into the soil. However, cuttings may have a lower success rate compared to seeds.
Best Agronomy Practices To Grow Okra
- Pick a sunny location in your garden, and prepare the soil by getting rid of any weeds and raking the ground to make it arable.
- Sow okra seeds 6 to 12 inches apart, at a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch.
- Thoroughly water the plant and keep the soil damp, until the okra seeds germinate,
- When the okra plants are 4 to 5 inches tall, thin them out to 12 inches apart.
- When the okra plants are 3 to 4 weeks old, fertilize them with a slow-release fertilizer.
- To aid in okra growth, mulch the plants with straw or grass clippings.
- Throughout the growing season, keep the okra plants well-watered and free of weeds.
- When the okra pods are 2 to 3 inches long and the skin is still tender, harvest them.
How Many Months Does Okra Take To Grow
Okra takes at most 3 to 4 months to grow, depending on the climate, variety, and soil type.
Okra Production Guide Pdf
Okra Production Guide PDF provides information on the cultivation of okra, including planting, soil preparation, fertilization, pest management, harvesting, and post-harvest handling. It also contains information on the nutritional value of okra, common diseases and pests, and marketing and economics. The guide is designed to help farmers produce okra for the commercial market.
How To Grow Okra In Kenya
Okra is a healthy vegetable that grows easily in Uganda. The following advice will help you grow okra in Kenya:
- Choose a bright area for your okra garden. Okra thrives in full sun and needs at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- Add organic matter to the soil, such as compost or manure. This will facilitate better drainage and encourage strong root development.
- Sow the okra seeds in rows at least 3 to 4 inches apart.
- Water the soil frequently, making sure it’s moist but not drenched.
- Fertilize your okra with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks.
- Keep an eye out for pests and diseases on your okra plants, and if necessary, take action to control them.
- Pick okra when the pods are still small, which is typically between one and two inches long.
Okra Market In Zimbabwe
Okra is an important crop in Zimbabwe, where it is grown mainly for its edible green pods. It is one of the most widely grown vegetables in the country, with small-scale farmers producing okra for local markets, while large-scale producers export the crop to neighboring countries. The okra market in Zimbabwe is highly competitive, with farmers competing for the best prices and supplies.
How To Make Money From Okra Farming
Making money in okra farming begins after you have harvested the crop. You will have to sort and package the okra for sale according to customer requirements. Then, market and promote your okra to potential customers, either through online platforms, farmers’ markets, or direct sales.
You can also sell okra farming produce and tools to farm okra to interested farmers.
Okra Growing Stages
Okra is a warm-weather crop that requires a long growing season. Planting should take place in late spring after the danger of frost has passed. The growing stages of okra include germination, seedling establishment, flowering, and harvesting.
After planting, the seeds will germinate within 5-10 days. Seedlings should be thinned to 12-24 inches apart once they are established.
During the flowering stage, the okra pods will begin to form and should be harvested when young and tender. Depending on the variety, okra can be harvested in 55-90 days.
Okra Planting Season In Zimbabwe
Okra planting season in Zimbabwe typically occurs in late October to early November. The soil should be well-drained and warm for optimal growth. Planting should be done in rows spaced 40-60cm apart, with seeds sown 1cm deep.
Fertilizer should be applied at the time of planting and again when the plants are 10-15cm tall. Harvesting begins 4-5 weeks after planting and continues until the end of the season.
How To Cook Okra In Zimbabwe
To cook okra in Zimbabwe, heat oil in a pot and add sliced okra, garlic, onion, and tomato. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice.
Another method involves first, washing and slicing the okra into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan and add ground cumin, chopped garlic, and onion. Fry until fragrant and then add the okra pieces. Fry for several minutes, stirring continuously. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a few more minutes until the okra is cooked through. Serve hot.
How To Grow Okra At Home
To grow okra, begin by obtaining seeds from a nursery or store. Create a sunny spot in your garden with nutrient-rich soil, and then plant the seeds approximately 1/2 inch deep and 4-6 inches apart in rows about 2-3 feet apart.
Make sure to water regularly once the seeds have sprouted and thin out the seedlings to a spacing of 6-8 inches.
Fertilize the plants every 2-3 weeks with a balanced fertilizer and hand-pick the okra pods while they are still young and tender. To ensure more production, harvest the pods regularly.
Growing okra in Zimbabwe is a great way to provide yourself with fresh okra produce and at the same time make extra income. This guide has been carefully compiled to provide you with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure you are successful to grow and harvest this vegetable with no supervision.