Rice

Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice)

Oryza sativa. That is the botanical name of the world’s second most popular cereal after maize, rice.

African rice has been cultivated for 3500 years. Between 1500 and 800 BC, Oryza glaberrima propagated from its original centre, the Niger River delta, and extended to Senegal. However, it never developed far from its original region. Its cultivation even declined in favour of the Asian species, which was introduced to East Africa early in the Common Era and spread westward.[42] African rice helped Africa conquer its famine of 1203. To the average Nigerian, it needs no introduction because it has become one of the most important foods in the country, consumed by both the wealthy and the poor. This position was attained largely on account of its steady demand by the Nigerian populace for both domestic and commercial consumption.

Due to urbanization, change in employment patterns, rapid population growth, change in diets of Nigerians on account of income expansion, rice has become a staple food to the average Nigerian leading to an increase in the demand – standing at an annual growth rate of about five percent.

Although rice can be grown anywhere, that is, rice can grow in all the geographical zones of Nigeria depending on the variety, the area of land used for rice cultivation is relatively minute about 2 million hectares when survey puts it that Nigeria has the potentials of cultivating about 5 million hectares.

Some varieties of rice grown in Nigeria include; Indigenous red grain specie (Oryza glaberrina), Fadama rice, Upland rice and Lowland rice.

Garri

Garri (also known as gari, garry, gali, “cassava flakes" or occasionally tapioca) is a popular West African food made from cassava tubers. The spelling 'garri' is mainly used in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Togo and 'gari' in Ghana. In some sub-Saharan regions of Africa, it is referred to as 'gali'. Amidst Nigerian youths and undergraduates, garri as a water soaked snack is called 'garium sulphate'.

Garri comes in various consistencies, which can roughly be categorized into rough, medium and smooth.

Smooth garri (known as lebu to the Yoruba) can be mixed with pepper and other spicy ingredients. A small amount of warm water and palm oil is added and mixed with the hand to soften up.

In West Africa, there are two types, white and yellow garri. Yellow garri is prepared by frying with the addition of palm oil to give it a yellow colour; white garri is fried without palm oil.

Many variations of yellow and white garri are common across Nigeria. One variation of white garri is popularly known as garri-Ijebu. This is produced mainly by the Yoruba people of Ijebu origin.

Cassava, the root from which garri is produced, is rich in fiber, copper and magnesium.

White Beans

Beans is the third most consumed food stuff in Nigeria and other West African countries after Rice and Cassava.

As a legume, beans is one of the easiest source of protein for the family and every family eats it, both rich and poor.

The varieties of beans that does well in Nigeria are: The White Beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris) and The Red Beans.

Under normal circumstances and idea conditions, bean would begin to sprout with 6 days of planting and grow into a good sprout within two weeks.

Soya Beans

Soybean (U.S.) or soya bean (UK) (Glycine max) is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses.

Soybean is a legume which is produced in most the middle belt of the country with Benue state accounting for about 45% of the total production in country.

Soybeans are an important source of high quality and inexpensive protein and oil. With an average protein content of 40% and oil content of 20%, soybean has the highest protein content of all food crops and is second only to groundnut in terms of oil content amongst food legumes.

Soybeans are used in the production of milk, edible oil and animal feed.

In Nigeria, soya beans are mostly produced in the middle belt with Benue state accounting for over 70% of the production in Nigeria. Some of the states producing soya beans in Nigeria include Kwara, Kogi, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Ogun, and Taraba states. Other states are Adamawa, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Jigawa, Lagos, Plateau, Ekiti and the Federal Capital Territory.

Soybean matures within 3–4 months after planting and requires timely harvesting to check excessive yield losses. At maturity, the pod is straw- colored.

Guinea Corn

Grain sorghum is the third most important cereal crop grown in the United States and the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world. In 2010, Nigeria was the world's largest producer of grain sorghum, followed by the United States and India.

Sorghum is well adapted to growth in hot, arid or semiarid areas. The many subspecies are divided into four groups — grain sorghums (such as milo), grass sorghums (for pasture and hay), sweet sorghums (formerly called “Guinea corn", used to produce sorghum syrups), and broom corn (for brooms and brushes).

Sorghum beer is known by many different names in various countries across Africa, including Umqombothi (South Africa) burukuto (Nigeria), pombe (East Africa) and bil-bil (Cameroon).

The Nigerian sorghum production was 11.5 tons in 2010 and forecast was 11.7 tons in 2011 (USDA, 2010). The crop yield has increased because of the acceptance by farmers of improved varieties developed by local research institutes. There are various traditional food preparations of guinea corn. Boiled guinea corn is one of the simplest uses and small, corneous grains are normally desired for this type of food product. The whole grain may be ground into flour or de-corticated before grinding to produce either a fine particle product or flour, which is then used in various traditional foods (Leder, 2004). It is also a very valuable industrial crop for non-alcoholic drink as well as confectionery industry in Nigeria (Baiyengunhi and Fraser, 2009).

Sorghum's yields are not affected by short periods of drought as severely as other crops such as maize, because it develops its seed heads over longer periods of time, and short periods of water stress do not usually have the ability to prevent kernel development. Even in a long drought severe enough to hamper sorghum production, it will still usually produce some seed on smaller and fewer seed heads. Rarely will one find a kernelless season for sorghum, even under the most adverse water conditions. Sorghum's ability to thrive with less water than maize may be due to its ability to hold water in its foliage better than maize. Sorghum has a waxy coating on its leaves and stems which helps to keep water in the plant, even in intense heat.

Yam

Yam, a tropical crop in the genus Dioscorea, has as many as 600 species out of which six are economically important staple species. These are: Dioscorea rotundata (white guinea yam), Dioscorea alata (yellow yam), Dioscorea bulbifera (aerial yam), Dioscorea esculant (Chinese yam) and Dioscorea dumetorum (trifoliate yam). Out of these, Dioscorea rotundata (white yam) and Dioscorea alata (water yam) are the most common species in Nigeria. Yams are grown in the coastal region in rain forests, wood savanna and southern savanna habitats.

Yam is in the class of roots and tubers that is a staple of the Nigerian and West African diet, which provides some 200 calories of energy per capita daily. Although it is grown widely in Nigeria, the area where it is grown most is the Benue State (land area of 802,295 km²) one of the states in Benue valley of Nigeria where the labor-intensive practices are still the norm and the land holdings are small.

Because of high level of yam production in the State of Benue, Benue State is crowned as the Nigerian Bread Basket.

Nigeria is by far the world’s largest producer of yams, accounting for over 70–76 percent of the world production.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato is tropical herbaceous plant which, by the nature of its temperature requirement, can be grown throughout Nigeria. States like Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, and Sokoto in the North-west are currently leading in its production in the country.

Sweet potato can be grown both during the dry season and the rainy season. Some common local varieties found in Northern Nigeria now are the ‘Dan izala’, and ‘Manja’ which are a newly introduced variety with high vitamin A content. They are also known as the orange-fleshed sweet potato.

For rain fed farming, planting could be done from May to September while irrigated production is from September to December.

Most varieties that farmers now use take from three to four months to be ready for harvest. After harvest, sweet potato has a shelf life of about three months.

Irish Potatoes

Irish potato (Solanum tuberosum) is an important staple food as well as raw materials for industries.

Irish potato was introduced into Nigeria early in the 20th Century by European miners in Jos Plateau. Jos Plateau has high altitude and thus, cool climate, which is favourable for the development of the crop. Jos South Local Government Area (LGA) accounts for 25% of the total Irish potato produced in Nigeria.

Interestingly, the National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), Vom and other agricultural research institutions in Nigeria and abroad have made notable achievements in increasing the yield of Irish potato. The crop breeders have developed varieties of Irish potato, which are capable of responding to improved cultural practices.

In addition, there has been appreciable increase in the land area and output of Irish Potato in the area.

The basic Irish Potato yield is during the months of April, May, June, July and August. These months constitute the growing season on the Plateau.

Orange

In botanyorange refers to any of several types of small, evergreen trees or shrubsbearing round fruit and belonging to the genus Citrus, and in particular applies to the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis in many taxonomies) or the Seville, sour, or bitter orange (Citrus aurantium in many taxonomies). The term also refers to the edible fruit of this plant, which is orange, yellowish, or reddish when ripe and has a leathery, oily rind. In Nigeria, about 3.4 Million metric tonnes of citrus fruits are produced annually (2013) from an estimated hectarage of 3 million hectares of land (FAO, 2008). The country is the 9th major citrus fruit producing country globally, just after italy. And the largest growing region in Africa, followed by Egypt, Morocco and South Africa.
Major citrus producing states in Nigeria include Benue, Nassarawa, Kogi, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Taraba, Ekiti, Imo, Kwara, Edo, and Delta in that order. Most citrus production is accounted for by oranges, but significant quantities of grape fruits, lemons and limes are also grown. Fruit industry in Nigeria began under the western Regional government of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the 1950’s. As a result of the down-turn in cocoa trade, consequent upon some pervasive microbiological attack, the government decided to start a pilot project in the cultivation of citrus and other fruits primarily as a way of providing farmers with an alternative source of income. Thus, the Lafia caning factory in Ibadan was born in 1954, and to feed the factory, there was the establishment of Apoje Citrus Farm, backed with an aggressive Farm settlement scheme. Interestingly, this has been bought by Funman Agricultural Product Ltd and it serves as its manufacturing base. From that small beginning in the 1950’s, fruit juice manufacturing in Nigeria has taken a giant leap.

Water Melon

Watermelon is a reddish and succulent most popular, readily available and affordable fruit in Nigeria. It is a natural source of very powerful antioxidants provided by nature. It is a good source of the antioxidant vitamins, C and A to protect us from diseases. It reduces the risk of dehydration.

Watermelon is best planted at the outset of the rainy season or when the rainy season is almost done. This will allow for low relative humidity, a condition essential for normal growth of the crop in southern Nigeria. In the northern part, early season planting is in May and late season planting is July. But with functional irrigation in the north, it could be planted round the year, accounting for why it is usually brought from the north.

It’s a plant that can grow anywhere in Nigeria, and the demand for it is growing by day as a result of its benefits. Research showed that watermelon cuts the risk of sun related skin damage by 40 percent. That’s because watermelon is nature’s richest source of lycopene, an antioxidant that scavenges the UV-induced free radicals that cause sunburn and wrinkling. Lycopene may also help reduce the risks of cancer and other diseases. It can help to improve sleep. Eating a few slices of this fruit after dinner can extend the deep stages of sleep by 27 percent. Watermelon can boost energy.  This is because watermelon contains vitamin B6, which the body uses to synthesise good dopamine.

Banana

Nigeria is one of the largest banana and Plantain (Mussa .spp) growing countries in Africa. Nigeria produces 2.74 million tonnes of banana annually, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It is also the largest plantain producing country in West Africa., making the crop one of the important staples in the country.

The main Banana and Plantain growing regions in Nigeria are found in the South and Central regions of Nigeria, the largest quantities are produced in Edo, Ondo, Delta, and Ogun States. Other producing states are Rivers, Cross River, Oyo, Aiwa Ibo, Ebony, Equity, Imo, Plateau, Onus, Bayes, Koi, Abita, Anambah and Enugu.

Plantain cultivation is not limited to big plantation but is often grown in small orchards which sometimes go unnoticed.

Tomatoes

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is one of the most widely grown vegetables in the world. Tomato has been in cultivation in Nigeria for a very long time. It is an important component of the daily diet, consumed both fresh and in paste form.

Tomato belongs to the genus Lycopersicon under Solanaceae family. Tomato is an herbaceous sprawling plant growing to 1-3 m in height with weak woody stem. The flowers are yellow in colour and the fruits of cultivated varieties vary in size from cherry tomatoes, about 1–2 cm in size to beefsteak tomatoes, about 10 cm or more in diameter. Most cultivars produce red fruits when ripe

Tomato is a glossy red or yellow sharp-tasting fruit which is eaten cooked or raw. It is eaten as vegetable, in salads or as a savoury food. It’s a special ingredient in preparing a delicious meal, especially jollof rice in Nigeria. Some Nigerians who hate too much pepper in soup also use it to reduce spicy hot taste of soup.

Tomatoes are mostly produced in Northern part of Nigeria followed by Southwest part of Nigeria. Farmers from these zones take their tomatoes to markets where Nigerians can easily buy them. Though it’s only ‘tomato Hausa’ (tomatoes from North) that always available throughout the year in the markets. Tomatoes from Southwest are only available for a while in the market.

Onions

Onion (Allium cepa) is a vegetable crop grown almost all over the world. It is grown mainly for its bulb, which is used in every home, almost daily. It is rarely used as a sole dish or in large quantities.

Onions are a cool season crop. The germination of onions is slow at 6 to 7 C, the optimum germination temperature range is 10 to 35 C, and the maximum temperature is 40 C. The onion crop is adapted to a growing season with air temperatures at 13 to 24 C. Low temperatures early in the season are desirable with higher temperatures after bulb formation. The onion is tolerant of frost but seedlings are generally only tolerant down to -1 C. Some bunching onion cultivars overwinter in the milder areas of Atlantic Canada. Adequate soil moisture is required due to the relatively small root system.

Onions are sensitive to photoperiod. Long days are favourable to onion production as this enhances leaf development and formation which, in turn, is directly related to bulb size. Early varieties require 13 hours for bulb initiation while late varieties require 16 hours for bulb initiation.

Its main use lies in flavouring and seasoning of a wide variety of dishes. Its popularity is due to its aromatic, volatile oil, the allyl-prophl sulphide which imports a cherished flavour to food.

Onion is grown widely during the wet and dry seasons. However yields are much higher during the dry season because of fewer incidences of pests and diseases. Prices of onion tend to oxalate during the dry season before harvest begins, due largely to the inability of the farmers to store the highly perishable crop.

Grown mostly in Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi and Kebbi States, the Aliero Community, a local council area in Kebbi State, Nigeria, can lay claim as its home in Nigeria.

Carrot

Carrots are a popular root vegetable that’s easy to grow as long as it’s planted in loose, sandy soil. Most varieties of carrots are resistant to pests and diseases, and they are also a good late season crop that can tolerate frost.

The carrot originated in Asia. Initially the roots were long and thin, and either purple or yellow in colour. These colours, as well as white and orange, still exist, with the orange or orange-red colours being by far the most popular today. Many shapes of roots also exist, from rather long and thin roots to shorter and thick. Roots may be cylindrical, conical, or even spherical in shape.

Carrots are particularly rich in carotene (pro-vitamin A). They are consumed either fresh, as a salad crop, or cooked. Large quantities are also processed, either alone or in mixtures with other vegetables, by canning, freezing or dehydration.

Carrots’ root is rich in sugar, and a great source of vitamins and carotene. Not all carrots are orange; varieties vary in color from purple to white!

Carrots are grown from seed and take about four months to mature. Carrots are mature at around 2 ½ months and ½ inch in diameter.

Nantes varieties are 6 to 7 inches long, cylindrical (not tapered), and entirely edible. They are medium-sized, sweet and mild, and have a crisp texture.

Danvers carrots are a classic heirloom carrot 6–8” long that tapers at the end, with a rich, dark orange color. This variety can handle heavy soil better than most varieties.

‘Little Finger’ is a small Nantes type of carrot only 4 inches long and one inch thick.

Cucumber

Cut cucumber

Cucumber, (Cucumis sativus) is known as a part of the Cucurbitaceae family and is considered to have originated in Nepal. Cucumbers are produced around the world with the U.S. being the fourth largest producer of country, after China, India, and Russia.

There are close to 100 varieties, but common ones include the English, garden, Persian, mini, and lemon. The English cucumber is the longest, is narrow, and is often marketed in a plastic wrap. The skin of English cucumbers is thin and often does not require peeling. In contrast, the garden cucumber has a dark waxy skin. The skin is normally removed by consumers because of its bitter taste. Persian cucumbers are called burpless because they tend to be smaller, sweeter, and seedless. The skin is smoother, thinner, and, similar to the English variety, does not require peeling. These cucumbers tend to be milder and easier on the digestive system. Kirby cucumbers are the smallest. These mini cucumbers are becoming popular in the marketplace due to consumer preferences. They have a wide variety of skin colors ranging from yellow to dark green. Lemon cucumbers are round and yellow, resembling lemons, but they are sweet, have thin skins, and contain seeds

In Nigeria, for many years cucumber has been widely produced and has been serving as among the very important vegetables in the market; so if you have an interest in cucumber farming business in Nigeria, there is an open market that awaits you.

Cucumbers which can be regard as a fruits and also as vegetable are usually eaten raw, can also serve as an ingredient for garnishing in salads, soups and stew if possible or as accompaniments to various foods.

The fruit has a mild flavor, with a thin, tender, dark green skin that does not require peeling.

The maturity days of cucumber are between 40-45 days; though this depends on the type of seeds you buy.

Gold

Gold is a natural resource deposit mainly found in the Northern part of Nigeria, West Africa which is prominently located in Iperindo in Osun State and other areas near Maru, Tsohon Birnin Gwari-Kwaga, Gurmana, Anka, Malele, Bin Yauri and Okolom-Dogondaji.

Though it’s not dominant in the country, other states with smaller deposits include; Abia, Abuja, Bauchi, Edo, Cross River, Niger, Sokoto, Osun, Oyo State, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.

Gold is a precious metal and the 3rd most valued after platinum and palladium, the boiling and melting points of Gold is noted to be 2,970 °C and 1,064 °C respectively and has an atomic number 79. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element.

Gold is bright in colour and slightly reddish yellow with other physical characteristics such as its density and softness when in its purest form, it is also a malleable and ductile metal. It is found throughout the earth crust including the sea but has higher concentrations or natural spots in some areas, it is naturally found in association with quartz veins which can be mostly found in granites and rocks.

In Nigeria, all operations about gold from production to exploration, mining, and refining was mainly significant in the year 1913 with its highest production in the early 1930s but unfortunately, few years after the promising mineral exploration and production, the production of gold in Nigeria declined due to the Second World War in 1939 which resulted in abandonment of mines by the colonial companies that was at then the head of the Nigerian gold production.

This precious metal can be obtained in 3 ways namely; by-product of the mining of other metals, placer mining andvein miningPlacer mining is predominately used when the gold metal is found associated with loose materials, ranging from clay to sand and gravel deposits, thus making mining difficult, but because of their different densities, gold having a high density can be easily separated with water or dredging.

For vein mining, the veins are formed when mineral constituents within the rock mass are carried carried by an aqueous solution and deposited through the process of precipitation.

Many gold mines exploited especially during the gold rushes of the 19th century used this method. It is used when the gold ore is embedded in wall rocks or the areas surrounding it.

Gold is found in some African countries such as Nigerian states in varying quantities but there is no single gold mining operation currently done in the country at a large scale except for small scale operations which are mainly done by artists.

One of the renowned small scale gold mining operation is carried out by the families of Aleye from Anka in Kwara State. Prior to the pursuit of crude oil in the country, there was a corporation formed in the 1980’s known as the Nigerian Mining Corporation (NMC).

It was established with the sole aim of exploring and mining gold but due to poor funding and neglect from the government which seems to have found a better and more money yielding mineral which was crude oil, resulted in the fall and eventually closing down of the corporation.

Diamond

Paraiba tourmalines is the most common type of gemstones found in Nigeria particularly in Oyo state, other states with these deposits include: Benue, Kaduna, Ondo, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun, Bauchi and Plateau States.

There are gemstones that are in small quantities and some that are deposited in large quantity, such that are available in large quantities includes aquamarine, emerald, sapphire, ruby, amethyst, zircon, tourmaline, topaz, garnet and others.

Gemstones are of precious or semi-precious stone, it is a piece of mineral crystal and are of various kinds, colour and grades, examples of gem stones are turquoise, emerald, diamond, labradorite, Kyanite, sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, topaz, garnet, amethyst, ammolite, benitoite, zircon and many more.

There are certain rocks like lapis lazuli that are not minerals like amber but are all considered to be gemstones and can still be used for jewellery.

Gemstones are generally hard and before use especially for jewellery are cut and polished, but no matter what it is used for, gemstones are always admired and valued because of its rare characteristics.

Irrespective of gemstones being found in nature, it can also be produced as synthetic or simulated gemstones.

Synthetic gemstones are alike to the natural stone in all appearances and chemical properties, it is created in controlled conditions in the laboratory but still can’t be regarded as imitation, some of these gems such as emeralds, diamonds, and sapphires have been manufactured in labs to resemble the natural ones by making it to possess similar chemical and physical characteristics.

Simulated gemstones call be called imitationsgemstones, as it is made of resins, plastic and glass, an example of these is cubic zirconia, a diamond simulants which is composed of both simulated moissanite and zirconium oxide, even though the imitation gemstone have the same look and colour like the real stone, it does not possess either their chemical nor physical characteristics.

Gemstones in Nigeria alone can sustain the country for years, but because of the distraction of crude oil, the places with gemstones deposit have been left to be mined illegally and unguided without minding the health and environmental impact of their action.

Iron

Nigeria is among the African countries with vast iron ore deposits which can be found in some states in the country, Itakpe in Kogi State is believed to have the purest deposits of iron ore and other states where it is deposited includes: Abia Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Kwara, Plateau and Nasarawa.

Iron by mass, in the Earth’s crust, is the fourth most abundant element, it has an Atomic number of 26, Melting point: 1,538 °C and Boiling point: 2,862 °C.

Iron ore deposits are mostly found in rocks (sedimentary rocks), and iron ores constitute mainly of what is known as rocks minerals, from these mineral rocks the metallic iron deposits can be extracted. 

Iron ore contains four main types of iron oxides deposits solely dependent on the mineralogy and geology of the ore deposits, these includes magnetitetitanomagnetitehematite and pisolitic ironstone, out of the four the two most important minerals deposits are hematite (Fe2O3) and magnetite (Fe3O4).

The method of Iron-ore mining varies by the type of ore being mined. These oxides vary in colour which includes bright yellow, rusty red, dark grey and deep purple, and are formed from chemical reactions that combined iron and oxygen in marine and fresh waters.

Due to oxygen and iron atoms which is bonded together into molecules forming this ore, it has to be smelted in the blast furnace to remove the oxygen and converting it to metallic iron, though the Oxygen-iron bonds are so strong, a stronger elemental bond such as carbon is mostly attached to the oxygen at high temperatures.  

This is to say that carbon-oxygen bond is greater than that of the iron-oxygen bondtherefore for the the iron ore to yield an almost pure form of carbon during the smelting process it must be in a finely grounded form and properly mixed together with coke; the carbon is then heated with limestone (calcium carbonate) to produce iron from which steel is made from which can either be in the form of a molten or pig iron

Iron is the 3rd widely used metal in Africa and the world as a whole, and is;

  • The main material in steelmaking for automobiles, ships, beams used in buildings, paper clips, furniture, tools etc.
  • Widely used in blast furnaces to make pig iron.

Silver

Silver Ore Mineral Deposits – Nigeria is one of the few African countries that has silver deposits, though silver is not vastly deposited in Nigeria like other minerals and metals, as it is only deposited in the northern part of Nigeria, namely Kano and Taraba State.

Silver has a symbol of Ag with an atomic number of 47, it has a melting point and boiling point of 961.8 °C and 2,162 °C respectively. It is characterized as a lustrous metal which is soft and white, it has the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity, and it is one of the sparsely deposited natural mineral resources in Nigeria.

Silver is one of the rare and precious metals on earth, more abundant than gold, platinum, and palladium. It occurs in its pure form naturally as an alloy with gold and other metals and as a by-product of copper, lead, and zinc refining.

Years ago, silver was mined in combination with lead and zinc but with the coming of the Russian scientists in Nigeria, silver in its pure form was discovered in Taraba, though there isn’t any mining or exploration of this mineral resources yet but the government is greatly working to make sure that the exploration of this mineral will be of benefit to the state and the people in general.

It is one of the oldest minerals to be mined which have accounted for its long use even before 4th millennium BC. Silver can be extracted from its ore either by leaching (chemical process) or by smelting, it can also be extracted or produced during the refining of copper using the electrolytic process or liquation process.

Just like copper (Cu) and gold (Au), silver (Au) exhibits the same physical and chemical characteristic of them, and they are in the same group 11 of the periodic table.

Silver has been used for centuries especially in the making of utensils and precious ornaments, as trade and in monetary systems, and other numerous applications in Africa and the world in general.

 

Uses of silver

  • It’s used in currency in the forms of coins and bullion, and also as an investment.
  • Used in water filtration, making of jewellery, solar panels, and ornaments.
  • It created a higher value for tableware and utensils when used which can also be called silverware.
  • In industry, it is used as electrical conductors.
  • Used in the production of specialized mirrors and window coatings.
  • Silver is used also in catalysis of chemical reactions.
  • The compounds of silver are used in X-rays and photographic films.
  • Silver compounds such as dilute silver nitrate solutions and others are used as micro biocides and disinfectants as it is used to treat medical instruments, catheters, used on bandages and wound-dressings.

Platinum

Platinum is a chemical element with symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is a dense, malleable, ductile, highly unreactive, precious, silverish-white transition metal. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, meaning “little silver".

Platinum is a member of the platinum group of elements and group 10 of the periodic table of elements. It has six naturally occurring isotopes. It is one of the rarer elements in Earth's crust, with an average abundance of approximately 5 μg/kg. It occurs in some nickel and copper ores along with some native deposits, mostly in South Africa, which accounts for 80% of the world production. Because of its scarcity in Earth's crust, only a few hundred tonnes are produced annually, and given its important uses, it is highly valuable and is a major precious metal commodity.

Platinum is one of the least reactive metals. It has remarkable resistance to corrosion, even at high temperatures, and is therefore considered a noble metal. Consequently, platinum is often found chemically uncombined as native platinum. Because it occurs naturally in the alluvial sands of various rivers, it was first used by pre-ColumbianSouth American natives to produce artifacts. It was referenced in European writings as early as 16th century, but it was not until Antonio de Ulloa published a report on a new metal of Colombian origin in 1748 that it began to be investigated by scientists.

Platinum is used in catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, platinum resistance thermometers, dentistry equipment, and jewelry. Being a heavy metal, it leads to health problems upon exposure to its salts; but due to its corrosion resistance, metallic platinum has not been linked to adverse health effects. Compounds containing platinum, such as cisplatin, oxaliplatin and carboplatin, are applied in chemotherapy against certain types of cancer.

Cattle

The cattle is our biggest source of milk and meat, mostly reared by the Fulani nomads. They travel from north to south each year to compensate for the lack of rain in the arid north. In this rather primitive ordeal lies a wealth of treasure. Like we mentioned earlier, cattle rearing is the biggest source of meat and milk in the country. Tapping into this opportunity presents one with hundreds of thousands of Naira each month in profits revenue. Although in a more advanced form of cattle rearing than the nomadic style.

This rearing model will focus on buying young cattle (older than calves), fattening them till they are fully grown and big enough to be sold in the open market. This may take up to a year or two depending on the size and age of cattle you bought. Below are some beginner tips to guide you on how to start cattle rearing for a living.

From birth, the average age for a cow before it is considered fully grown is about 18 months. It is all a matter of getting fat afterwards. The female (cow) gestation period lasts for about 280 days before giving birth. That is almost a year. So before investing in cattle you have to determine the age at the time of buying to know how much longer it would take you to keep them before they are big enough for the market.

Just as cattle are best bought from Fulani cattle herders so is selling them. Whether you are in the north or south when it comes to selling them in the market you will need a middle man in the trade. They usually own a space in animal markets to display their animals. They display your animals along with theirs and sell for a small commission. This is the best approach to selling cattle in the market because it is extremely difficult to sell these livestock in bulk, and selling directly to consumers is fatal to business especially if you are not running a big to the market, and may take a few days before they are all sold out, but nothing more than a week.

Sheep

Sheep (Ovis aries) are quadrupedalruminant mammal typically kept as livestock. Like most ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name “sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries. Numbering a little over one billion, domestic sheep are also the most numerous species of sheep. An adult female sheep is referred to as a ewe (/juː/), an intact male as a ram or occasionally a tup, a castrated male as a wether, and a younger sheep as a lamb.

Sheep farming is an agro entrepreneurial venture that promises high return on investment, however just like the animal itself, is a calm venture that has hardly been exploited. Ever since the age of stones, humans have found a soft spot for these amiable animals, and as such have been rearing them. The main business of domesticating sheep can be best traced to modern day Iraq.

Today, in Nigeria, it is best associated with the northern regions; there sheep farming is a common place activity, but the situation in the southern end is a pure contrast. Perhaps this is because people are less enlightened on the subject; hence the purpose of this article is to bridge that gap of information.

I happen to have a neighbor who rears sheep, and I was more than shocked to discover that in less than three months, three sheep multiplied into eleven. Then I did my studies and found out the following facts:

1) The matured sheep or ewe reaches its heat period every 16 – 18 days, and has a gestation period of 148 days. You can imagine what this means for you if you consider that the sheep has an average lifespan of 7.4 years.

2) Sheep feed on virtually all fresh grasses and forages! After the initial capital required commencing the farming, they afterwards require so little funding to sustain them.

Usually, most entrepreneurs who venture into this niche do so for the purpose of extracting wool from the sheep, while others do so for the meat or mutton that can be fetched from each sheep (this is great business because each sheep weighs between 30 – 120kg). Of course, these products are sure to bring in good income, and consequently promise a successful sheep farming in Nigeria.
However, there are factors to consider before embarking on this business.

Goat

The goat is a member of the family Bovidae and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat. Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species, and have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world. In 2011, there were more than 924 million live goats around the globe, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Female goats are referred to as “does" or “nannies", intact males are called “bucks" or “billies" and juveniles of both sexes are called “kids". Castrated males are called “wethers". While both the words “hircine" and “caprine" refer to anything having a goat-like quality, the former is used most often to emphasize the distinct smell attributed to domestic goats.

Goat farming in Nigeria is very popular and common. The agriculture sector of Nigeria greatly contributing the total national income and economic growth. And domestic or commercial goat farming playing an important role in the overall economic system of this country.

Commercial goat farming is very popular in northern part of Nigeria than southern part. Goat meat is very popular throughout the country and has a great demand in the local restaurants, hotels and the head sells like hot cake in catteries. Due to high demand of goat meat and other products, there is a great opportunities of establishing commercial goat farming business in Nigeria.

Goats are multi-purpose animal. You can produce meat, milk, skin, fiber, manure etc. from the goats at the same time. Determine what type of products has a great demand in your location. If goat milk has a great demand in your location, then you can set up a dairy goat farming business. If goat meat has high demands, then you can easily establish a meat goat farm. So, before starting goat farming in Nigeria, analyze your local market and start producing those products which has a great demand.

Along with providing providing good housing, food etc. your goats also need some special care and management for continuous maximum and profitable income. Vaccinate your goats timely. Never let them to go outside the farm area. Always feed them fresh food. Try to avoid used or contaminated food. Take special care to the breeding bucks and does. Keep bucks and does separate from each other. Take special care to the kids for few months. Make a report of total expenditure and income of your farm.

Chicken

The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a type of domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the red junglefowl. It is one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a total population of more than 19 billion as of 2011. There are more chickens in the world than any other bird. Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food (consuming both their meat and eggs) and, more rarely, as pets. Originally raised for cockfighting or for special ceremonies, chickens were not kept for food until the Hellenistic period (fourth–second centuries BCE)

Poultry farming in Nigeria is already and established and profitable business idea. The economy of Nigeria is mostly dependent on farming or agriculture sector. Poultry farming in Nigeria can play a important role in the total national income of the country and fulfill the annual nutrition demands.

Some report shows that, commercial poultry farming in Nigeria has made many people millionaire. So, if you are a beginner and want to start poultry farming business in Nigeria then try to learn more and more about poultry raising in Nigeria. Read a lots of books, magazines, websites and visit practically as much farm as possible to learn some practical knowledge.

There are three types of breed which are very suitable for commercial poultry farming in Nigeria. You can select any for your farm. Modern poultry breeds are highly productive and commercial raising is also very profitable. Modern layers produce more eggs than traditional breeds and broilers grow faster than ever. Selecting proper breeds for commercial production depends on you. Before starting, determine what type of product do you want to produce. Three types of common and commercial poultry breeds are shortly described below.

Easy to market of poultry products is the main benefits of poultry farming in Nigeria. There is already an established market for poultry eggs and meat with huge demand. So, you don’t have to think about marketing your products. You can sell your products in both local markets and big cities.

According to the above discussion, poultry farming in Nigeria is really lucrative and great business idea. As it is an already established business, so all types of necessary facilities are available. You just need some capital and practical knowledge for starting poultry farming in Nigeria.