In this article, we shall look at Bell Apple cultivation in Nigeria. This special fruit is the type that the climate of Nigeria permits, it is an apple in its own right as opposed to the regular imported apples we’ve come to know and consume a lot.
This wonderful fruit is very beneficial to us in this part of the world. It highly nutritious and differs from the imported apple in shape and taste. The fruit has mix of sweet and sour taste and the intensity of the sweetness or sourness depends on how ripe it is.
In this post, we will look at the planting and harvesting process of the bell apple.
Time of Planting of Bell Apple
The Bell Apple planting season starts from September to April (not to be confused with April to September). A total of 160 seedlings per acre at a spacing of 5m by 5m can be planted.
When planting, do make sure that the seedlings are pressed into the soil but be careful not to totally cover it up in the soil. The reason for not totally covering up the seedlings in the soil is for appropriate lighting. The seedlings need light to grow.
Make sure that the seedlings are well spaced at least 1 inch apart. Good spacing enables the seedlings to tap enough nutrients from the soil without competition. Also, the soil should be well watered after planting. Water from time to time to enable them germinate properly. Seedlings begin to germinate from the third week of planting.
Bell apples need adequate humidity and rainfall to thrive. It thrives on different types of soil ranging from sandy to clayey soil. The soil has to be moderately acidic too for the plant to thrive.
Bell Apple Harvesting
Bell Apple trees take about 3 years before they begin producing fruits. Each harvest yields at least 1000 fruits and there are a minimum of 2 harvests in a calendar year.
Interest in Bell apple farming in Nigeria is increasing as time goes by. It is possible to generate a 100% return on your investment within 6 months and 3 years depending on what aspects you are focused on. You can make a 100% profit by selling the seedlings within 6 months of planting. Or you could wait a little longer when the fruits are ready and you can also make great returns on your investment.
However, one major challenge with these apples is the attack of bats during the fruiting period. Another challenge happens during storage. The apples are quite perishable and tend to rot within 3 days. However, it could last a couple of weeks if refrigerated.
Also, you can try to cultivate the temperate apple at a pilot scale if you live in any of the cold regions of the country particularly the plateau area of Jos, Mambila and Obudu.