Okra is a herbaceous annual plant in the family of malvaceae which is grown for its edible seeds pods. It has small erect stems that can be bristly or hairless with heart-shaped leaves. Can grow up to 1.2- 1.8 m tall and as annual plant can survives only one season. It’s also known as lady’s fingers, bhindi or bhendi, flowering plant originally planted in India and many English speaking countries.
Okra young seeds pods are eaten fresh or cooked as vegetable while dry seeds are used for extracting oil. Its fiber are used for making papers.
Okra is a heat loving plants that is grown in southern climates.
Requires drain, light sandy to medium loam. The soil should be of high organic matter. The PH should range between 5.8 to 6.8.
Should be grown in areas with high sunlight and grows in hot temperatures at least 18.3°C.optimal growth of the plant occurring at soil temperature between 23.9°c to 32.3°c.
Okra is planted direct and propagated from seeds.
Seeds are soaked in water together with optimizer overnight prior to planting to break seed dormancy to enhance germination.
It’s planted in rows spaced at 60x45cm or 60×30 cm is generally adopted.
Okra seeds rate is 18 to 20kg /hectare for summer crop and 10 to 12 kg for rainy season’s crop.
At final spacing of 15.0-22.5cm.when they are4 to 6 weeks old to reduce the final plant stand.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Okra requires moist soil for optimum development. Water should be applied at a rate of 1.5 inches every 10 days is recommenced in a hot area, but in cooler climates requires less water because as it tend to cool the plant restricting the growth.
- Fertilizer application.
Apply220kg together with Humipower 1kg/50kg of fertilizer to reduce soil acidity, to improve soil structure and to amend the soil prior to planting seed. In case of chemical fertilizer chicken manure can be spread to replace one week prior to planting.
Additional side dressing of 40to 60 of nutrients nitrogen together with humipower1kg/50kg of fertilizer can be applied 6 weeks after planting. Also Goldchance Range should be applied. That is Goldchance Starter, Goldchance Vegetative and fruits and flowering (After germination) .This help to facilitate s faster crop establishments resulting to high production.
- Weeds control.
Shallow cultivation can help to Control weeds after emerge between crops rows. Cultivation is most effective for weed control when properly timed. Cultivation too early could lessen the benefit any pre mergence herbicides. Weeds may too large to kill with shallow cultivation however if cultivation occurs too late.
Hand hoeing within rows should begin as soon as weeds emerge. Clampdown 200ml/20l is applied as pre emergence and pre plant period to crop emergence within which the goal of killing emerged weed.it will non selectively kill these weed translocate in the plant to hold to control large weeds as well as perennial.
Okra pods are ready for harvesting 2 months after planting. Pods are generally ready to harvest 4 to 6 days after flowering.
Should be harvested 2 to 3 days when they have reached 7.6-15.2 cm in length. It’s removed from the plants by cutting with sharp knife or by snapping from the plants.PESTS
- Aphids.myzus persicae.
This is a soft bodied insects that hide underside of the leaves or stem of the plant. It’s usually green or yellow in color.
If there is high infestations of aphids courses the leaves to yellow and or distorted, necrotic spots on the leaves and stunted shoots. Aphids produces honeydew which encourage the growth of shooty mold on the plants.
If there a few aphids in the leaves or shoots then can be pruned out to control. Check the Transplants for aphids before planting .Also use tolerance variety if available. Tardy plant can be sprayed with a strong jet of water to knock aphids from leaves. Okra plant tolerate low and medium level infestation. Controlled by Kingcode Elite10ml/20l.
- Cornearworm.(Helicoverpa zea)
Its larvae stages damages the leaves, bud, flowers and pod eggs are laid singly on both upper and lower leaf surface.
The farmer should monitor for any egg or young larvae .Also natural enemies that could be damaged by chemicals. Can be controlled by Escort 10ml/20l.
- Root -knot nematodes. (meloldogyne spp)
Nematodes prefer sandy soil and increases in afield with this type of soil is mostly likely.
Nematodes forms galls on roots which can be up to 3.3 cm in diameter but are usually smaller. Affected plant lead to.
Reduction in plant vigor.
Yellowing of plant which wilt in hot weather. This galls seems to appear as fast as a month prior to planting.
Plant resistance varieties if nematodes are known to be present in the soil. Solarization of soil can reduce nematodes population in the soil and levels of inoculum of many other pathogens. Control by Adventure 5kg/50kg of fertilizer.
- Spidermites.(Tetranychus urticae)sop
They does well in dusty conditions and water stressed plant are more susceptible to attack.
If leaves are affected stippled with yellow color, they appear bronzed. There is a webbing covering the leaves. Mites may be visible as tiny moving dots on the webs or underside of leaves. They are not spotted until there is visible symptoms on the plants. Leaves turn yellow and may drop from the plant.
In home garden spraying plant with a strong set of water can reduce to buildup of pest.
Can be controlled by Alonze3ml/20l.
- Cutworms Agrotis sop
They cut off young seedlings at the ground level during the night, bragging them into the tunnel in the soil and feed on them during the day. Control drenching of pentagon 20ml/20l.
- Thrips. Thrips palmi (melon thrips)
Leaves may be distorted if population is high.
Leaves are. Covered with coarse stippling and may appear silvery.
Leaves speckled with black feces. Controlled by using Profile 30ml/20l.
- Powdery mildew.(fungus) Oidium asterisk- punicei
- There is presence of powdery white covering on leaves.
- Patches that coalesce to cover entire plant.
- Leaves may roll upwards and appear scorched if infestations is high.
Controlled by .chariot20ml/20l
- Fusarium wilt.(fusarium oxysporum)
The emergence is favored by warm temperatures .The fungus may be introduced to field through infected seeds or by contaminated equipment and human movement.
- Cotyledons wilts and also the seedling.
- Cotyledons becomes chlorotic at the edge and then necrotic.
- On old plants wilts and leaf chlorosis.
- If infestation is severe plants becomes stunted and may die.
- The vascular system of infected plants becomes discolored and can be seen by cutting the stem
Management. Drenching of Greencop 100g/20l.
- Enatioins: Leaf Curl diseases. Okra enations leaf Curl virus.
This is a viral disease that is translated by whiteflies.
- On lower surface enations we will see a small pin headed enations. The enations becomes warty and rough in structure at later stages.
- Reduction in leaf size.
- Stem, lateral, branches and leaf petioles becomes twisted along the enations.
- Leaves appear thick and leathery.
- In several infected plants the emerging leaves shows bold enations and curling and produces few deformed fruits.
Remove infected plant and burn them to avoid further spread of disease.
Control the whiteflies by Kingcode elite10ml/20l/ presento5g/20l.
- Damping off.
It’s a soil-fungus capable of damping off seedlings, roots and crown rot of plant. The symptoms of damping off is dark brown lesion that coalesced girdling the stem at the base and causes the seedling to collapse within few day. Can be controlled by drenching Pyramid 100g/20l.Marketing of Okra
The popularity of farmers market has increased along with consumer preference for locally produced food. If you have several market in your area selects a well-attended one to set up your okra stand .many tourist and travelers stop at roadside stand for food purchase. If you okra on large scale and you don’t what to deal directly with retail consumer for an agreement with a restaurant or grocer to purchase your crop.
Due to increased internet access in rural communities has increased online markets of farm products. You can also explore marketing partnership with other farmers in the area and develop a centralized cooperative online store.
Challenges facing marketing of okra.
- Fluctuation of market price.
- inadequate appropriate fresh produce transporting vans(refrigerated tracks)
- Lack of organized and hygienic fresh produce market for supplies to ship channellers.
- Lack of access to physical markets for new entrants due to presence of cartels and brokers.
- Conflicting markets managements and regulatory roles by government agencies.
- Post-harvest losses are high especially during transporting and offloading.
- Failure to honor contractual obligations between buyers and producers.