OKRA (Abelmoscus esculentus)

OKRA (Abelmoscus esculentus)

Okra is also a vegetable crop commonly grown by local farmers in West Africa. The fruits called capsule. When young, they are harvested with knife and used in soup preparation.


Land preparation: The bush is cleared with cutlass while ridges or heaps are constructed with hoes. Alternatively, the land can be prepared by ploughing, harrowing and ridging.


Varieties/Cultivars: New lady’s finger and the Perkin’s long pod.


Climatic and soil requirements: Okra requires a temperature of 18°C – 30°C, rainfall of 100cm – 150cm per annum and a well-drained loamy soil.


Method of propagation: By seeds.


Planting date: Early April and May.


Spacing: 60cm x 60cm.


Planting: Seeds are planted directly into beds, two to three seeds per hole which should be 3cm deep. Germination occurs as from the 5th day after planting.


Cultural Practices

  • Thinning and supplying: These can be done where necessary.
  • Fertilizer application: Super phosphate fertilizer at 100kg/hectare is required. Ring application is used.
  • Weeding: This should be done regularly.


Maturity period: This occurs between three and seven months depending on varieties.


Harvesting: The young and succulent green immature fruits are plucked or harvested with knife. Harvesting is done over a long period of time.


Processing: The fruits are used as food.


Storage: The fresh fruits are stored in a cool place, e.g, refrigerator or the dried ones are stored in sacks.


Pests of Okra

1) Flea beetles: These insects attack the plants and eat up the leaves. This they do by putting holes on the leaves as they eat them.



  • Spray with insecticides.


2) Cricket and grasshopper: These insects also defoliate the plant by eating up the leaves and young stems.


  • Spray with insecticides.


Diseases of Okra

1) Root knot disease: It is caused by eelworm nematode which is found in the soil.

Symptoms: Symptoms include knotting or galling of roots, retarded growth and reduced yield.


  • Practise crop rotation.
  • Use resistant varieties.
  • Treat soil with nematicide, e.g Nemagon.


2) Mosaic disease: It is caused by a virus which is transmitted by piercing and sucking insects. Symptoms include mosaic colouration on the leaves, leading to low yield of the crop.


  • Spray with insecticide to kill vector.
  • Uproot and burn infected plants.

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