Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) originates from West Africa. It is scientifically named “Abelmoschus esculentus” and can also be called “Hibiscus esculentus”. This crop belongs to the family Malvaceae. It thrives well in well-drained deep soil. The optimum temperature required is 25-300C. It takes about 90-100 days before okra starts flowering.


Some of the varieties of Okra are:

‘Park’s Candelabra Branching’: which is a base-branching okra plant. This type of branching enables easy harvesting. ‘Louisiana Green Velvet’: it is spineless and smooth. Its plant is often about 6 feet tall. Cultivars/hybrids of okra include; Annie Oakley, Annie Oakley II, Green Best and 1285.

Okra contains fibre, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium and vitamin C


Okra is a very important vegetable used to prepare different types of soups. Virtually, every tribe in Nigeria makes use of okra to prepare at least one of their traditional meals or delicacies. Thus, it is a widely acceptable vegetable. Immature fruits may be boiled, fried, eaten raw or steamed.

Okra fruits are used to make soups, sauces, stews, curries, and even salads while the leaves are used to feed farm animals

Young leaves are sometimes used as a vegetable, in a similar manner to spinach, particularly in West Africa and Southeast Asia. Okra leaves could be dried and grounded into powder for storage. Flower buds and petals are sometimes eaten in times of food shortage.

Okra seeds are often used in place of dried peas, beans or lentils in rice dishes and soups. In Nigeria, seeds are prepared into a food known as dandawan betso. In India, okra seeds are eaten in curries and chutneys.

Roasted okra seeds are ground and used as a substitute for coffee in some areas. Considered by some to be one of the best coffee substitutes, it was once widely used in Central America, Africa, and Malaysia.

Medicinal use: Leaves and immature fruit have long been used in the East in poultices and applied to relieve pain, moisturize skin, induce sweating, prevent scurvy and treat urinary disorders. In Congo-Brazzaville, a leaf decoction is given for heart pains and to promote delivery during childbirth. Okra root has been used to treat syphilis in Malaya. Okra mucilage has been used as a plasma replacement and blood volume expander


Harvesting should be done every other day in other to preserve its freshness. Harvested okra is about 2-3 inches long. Cut the stem with a knife just above the cap. The varieties of okra with spines could irritate the skin while harvesting, so it is advisable to put on hand gloves while harvesting.


Okra could be stored in a cool dry place for a 1 -2days and could also be stored in a refrigerator and freezers whether raw or cooked. It could also be sliced and sun-dried, then stored.


Blending of the dried sliced okra into powdery form can be done, which makes packaging less bulky and increases its shelf life. Okra could be sliced with a knife for small scale production, but it is better sliced with the use of motorized slicer especially for large scale production. It could either be sun-dried or oven-dried. Thereafter, it could be ground into a powder to enable longer storage and to reduce its bulkiness.