Cabbage production in Sokoto is noted to have increased in the last three years as it gains popularity among the populace.
Cabbage, as a good source of many essential vitamins, is now taking a special place on the table of many households.
Many say they now consume cabbage a lot having discovered its health benefits.
This low calorie, fiber-rich vegetable which can be cooked or eaten raw, is also considered cheap and readily available in the market and grocery stores.
“Three years back, cabbage was not a farmers’ favourite due to low demand from customers. Today, cabbage is in high demand and farmers are gradually getting into its farming after several efforts in creating awareness by the association,” Sokoto State chairman, Cabbage and Spinach Farmers Association, Alhaji Chika Sani Tambuwal Dan Manga, said.
He said the association has 4,370 members from Wurno, Goronyo, Gwadabawa, Tambuwal and Kware, who are the major producers of the vegetable in the state.
The chairman, however, disclosed that: “All we produce is consumed within the state. We are yet to reach the level of mass production that can be transported to other states.”
He said they have been creating awareness among farmers on the needs to embrace cabbage farming like carrot, onion and spinach.
On its cultivation, he explained: “Cabbage, like other vegetables, needs constant watering and spray of pesticide at intervals. But it has to be given special nurturing after planting against the sun until it reaches a certain stage before it is exposed to sunshine.”
He pointed out that the constant watering of cabbage enhanced its additional leaves layers, adding that the more water it gets, the bigger its ball size.
On challenges, the chairman noted the problem of seed availability in the market.
He also said though the several coats of cabbage helped it against destruction by insects, the farmers battled to save their plants against insects and sun ray at the initial stage of growth.
Alhaji Chika called on the Sokoto State government to provide cabbage farmers with water pumping machines, seeds, pesticides and soft loans.
“Government should also do onto cabbage what is done to rice and wheat so that we also enjoy anchor borrowers scheme policy like our colleagues,” he appealed.
The chairman called on farmers to embrace cabbage farming stressing that “it is equally rewarding and enjoys market value like watermelon and other popular vegetables.”
A cabbage farmer, Malami Muhammad, said the commodity was now getting very popular.
“Cabbage is cheap and easy to get, a bread winner can do with two balls at less than N300 at these hard times. Some two years back, people in Sokoto State didn’t bother about cabbage but now it can be found in many houses,” he stated.
Muhammad said cabbage takes 70-90 days to harvest from the day it was planted.
“A 100gm of cabbage seed cost N5,000 and can be turned into 100 beds of plantation from which a farmer can realize 50-60 sacks at N8,000,” he said, adding that during harvest season, a sack cost N4,000 but could rise to N10,000-N12,000 during scarcity.
He described cabbage farming as profitable and urged farmers in Sokoto State to embrace it fully.
At Ramin Kura vegetable depot, a farmer, Musa Aliyu, 35, from Ruggar Liman village said he sold all he took to the market due to high demand.
Aliyu noted that, “Cabbage farming is now rewarding due to increase in local demand. Most customers are food vendors and individuals from various places who have included the vegetable on their menus.”
He, however, said they needed soft loans, adequate seeds, fertilizer and pesticide to boost cabbage production and make it more available to the common man.