Farmers express mixed feelings as harvest begins

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Farmers across the country are expressing hopes that this year’s harvest will be bountiful compared to last years. Some, especially the wet season rice farmers are however counting their loses as a result of floods that ravaged rice farms along the river banks in most rice producing states in the country.

Reports from some beans growing states also indicate that pest attacked many beans farms, destroying their foliage and pods.

Report from Benue State shows that farmers of Beninseed are happy that this year’s harvest will be better than that of last year.

One of them, Vitalis Tarnongu, said he planted the crop this year through his 35-member out growers farmers scheme along Makurdi-Naka road on an expanse farm land.

“The harvest is good and better than last year,” he said.

Tarnongu attributed his bumper harvest to adequate rainfall, which he said, helped the crop immensely to bring forth fruitful yields.

He explained that a hectare of the farmland yielded 10 bags of 100kg which meant that each of the farmers produced one tonne of beniseed on their apportioned space.

Tarnongu said in all, there are 35 farmers in all and each was allocated a hectare of farmland and will turn out 350 bags of beniseed stressing that the good harvest will increase the personal income of the beneficiaries.

Another farmer, Atondo Titus, in Gboko area of the state, said his beniseed harvest was impressive.

In Kaduna, crops such as rice, sweet potato, guinea corn, tomatoes, soya beans and yam are presently being harvested and that farmers that cultivated their farmers at the beginning of the rainy season have since finished harvesting and are now engaged in another round of cultivation.

Aliyu Muhammad, who cultivated maize and beans on half a hectare of land, said he harvested 10 bags of maize from part of the land.

He added, “I am very glad I decided to cultivate maize and beans on my farm because it has uplifted the living standard of my family. With the 10 bags of maize I harvested, I have been able to stock my house with food, paid my children’s school fees and many other things that ideally I would not be able to do due to lack of funds.”

Also, Nasiru Yakubu cultivated tomatoes on about a hectare of land and harvested 150 big baskets of tomatoes.

According to him, “I cultivated tomatoes, beans, maize and soya beans on my land and so far, I have harvested 150 baskets of tomatoes and still counting. I sold each basket for between N4,000 to N5,000.

Reports from Plateau State indicate that in a few weeks, fresh vegetables will flood the markets.

Our correspondent in the state reports that the months of October to December are usually best times to plant vegetables in the state.

With the rainy season over, vegetable irrigation farmers have started planting and are expected to harvest  by early December.

“We have already planted the dry season vegetables in October and we hope that they will mature by December. Soon there will be fresh vegetables in the market. It usually takes three months for tomatoes, cabbage, green beans and most of the other vegetables to mature,” said Mohammed Fodio Umar at the Building Material Vegetable market in Jos south, Plateau State.

Our correspondent in Kogi, however, reports that rice and yam farmers in the state are facing bleak harvest this year due to the devastating flood that wreaked havoc on those crops.

A rice farmer from Ibaji local government area, Christian Omanibe, said the 20-hectare rice farm he cultivated would have been due for harvest by now but the flood disaster had shattered his hope.

He said apart from few upland rice farmers, who were able to make good harvest, most of the rice farmers in the area could not reap anything from their labour due to the devastating flood.

Omanibe said the development had impacted negatively on the socio-economic wellbeing of many farmers in the area, adding “We couldn’t even be able to harvest anything to feed our family not to talk of taking to the market to sell and meet other needs”.

Speaking in the same vein, a yam farmer from Ibaji, John Omachonu, said they have lost hope of a good harvest of yams as most of the farms were submerged by flood.

According to him, the situation would aggravate hunger and poverty amongst farmers in the area, adding that “farming is the only source of our survival in this place”.

He said most of the farmers are now engaging in dry season farming to at least have something to feed their families.

A cassava farmer from Odo-Ape Fadama farm cluster, Isaac Obaganye on his part, complained that the yield of cassava this year was poor compared to the previous year.

He said they were only able to harvest between 3-4 Diana truckload per hectare as compared to the 6-7 Diana truckloads they harvested per hectare last year.

In Kastina, pest attack has shattered the dreams of many beans farmers in the state.

A beans farmer, Abdullah Sani Danja, said they just woke up and discovered the damage the pest did to many farms.

“It took us unawares, beginning from the last two weeks. The caterpillars destroy the foliage and when the pods are large, they eat their way into them and continue feeding there. If the farm is not large, the destruction may take only two days,” Danja lamented.

He added that many farmers fought the pests seriously through the application of strong pesticides at regular intervals.

Another farmer from Kafur, Alhaji Kabir Hayatu, said though many beans farmers had taken prompt action against the pest, the unfortunate development might affect the volume of the crop at harvest.

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