Irish potato farmers in Katsina State are experiencing tremendous drop in the yields of the produce, a situation that is affecting its supply to the market.
Our correspondent in the state reports that the price of the produce has slightly gone up because of the low supply.
The produce, which is harvested between 70 and 80 days from the day of planting, is being cultivated in the state in two phases, starting from November.
According to the farmers, in the last two years the produce gave them high yields, getting up to 25 bags per acre and the price was at between N12,000 and N18,000 per bag.
This year, however, the farmers said an acre gave them around 12 bags at best, a situation which, they said, has forced the price per bag rise to between N15,000 and N20,000.
One of the affected farmers, Saminu Ali of Gwamutsawa in Bakori LGA, said it came as a surprise to them as they did all that was necessary on their potato farms to boost yields.
“But because we produce the crop in two phases, our observation is that this first one did not enjoy much cold weather before harvesting, hence the low yield.
“It was planted at the end of October and therefore, it only enjoyed two weeks of cold weather in December/January which is not enough for the production of Irish potato.
“We did our best from farm clearing, choice of seeds, application of fertilizer and adequate watering but there is nothing much to show for it in terms of output,” he said.
He said their expectation is to get better yield in the second phase of the harvest, in the first week of March, because there would be more than four weeks of cold weather in that period.
“We have another crop in the farm which we planted