Rice has, for over a week now, become a dominant produce at Katsina local markets as farmers begin massive harvest of the produce, a development that has resulted in low market price and low turnout of buyers. It was on record that because of low price of maize last season and high cost of fertilizer, many farmers concentrated more in the cultivation of rice this year.
Alhaji Umar Osman, a large-scale farmer, said rice farmers in Katsina State have since geared up for bumper harvest considering how the grain was massively cultivated and adequate rainfall recorded.
“The volume of rice produced this year in this state will be higher than that of last year. From Danmusa down to Sabuwa LGA everywhere are rice farms and God so kind blessed us with adequate rainfall this year.
“Because of its massive production, what you just saw in the markets is the beginning of rice harvest in the state.”
Osman added that the low market price of rice compared to last year’s is “nothing to worry about because it is not significant” enough to affect the revenue of the farmers; and right from last farming season cereals were sold at relatively low prices because of their massive production.
Muhammadu Ashiru, a paddy rice dealer at Dandume market, said there were not many merchants in the markets because the rice harvest just started and companies prefer the produce to be well dried before they start buying it.
“Only merchants from Sokoto and our local ones who buy for local processing are the main rice buyers in the markets now. Rice processing companies begin their purchase only when the paddy rice is well dried,” he said.
Ashiru added that there is slight change in the price of the produce compared to last year obviously because of its large-scale production this season.
“Last year by now, a bag of paddy rice was sold for N8,000 to N10,000 depending on variety. But now the price starts from N5,000 to N8,000.
‘Farar Jar Naira’ variety was sold at N8,000; ‘Jeap’ variety was sold at N6,000, while the rest were sold at not less than N5,000. The prices notwithstanding do not badly affect the farmers as they are recording bumper harvest,” said Ashiru.
Yahuza Muhammad, a rice farmer in Dandume LGA said rice harvest started earnestly after the Sallah festival and because it was produced massively it will in no distant time floods the markets.
“Rice harvest will take time before it finishes this year because the crop is in many varieties. As we are harvesting these varieties there are others that are yet to start bearing seeds, therefore from now to early October rice harvest will continue batch by batch,” he said.
He pointed out that farmers are now more comfortable with rice production than that of maize because it brings more yield and profit.
Another farmer, Shu’aibu Sani of Kadawa also in Dandume LGA said farmers engaged in harvest activities a day or two to market day, explaining that “Because the produce is now wet, we can’t afford to store it but sell it all in the markets. The ones suitable for storage are harvested in late September and early October.”
Shu’aibu added that the harvest process that involved cutting, piling, threshing and sieving cost a farmer N900 per 100Kg bag as labour cost in the farm.
Source: Daily Trust