Dry season farming thrives in Kano as farmers smile to the bank | Dailytrust

Dry season farming thrives in Kano as farmers smile to the bank

farming has become very popular in some parts of the country. In Kano State where it thrives, farmers have embraced the method because of...

A water canal undergoing repairs as a result of the dam closure
A water canal undergoing repairs as a result of the dam closure

Lately, dry season farming has become very popular in some parts of the country. In Kano State where it thrives, farmers have embraced the method because of its long duration as well as splendid yields during the period, Daily Trust Saturday reports.  

Dry season farming, according to farmers who engage in it, has become profitable in recent times, especially in states like Kano. Many dry season farmers are observed to have chosen the season for its lengthy period and the quantity of yields recorded. 

The season, which usually starts after the rainy season, provides farmers the opportunity to cultivate various crops three different times each year, thereby recording more profits.

For dry season farmers in Kano, the arable land is an added advantage to their farming engagement all through the year. 

With two major dams – Challawa Goje and Tiga, and over 23 earth dams, though not all in use, the state, according to officials, has over 22,000 hectares of farmland situated around the Kadawa irrigation area that dry season farmers access regularly.

The most populous areas in Kano known for dry season farming are the surroundings of the two major dams in the southern part of the state including Dawakin Kudu, Kura, Garun Malam, Bunkure, Rano and some parts of Kano north that have few earth dams. The farmers usually engage in rice farming, maize, wheat and perishables vegetables like tomato, onion, pepper and cucumber, among many others.

When Daily Trust visited some of the farmers in Karfi, Kura Local Government Area, many narrated the successes recorded so far, future plans and challenges. They also revealed that though the Hadejia Jamaare Dam was closed and is expected to open soon, they find some little places close to earth dams to plant little cash crops and these have yielded positive results.

 

Alhaji Sam’ila Dahiru Karfi, 55, is among the top 10 farmers in Karfi town, who focuses on the dry season to cultivate hundreds of hectares three times every year during the season. He said with his lifetime experience in the farming sector, the blessings he has gotten are uncountable.

“I can say that I was born a farmer because my late father was among the top three farmers in this town. So, farming is what I’ve known throughout my life and I will forever remain like that. I have many investments worth millions of naira and the source is farming. My life, family and even relatives are being taken care of through farming. I have houses, cars, wives, children, and I’ve gone for Hajj and Umrah severally.

“In this region, once you hear of a farmer who is into serious farming, he relies on dry season. We engage in wet season farming just so we don’t remain idle, but in the dry season, that is where we make money,” he said.

He said part of the reasons why they chose dry season farming is because it brings income more than wet season farming, adding that some cash crops like wheat and tomato are not rain-friendly, and so cannot be planted until during the dry season.

“You know in the rainy season we don’t have control of water and there are some cash crops that cannot grow in that situation. Crops like wheat, tomato and onion need control of water and in the wet season, we don’t have control unlike in dry season when you use the water at your own wish and control,” he said.

According to Alhaji Sama’ila, the most profitable among the crops is rice as it has less risk and is a household staple. He said that is the reason why he invests so much in it and that presently, he has over 3,000 sacks of rice and is still doing more.

Speaking on their challenges, he said the major one is the hike in the price of fertilizer in recent times.

“Now that fertilizer is sold at around N18,000, there is a big challenge ahead. The number of people that will farm in this coming season will reduce. If I cultivate 20 hectares, honestly, I will reduce to 10 because with the rise in the price of fertilizer, one may end up running at a loss,” he said.

Narrating his successes and challenges in the dry season farming, the Sarkin Noma of Karfi town, Isyaku Abdullahi, 47, said dry season farming has been a blessing to their region and has prevented people from travelling out for businesses, unlike other places where residents travel to the south or Kano city to earn a living after the rain stops.

“Dry season farming is no doubt a blessing to us as it remains our largest source of living. In this region, everybody is a farmer and the farming that brings us money is dry season farming. Even in our homes, our wives and children are never jobless, they always have one or two things to do to earn a little.

“The reason why we chose it is how it gives us the opportunity to farm three different times in a year. For instance, I planted wheat, rice, maize, onion, watermelon and tomato serially in my farms depending on what I plan for the year. There is no time we stay idle. Ninety percent of our people here would not leave home for the southern part of the country,” he said.

The farmers’ leader also admitted that they see rice as the most profitable because it is always needed in the market and does not perish like other crops.

“Rice is not as profitable as tomato and onion, but the problem is the risk in tomato and onion farming. You can plant tomato and once it is harvest time, the price will go down and you know we don’t have storage facilities for perishables here. A basket of tomatoes may be selling at N10,000 today and within a few days, it will go as low as N2,000. There were times we even sell tomatoes at N500 per basket. But you can harvest tomatoes every week for almost seven times.

“Last season, I made N2million from one hectare of tomato farm. So, it is profitable indeed. I can’t quantify what I get from farming. Whatever you see in me or close to me is from farming and through that, I’ve ventured into other businesses,” he said.

Lamenting on the challenges associated with dry season farming, Isyaku said they are enormous although the success stories are the best and most visible. Lack of storage facilities and a modern market for selling perishables like tomato, pepper and onions is part of the challenges, according to him.

“We also have no price control mechanism which forces us to sometimes sell at a giveaway price. The price of fertilizer is also going up on a daily basis and it will definitely tamper with our profit and increase the prices of farm produce,” he added.

Usman Abdullahi Kura, 32, who received our reporter on his farm full of onions, maize and tomato seedlings ready for harvest, said he enjoys the dry season farming for the chances it gives him to remain busy and always earning.

The Level III student of Information and Library Sciences in one of the universities in the state said all his responsibilities and that of his parents are being taken care of through the farming activities, and that he is planning to expand after his studies.

“Although the dam has been closed this time around, I still managed to do this using the nearby earth dam. Just yesterday, I harvested 25 baskets of tomato and each was sold at N10,000. Next week, I will harvest more. I also have maize and onions in the farm as you can see,” he said with a smile.

“The border closure contributed to the success story of dry season farmers. In the past, we hardly sold rice for N6,000 but it is now around N18,000. So, we want the government to also work on the tomato side,” he added.

He called on the government to intervene and ensure price control and provision of storage facilities to ensure that losses are reduced.

Many of the farmers spoken to by our reporter assured that despite the challenges, they will never give up on dry season farming as it is always the best and satisfy them more.

They remain optimistic that the ongoing repair work on the major dams will boost production and motivate them for more profitable farming ahead. 

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