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Dry season rice farmers in Taraba anticipate bumper harvest

Despite the high cost of inputs, dry-season farmers in Taraba State are set to witness a bumper harvest. Findings revealed that rice and wheat farmers…

Despite the high cost of inputs, dry-season farmers in Taraba State are set to witness a bumper harvest.

Findings revealed that rice and wheat farmers across the state are hoping to harvest their crops in the next two weeks and are expecting a bumper harvest.

Rice and wheat farms in Karim-Lamido, Gassol, Lau and Donga are maturing and will be harvested in the next few weeks.

At Shika, over 200 farmers who planted rice are getting prepared for the harvest.

A visit to the area by our reporter indicated that 60 per cent of the rice farms are maturing and the farmers are hopeful despite the high cost of diesel and petrol faced by the farmers this year.

Engineer Yahaya Mafindi, one of the dry season farmers, told our reporter that his rice farms were destroyed during the flood and he started the dry season farming very early this year.

He said he planted four bags of rice seeds on his farm and the rice is maturing which indicates that he will start harvesting in three weeks.

Mafindi stated that he was discouraged at the beginning of dry season farming because of the high price of petrol, which he used in pumping water to the farm.

“l have three water pumping machines in my farms, but because of the high cost of petrol, l had to buy two solar water pumping machines,” he said.

He explained that many farmers could not embark on dry season farming this year because they don’t have money to buy seeds, petrol and chemicals.

He said the flood disaster that occurred last year had rendered many farmers financially handicapped, adding that most of the dry season farmers had to borrow money to embark on the farming activities.

“One good thing is that farmers are going to witness bumper harvest and that will enable those that took loans to make profit and repay their loan easily,” he said.

Another farmer Yakubu Dauda told our reporter that about 50 of them took loan of N500, 000 each from one Alhaji Isa Tafida to embark on dry season farming this year.

Dauda said those that ventured into dry season farming are going to make profit despite the high price of farm inputs encountered.

According to him, “this year, rice farms were not attacked by pests as was the case last year when many farms were destroyed in parts of Lau, Karim-Lamido and Gassol local government areas by pests while many other farms were destroyed by herdsmen.

“The only problem encountered by dry season farmers this year is the high cost of diesel, petrol and chemicals,” he said.

Alhaji Isa Tafida, who gave an interest free loan to 50 dry season farmers in Shika area, said he assisted farmers who lost everything to the flood last year to enable them embark on dry season farming to recover what they lost during the flood.

He said with financial support, many farmers were able to embark on dry season farming and from all indications, they are going to make profit and also repay the loan granted to them.

He said he was happy the farmers would recover what they lost in the flood from the farms after the harvest.

According to him, rice and wheat farms are already maturing and from all indications, there’s going to be a bumper harvest in the state this year.

At Tau and Didango in Ardo-Kola and Karim-Lamido local government areas, farmers interviewed expressed happiness over the expected bumper harvest.

One of the farmers, Musa Didango, said though farmers faced high cost of farm inputs, he was impressed with his farm because this year they did not record pests attack or destruction by herdsmen.

Our reporter gathered that most farmers purchased solar water pumping machines as an alternative to pumping machines that use diesel or petrol.

Farmers who use solar water pumping machines said the machines were easy to operate and cost effective.

“We spent between N40,000 to N45,000 weekly to fuel our water pumping machines but we spent nothing to operate solar water pumping machines,” a farmer, Haruna, said.