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Farmers watch crops dry up as dry spell hits northern states

Following the rainy season, many farmers in the northeastern states of Gombe, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and parts of Plateau State are worried as rainfall…

Following the rainy season, many farmers in the northeastern states of Gombe, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and parts of Plateau State are worried as rainfall ceased at the growing stage of their crops.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that thousands of hectares are on the verge of drying up while crops are leaning and getting withered.

The drought spell has caused nightmare for farmers, and there is fear that it might result in poor yield during the harvest season.

Farming communities in Plateau south said that for almost a month, there had been little or no rainfall in most of the areas while their counterparts interviewed in Gombe north said the dry spell was getting to the third week.

It is evident that dry spell caused losses and reduced yield due to irregular rainfall in the states.

Sharing his experience about the present drought, Malam Shamsuddeen, a farmer in Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State, said the 16-day drought experienced in the area could be a blessing in disguise.

According to him, this is because normally, millet resists drought for up to 40 days, with intermittent rain showers.

He said, “For farmers in the northern part of Gombe, who mostly cultivate millet, the dry spell was a blessing. It is because many farmers couldn’t afford to buy fertiliser, no thanks to its high cost, aggravated by fuel subsidy removal.

“The 16-day dry spell gave the millet a space to shine although there were rain showers in between. So, the drought didn’t inflict severe effects on our crops, especially millet tillers,’’ he added.

Shamsudden further indicated that the only farmers affected by the spell are those whose millet is at the pollination stage. “We had a similar experience in 2021 when millet farmers had a boom harvest. And last year, when there were torrential rains, the harvest was low, which led to the product’s apparent scarcity in Dukku Local Government Area, which is one of the major producers of millet in Nigeria.”

However, reports indicate that the spell had more adverse effects on millet farmers in Funakaye Local Government Area in the state and farmers in both Gombe central and south, who majorly cultivate maize that cannot withstand drought.

Another farmer in the area, Bilyaminu Abdulkader, who had early planting of millet on his five hectares of land, for example, corroborated Shamsuddeen, that his already pollinating millet started drying up and shrinking.

“My crop is in dire need of rain. This is posing a threat to my projected produce after the harvest. Unless there will be rainfall, the harvest will be as poor as the last farming season.

“Bambara nut and peanut are not spared as they are drying up and get attacked by insects due to lack of moisture in the farms,’’ he said.

He added that farmers may not have a bumper harvest if the spell continued, saying, “We are awaiting succour from the Almighty, that is the only thing that can salvage the situation.’’

Another farmer in northern Gombe, Lukman Mai Besha, told our correspondent that the high cost of fertiliser, coupled with intermittent drought spell, barred him from cultivating millet and now resorted to sesame.

He said, “I now cultivate sesame to avoid expensive fertiliser, but it is now under pests attack due to lack of rainfall. Once it rained, the bugs would be washed down by the rain.’’

A similar scenario is wreaking havoc on thousands of farmlands in the southern part of Plateau State as farmers lament the shortage of rainfall, saying the situation is making them lose hope for this year’s farming season.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that rain has not fallen in the area for weeks, prompting the farmers to pray for the Almighty’s succour.

Various food crops in the southern part of the state are drying up owing to the drought spell in the area. Some of the farmers in Yelwa community of Shendam Local Government Area of the state said different crops planted have turned yellowish because of low rainfall in recent times.

The farmers added that if the situation continued, many of them would lose capital, lamenting that there would be shortage of food in the area.

lliya Muhammad, a farmer in the area said, “Honestly, we have been experiencing shortage of rainfall in this area. Crops are drying up. If the situation continues, in a moment we will lose our crops completely because some are already dead, especially yams.

“We are in dire need of rain because our crops are dying; yam, maize, and groundnut are not looking good at all. We are praying to the Almighty to assist us with rain to water our crops.”

Moses Nincir, a farmer also said, “We are praying for the rain because without it there will be problems. We haven’t seen rain for almost a month now. If rain doesn’t come, there will be hunger. We are in the hands of God.”

For Aliyu Haruna, another farmer, “The drought spell has not been good for us. Crops are drying. Food has become very expensive. If we are having rain, food crops wouldn’t have been as expensive as they are now because other crops would have grown. We are praying to Allah to assist us with rain because things will go well if it is raining. People from far and near should help us with prayers. It hasn’t been easy for us around this area.”

Sabgwar Lofsel, who also shared his experience said, “We have invested our money in the farm but the rains have ceased. We are really suffering. We want to apply pesticide but there is no rain. We are begging Allah to help us with rain to enable us get food at the end of the day.’’

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that during the last farming season, farmers in the area recorded huge losses, especially in rice, as the output was too low owing to shortage of rainfall.


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