Apart from fishing which is their major occupation, a number of riverine communities in Kogi/Koton-Karfe Local Government Area affected by recurring devastating floods over the years have found recourse to dry season farming, our correspondent reports.
North Central Trust correspondent, who visited three communities in the area, reports that a number of farmers said they were anticipating bumper harvests.
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The farmers, who also engage in fishing, were thrown into agony in September 2020 following devastating flood which washed away their farms and houses as well as livestock.
However, most of them have now turned to dry season farming, engaging mainly in rice and cassava cultivation, among other crops.
North Central Trust reports that the farmers use tube wells to irrigate large expanse of land and were already optimistic of a bumper harvest.
A cross-section of the farmers who spoke with our reporter, said they would now solely depend on dry season farming to make a living given their experience last year.
A rice farmer, Abdullahi Usman, a native of Oganumo riverine community, said he has been into rice for over 10 years using irrigation, adding that he now cultivated his land thrice a year.
Usman said he harvests about 20 to 30 bags of rice in each circle, adding, though that the local method of irrigation was challenging and absence of support from either the state or federal governments.
“The major challenge I am facing, just like other dry season farmers across riverine communities, is the irrigation method we adopt, which is local,” he said.
He called on the state and federal governments to support dry season farmers in the area with loans and modern farm inputs to encourage them to cultivate more land.
Also speaking, the leader of the farmers, Sarkin Noma Ahmadu Ibrahim Adangara, said farmers in the local government solely depended on dry season farming to sustain themselves.
He said 85 per cent of farmers in the area now engaged in dry season farming because of the flood that always wreaked havoc every rainy season.
He said although they have been realising bumper harvest every year, they could do more with support from all tiers of government.
“Our major constraints are lack of government support, either through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ scheme or from the state government. We also lack modem farming implements, especially tractors as our farmers are still using local method,” he said.
He called for the provision of modern farming implements and inputs, including fertiliser to boost farm harvest.
The Ohimegye of Igu-Kotonkarfe kingdom in Kogi State, Alhaji Abdulrazak Isah Koto, also appealed for more support to the farmers.
He said he was confident they could do more if adequately supported.