Unexpected rainfall recorded last Tuesday has posed a serious threat to irrigation farmers in Katsina State, particularly wheat farmers.
The rainfall which started from 2.15am lasted for about seven hours; a development that was unprecedented in recent years.
Wheat farmers who were gearing for a bumper harvest have been seriously affected by the rain as the crop prefers cold dry weather all through its life span.
Nura Garba, an irrigation farmer in Faskari LGA, said whenever it is wet season, wheat harvest suffer a setback.
“Cold season is the best for wheat production, hot season affects the quality of the grain. During the harvest, wet season dampens the wheat cobs, making it difficult to be thrashed. The cost of labour in this kind of situation is high as the labourers suffer a lot in thrashing out the grains.”
Garba added that Tuesday’s rainfall and hot temperature will affect the yield of their crop yet to be harvested.
Irish potato farmers too who targeted the fasting period to harvest the produce were in serious dilemma as Tuesday’s rainfall may affect their plan.
Umar Ibrahim, a potato farmer, said the rainfall can lead their crop to germinate in the soil.
“Some of us have since halted watering our potato because we were reserving it for the Ramadan period; what we are now afraid of is the likelihood of the produce germinating before harvesting due to last Tuesday’s rainfall,” said Umar Ibrahim.
He added that out of fear, some of them have harvested their produce and sold it at the prevailing market price.
“Sometimes, in spite of the market demand of the produce, when the potato merchants realize that farmers harvested in panic, they buy it at a low market price. Farmers are always being exploited, especially in an unfortunate situation like this one,” he said.
A long-term irrigation farmer in Danja LGA, Malam Magaji Kokami, said even tomato producers were affected by the rain.
“If your tomato is ripe, the long rainfall will damage a large part of it hence, we have to be picking it in droves to minimize the waste because the produce is partially scarce in the market. Its price is not affected by the effect of the rainfall,” he said.
Kokami added that the rainfall is only advantageous to the third batch tomato farmers as rivers and other water bodies were filled up.
“Water levels in rivers and small dams have increased to the advantage of third batch tomato farmers. Wet season farmers should also get prepared as soon as possible considering the glaring indicators of wet season setting in.