How hike in Irish potato seeds affects Jos farmers | Dailytrust

How hike in Irish potato seeds affects Jos farmers

Some new Irish potatoes varieities
Some new Irish potatoes varieities

Farmers in Jos, the Plateau State capital, have been lamenting the hike in the price of Irish potato seedling, saying the situation is affecting them seriously. 

The state is the leading Irish potato producer in the country, and many framers engage in farming the crop, making considerable earnings over the years.

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But this year’s hike in the price of potato seedling has become a source of worry to the farmers, who said they may not be able to make good return or profit during harvest.

One of the farmers, Mrs. Atong James, said they were currently planting Irish potatoes on her farm, and that the seedling which was bought for N15,000 last year per bag is being sold for between N20,000 to N22,000 this year.

She said some farmers who used their established relationship with some sellers in Mangu Local Government Area to get it at a cheaper price ended up selling to others at increased price, since they were not sure of making considerable gain during harvest.

Atong said another problem they were facing in the potato planting is that the rains did not commence as early as expected, adding that despite the challenges she is still determined on farming it and hoping for the best at harvest time.

She explained that the good thing about Irish potato cultivation is that it is often cultivated twice a year (rainy season and dry season), and it is mostly from that of the dry season (which is often in November and harvest around March) that the seedling for the rainy season cultivation is derived. 

She said this was the first time the price of seedling has increased to this level in Jos, noting that the crop upon harvest will also increase and customers will buy at a higher rate.

Atong, however, assured that regardless of the hike in price of the seedling, “that of Plateau State will surely be less,” saying they gathered that seedlings in other states now sell for between N35,000 and N40,000.

Another farmer who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday said despite the increase, they cannot abandon potato farming because apart from being the only pride of Plateau, they still possess the highest marketable species of the crop in the country. 

Although they face challenges like the potato disease called blight, but they usually record bountiful harvest on potato cultivation. 

He further explained that there were about five species of Irish on the Plateau, and that a bag planted can produce between seven to 10 bags depending on the specie.

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