Until recently, growing pumpkin was regarded as a side project that needed little or no work.
Pumpkin farming has never been as popular in Kano State as it is now. It was a supplementary activity that helped many farmers in the state to make more money for themselves and their families. However, a recent development has indicated that pumpkin production has become attractive, opening the eyes of many farmers as it has been transformed into a money-spinning venture.
A farmer in Takai Local Government Area of the state, Alhaji Garba Adam, revealed that pumpkin production wasn’t something he took as worth doing until he figured out that there had been a huge increase in the rate at which people demand for the vegetable.
Adam said he started by putting aside a portion of his farmland for pumpkin production, adding that it was after that trial that he decided to venture into it completely.
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“I used to plant pumpkin for my personal use within my maize farm, but I later realised that I could make a huge amount of money from it because the demand for pumpkin began to go high. I tried it by setting aside a portion of my farmland, and what I got from that portion was really impressive and I decided to spare that land for pumpkin only. It will interest you to note that pumpkin now gives me more income than maize,” he said.
Another farmer, Musa Zangina, said pumpkin was like a hidden treasure that only the lucky ones could discover. He explained that the major issue affecting the growth recorded in pumpkin production is storage facilities.
“Pumpkin farmers are now smiling, as well as merchants. The only problem is storage and lack of skills in handling the vegetable,” said Zangina.
A pumpkin merchant at Yankaba vegetable market in Kano, Alhjai Auwalu Aliyu, revealed that it is now a vegetable variety everywhere in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. He explained that the vegetable recently became a hot commodity as its demand increased daily.
According to him, the increase in the demand of the commodity is attributed to its nutritional value and medicinal values.
“It was discovered that an increase in the demand of pumpkin was as a result of its increase in usage by traditional medicine makers who specialised in making drugs for ulcer. It was revealed that they are using pumpkin seeds and peels in making their ulcer drugs, and people believe in its efficacy. Moreover, the recent revitalisation of its nutritional value has also contributed to the recorded increase in demand for the commodity,” he said.
He further said that during the heydays period of pumpkin production, no fewer than five trucks were loaded every day from the market to various places across the country and neighbouring countries, especially the Republic of Niger, Cameroun, among other places.
It was also gathered that states like Katsina, Zaria in Kaduna, parts of Zamfara, Sokoto and some major areas in Kano State are the major producers of pumpkin supplied to the market.
A small size of pumpkin now sells at N2,000, while a big size is between N3,500 and N5,000 each. The centre at the Yankaba vegetable market is now always busy with people trying to get the vegetable for either consumption or medicinal purposes.