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Irrigation: Katsina farmers shift from tomato to wheat, cabbage, potato

High cost of fertilizer, pesticides and other inputs has made dry season farmers in Katsina State to shift from tomato production to that of wheat,…

High cost of fertilizer, pesticides and other inputs has made dry season farmers in Katsina State to shift from tomato production to that of wheat, cabbage or Irish potato; Daily Trust on Sunday reports.

Mairuwa, Tafoki and Dantankari villages in Faskari and Dandume LGAs were over the years producing tomatoes in commercial quantity.

Similarly, Danja and Bakori local government areas produce assorted crops including tomato.

Some of the farmers interviewed lamented that the high cost of living has affected every facet of their lives, including tomato production.

Malam Lawal Isah Mairuwa said there was likelihood of high cost of tomato in the state this year as the volume of its production was significantly reduced.

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“As far as tomato and other vegetables are concerned, we consume what we produce here, and this year many of us have opted for the production of wheat, cabbage Irish potato or onion due to the high cost of fertilizer, other inputs and petrol. The target is to minimize the cost of production.

Lawal Isah added that tomato though yields more profit to the farmers, demands more capital and attention in its production.

“It requires regular watering at least weekly at its early stage and every four days when it started bearing fruits; therefore, the budget for fuel for pumping water in its four months life span is huge as we now buy a litre of petrol at N310. A bag of Urea fertilizer is now N24,000, that of NPK is between N19,000 to N28,000 depending on its formula composition. The price of pesticides has doubled, and the least you can buy a water pump machine now is N65,000 instead of N25,000 it was sold three years ago,” Said Lawal Isah.

Another farmer from Bakori, Muhammadu Sani, said last year’s wheat production supported by CBN paved way for many farmers to venture into its production, especially because it requires less fertilizer and pesticide compared to tomato.

“Last year, many farmers made fortunes from wheat production when they sold a bag for N36,000. This propelled some of us to tilt towards its production this year. The volume of Irish potato production has increased this year despite the high cost of its seed; we also planted cabbage and onion.”

Sani added that with the help of Bakori irrigation dam, wheat production in the area has been in place for years. Danja LGA specializes in tomato production for decades.

“Danja is well known for tomato production, despite all odds they produce it in commercial quantity; they invested so much in the business to the extent that no challenge can easily stop them.”

Mu’azu Aliyu Tandama, a tomato farmer in Danja LGA, said to mitigate the challenges tomato farmers are facing, government needs to intervene with support.

“We wonder why government does not design any support for tomato farmers; we suffer a lot on high cost of inputs and pest attacks which eventually leads to loss of capital by many of us. Fertilizer, pesticides and seeds should be provided for farmers at subsidized rates.”

Mu’azu Aliyu also called on farmers to imbibe financial prudence in farming activities and their family lives.”


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