Farmers in Kwara State are lamenting the low rainfall that has trailed the ongoing planting season.
Some of the farmers, it was learnt, embarked on early planting season despite warnings from meteorologists against this.
Crops that have been mostly affected include groundnuts, maize and yam.
Speaking on the issue, one of the farmers and the Kwara State chairman of the Groundnut Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Paul Tsowa, said the situation portended danger for some farmers in the state, especially those who are into maize, groundnut and yam.
“When the season doesn’t get to proper completion it will affect the crops adversely, which will reduce our production for the year.
“Many farmers have late planting, and we are envisaging low harvest and hunger, except food crops like cassava, melon and others, which will do very well on the contrary because they don’t need much rain.
“For rice, however, the timing is very well in order as this is a very good time to plant because the rain commences around August, and it will be okay if it gets to October.
“We had been warned on this, so we have been envisaging this problem. Initially, we were made to tell farmers that they should not go on earlier planting this year because we may have a rain problem. But I think there is the need for our people to always prioritise access to information. he said.
Also, the executive director, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), Mr Abdurrahman Akindele Ayuba, whose organisation works with farmers in the state, said government must look at the issue of security, in addition to the low rainfall, judging from their experience with farmers.
“The major issue now is that there is no rain, especially in the Kwara north axis like Kaiama.
“We have less than three months for the rains to stop, but the situation is that of worry and concern. We are already envisaging hunger and drought, and that is why we have always emphasised in our recommendations to the government that we should not depend on rain farming alone. There is the need to also help with the irrigation system.
“Another major issue is access to fertiliser because the cost is high and getting quality ones is not easy. That is why we are promoting and emphasising organic farming to solve the problem of fertiliser. We don’t want farmers to depend on synthetic fertiliser again but to get poultry waste and dung. Organic farming should come to the rescue in this area,” he added.
He said government had purchased tractors but they were not enough to go round the farmers, adding, “There is the need for more.”
On the issue of security, he said the Kainji Lake Game Reserve from Niger State, which extends to Kaiama in Kwara State, had attracted foreign bandits and kidnappers who have been terrorising farmers in the area.
“The security of that place is very paramount for the farmers to be free to visit their farms,” he added.