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Pests ravage dry season farms in Bauchi

An unknown pest has destroyed many vegetables farms in Bara, Kirfi LGA and some parts of Tafawa Balewa LGA all in Bauchi State. According to…

An unknown pest has destroyed many vegetables farms in Bara, Kirfi LGA and some parts of Tafawa Balewa LGA all in Bauchi State.

According to farmers in Bara, the stubborn pests present different colours and started damaging many vegetables especially green and red pepper, adding that the pests began to damage other vegetables and crops like maize in their areas.

A farmer affected by the pests in Tashar Turmi, Kirfi LGA, Abubakar Ahmadu, told Daily Trust that the pests has defied all pesticides. “The problem started like a common disease attacking the plants after they have sprouted and about to start producing the fruits. The leaves will then begin to shrink and subsequently turn black and then dry off as if fire burnt the vegetation.”

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Ahmadu also said, “We later discovered that the problem was caused by unknown pests which present in different colours: some present white colours, others black and some greenish.

“The greenish ones eat the leaves and move down to the body of the plant and damage the fruits, while the black and white pests remain on the ground eating the roots of the plant and damage the entire crop.

“Some of the few fruits of the pepper which has grown before the infiltration of the pests are spared but now they have continued to ravage the entire vegetables farms.

“We are worried over the situation which posed a dangerous dimension of losing the entire farms because as I talking to you now, I have planted pepper in three different farms and all are affected by the pests. The most disturbing part of the problem is that the pests have already started encroaching on other vegetable and crop farms.

“The pests have already damaged the whole beans and watermelon I planted. The situation is now beyond the control of farmers; government should intervene urgently. We are pleading with the government to help us tackle the pests before they displace farmers from their business.

“There are many pesticides in the market but they are for long term control of such situation. They are not useful for our present predicament. So we are calling on the government, which has the capacity and technical know-how, to immediately wade in and address the challenges.”

Ahmadu added, “This is dry season farming which is our means of livelihood and the only business we rely on for a living. Diseases and pests have become the order of the day and farmers alone can’t tackle the challenges threatening the dry season farming.

“We are appealing to the authorities to intervene so that the situation can be effectively controlled and crop production resumes to help combat the food crisis in the country.

Another farmer who is also a victim of the pests in Bara, Haruna Yakubu of Tashar Turmi said, the pest invasion has thrown many farmers into a dilemma.

“We planted the pepper and it has grown to an almost mature stage but these pests have damaged the entire vegetables. We have devised many strategies to control the situation but have not been successful.

“The worrisome part of the problem is that we are just about to commence the harvest but the pests ravaged the farms and damaged everything like fire. The leaves become dark and dry as if they were burnt.

“We are helpless because all our efforts have not yielded any positive results and the pesticides used to control pests have not been effective. We are appealing to the state government to come to our aid by investigating the pests and proffering solutions to the problems. Almost all our vegetables and crops planted for the dry season, including maize, are affected by the pests.”

Another victim and farmer in Bara, Danazumi A.  Abdullahi, told Daily Trust that the “pests have thrown the entire farmers into confusion and uncertainty. The pests started destroying the pepper farms but they are now spread to all the crops and vegetables.

“Nothing is spared by the pests and we have exhausted our efforts to control them without success. The matter has been reported to the local authorities but I don’t know if the report has reached the appropriate places.

“We are appealing to the government to intervene on this issue of these pests because the challenge is threatening the entire dry season farming not only in Bara but all the farmers in the state.

Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture, through its Information Officer, Hashimu Umar, in a phone interview said the matter was not reported to the ministry. “The ministry did not receive any information about the outbreak of unknown pests from the farmers in the state,” he said.

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