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Yobe villages where people do brisk businesses in water melon

Matti/Umrari and Kankare are two road side villages located along Bayamari and Gashua road in Bursari Local Government Area of Yobe State where people made…

Matti/Umrari and Kankare are two road side villages located along Bayamari and Gashua road in Bursari Local Government Area of Yobe State where people made fortunes in water melon business.

For a long time, residents indicated that the twin villages became haven for water melon farming to many people across different states of Nigeria.

The villages were full of activities when water melon harvesting starts at the end of the rainy season.

During the water melon season, motorists travelled at lower speed along the road due to congestion caused by traders and trucks used in transporting the commodity to other parts of the country.

Hundreds of farmers, water melon buyers and sellers, food vendors, sachet water sellers, casual labourers and drivers have made brisk businesses during the period.

Inusa Bayelsa supplied water melon from the villages to other states including Cross River, Abia, Anambra Enugu, and Lagos among others.

Bayelsa said, “I have been here in the business for about 16 years because of the fortunes I am making from it.

“Previously I was into carrot business but I found water melon more profitable.

“I feel contented in what I am doing because I am capable of taking care of my family; their health, education and currently an employer of labour to many youths of this location.

“We buy from natives and farmers who mostly relocated here from other states purposely for water melon farming; we have farmers who come from Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa and Kano states.”

He said at a basket which contained 100 water melons was sold for between N14, 000 and N16, 000 to suppliers and retailers; the price had increased to N 21,000 because the harvest was affected by  frequent heavy rains.

He said water melon value chain involved local farmers, labourers, middlemen, suppliers and drivers.

He said depending on the distance of a location, transport fee per truck was N600, 000 to Calabar and N450, 000 to Onitsha.

Alhaji Isa Malami, a farmer, said water melon farming was thriving in Matti, Kankare, Bayamari, and Sabon Gari communities and that many residents depended on it as their source of income.

“People live in peace and harmony here because they work on melon farms to earn a living,” he said.

However, he stated that for the business to prosper during the dry season, there was the need for government to construct dams for irrigation.

“It would also serve as a source of revenue to government,” he said.

Malami said farmers do not have adequate capital and that fertilizer was difficult to get because “it was labeled as a prohibited item.”

He called for security beef-up around Bayamari-Gashua axis as armed robbers posed threats to truck drivers.

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