The outcome of the 2021 Nigerian farming season has indicated mixed fortunes for farmers in North – West states as some recorded bumper harvest, while others counted losses, a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has shown.
The survey, which covered Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina states, showed that whereas the rainfall was stable in some areas, it had either ceased earlier than expected, or resulted in flooding in other areas.
In Kaduna, Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, Malam Salisu Muhammad, said most farmers in the state were hopeful of recording good harvest in 2021.
Muhammad told NAN that that crops that produced well were maize, sorghum and beans, whereas rice yield was negatively affected by inadequate rainfall.
Another farmer in Kaduna, Balarabe Aliyu, also corroborated that irregular rainfall experienced during the year negatively affected crops.
“Apart from delayed commencement, the rain was irregular, as such the anticipated yield was not realised,” Aliyu said.
Mr Isah Mainu, Country Representative of Feminine Early Warning Systems Network, said low rainfall had generally affected yield in some parts of Nigeria during the 2021 wet season.
Mainu noted during a virtual symposium to commemorate the 2021 World Food Day, that crops affected were rice, maize, beans, sorghum and cowpea.
He listed some of the states affected to include Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano and Jigawa.
Mainu further said that conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, as well as the activities of bandits, affected production of crops, and triggered hike in prices of foodstuffs.
Alhaji Abubakar Usman-Adam, Chief Executive Officer of Silvex International, an agribusiness firm in Kano, advised farmers to engage in dry season farming, with a view to bridging the food deficit created by low rainfall during the season.
Usman-Adam said that on their part, the company had initiated “Climate-Smart Farm Estates” to bridge the gap in production.
According to him, the estates will be established in collaboration with Jigawa and Nasarawa state governments.
Usman-Adam said for the project, they intended to engage people from host communities with a view to reducing unemployment.
“They will be trained on the skills, given stipends and at the end of the day, share certain profit with them.
“We want to create a new generation of farmers, because, many believe that farming is not a business venture,” he said.
Usman-Adam said that, after the training, beneficiaries would go back to their communities and practise what they learnt.
Meanwhile, some farmers interviewed in Kano State over the 2021 inadequate rainfall, said the development had affected production of crops.
One of the farmers, Malam Yahuza Alhaji, said most of their crops dried up for lack of enough rainfall, adding that the rain “came late,” was not “regular”, and did not “last long”.
A female farmer in Kano, Mrs Uwani Abdu, said grains that needed much water suffered most, while crops that did not require much water, did fairly well in their area.
“Grains like rice, millet, sorghum and wheat have not actually done well, but maize and groundnut have done well in our farms.
“The main fear is that many farmers have sold their crops to dealers long before harvest, in anticipation of bumper harvest,” Abdu said.
She expressed fear that many farmers might encounter scarcity of food since they had sold out their grains.
Prof. Murtala Badamasi of the Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University, Kano, expressed the need for farmers to commence irrigation farming to mitigate the effect of the anticipated poor harvest.
Hussaini Abba, a grains seller in Kano, says that a 100 – kilogramme bag of local rice is now sold for N39,000, as against its old price of N42,000.
Abba said the same bag for maize costs N19,000, as against previous price of N25,000, while that of millet is sold for N21,000, as against N25,000.
He says a bag of beans now costs N47,000, as against N48,000 few months ago, while that of sorghum, one of the crops affected by low rainfall, maintains its price of N25,000.
An integrated farmer in Katsina State, Alhaji Abba Muhammad, said inadequate rainfall recorded this year in the state, had dashed the hope of farmers for a bumper harvest.
Muhammad told NAN that the rainfall did not last long, pointing out that the situation had affected production.
“Here in Katsina, the rain ceased three months ago, and for sure, crops were affected; farmers in Katsina will hardly record bumper harvest this year,” he said.
Also, Chairman of AFAN in Ingawa Local Government Area of the state, Malam Ibrahim Suleiman, said the rainfall pattern had devastating effects on crops.
“Most of the crops this year did not give us good yield as a result of the inadequate rainfall,” Suleiman said.
However, in Kebbi, Alhaji Sahabi Augie, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Kebbi State chapter, said rice farmers in the state recorded good harvest in 2021.
“Many of our famers now smile to different banks, either to lodge or withdraw money, following this year’s bumper harvest.
“We had also experienced some challenges and difficulties at the beginning of the season due to flooding, but we later bounced back,” Augie said.
A middleman in Birnin – Kebbi Central Market, Alhaji Abubakar Sadeek, said prices of food items had gone down in the state due to good harvest in some parts of the country.
Also, in Sokoto State, farmers interviewed said they had recorded good harvests due to stable rainfall.
They said the abundance of food crops had led to stability in prices, explaining that further price crash was being anticipated as harvesting progressed.
However, Alhaji Ibrahim Salihu, Chairman of RIFAN, Sokoto State, said there were challenges in the state and other neighboring states, which affected rice yields.
“A major factor is the security situation that continues to affect the productivity of greater number of farmers, who had been forced to abandon their farmlands,” Salihu said.
Meanwhile, a lecturer at the Zamfara College of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Lamido Buhari, said irregular rainfall had affected output in the state during the present farming season.
Buhari told NAN that apart from the irregular rainfall patterns, insecurity equally had a negative effect on farming activities.
He explained that crops like rice, maize and other crops that relied on heavy and continuous rainfall for a period of time, were affected, and would not be available in abundance during harvest period.