With Kehinde Oluwatayo
The Project Manager, Agro climatological Project, Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Sunday Akintomide has called on Nigerians to embrace gardening otherwise known as backyard farming to boost food production in the country.
Speaking in an interview with the The Hope in his office Akintomide said the practice was being done in the past but was abandoned when oil money came to the country.
Akintomide who said Nigerians need to look inward and think of what can be done to cushion the effect of inflation in the country stressed that backyard farming will reduce money spent on food.
According to him, food crops like vegetables, tomatoes, okro, maize, yam, cocoyam, cassava can be planted in the backyard but farmers must ensure domestic animals do not have access to it.
. He said backyard farming can be practised throughout the year provided there is water to wet it at least twice in a day.
“Apart from planting, you can have your poultry, you can have your concrete pond, you can rear your goat and so on. When you have this, you spend less money on food and you can even sell and make money from it depending on the size”, he said.
Speaking on what farmers should do as the dry season sets in, Akintomide advised them to clean their farm boundaries so that if there is fire outbreak around, it will prevent it from entry their farm.
“Thank God the dry season is here again. Farmers should do their boundary cleaning now so that if there is fire outbreak around, it will not enter their farm. They should also clean their own farm because if there is no dry grass and there is fire, it will just die away.
“So they should start to clean the boundaries of their farms and clean their farms to prevent fire”,he emphasized.
He equally charged them to prepare for dry season farming particularly farmers who have farms in river area.
According to him, dry season planting starts in November adding that farmers who are yet to clear their land should do so and be ready for planting.
Akintomide who said the main factor in dry season farming is water said there must be enough water to sustain the crop adding that irrigation is the alternative to rainfall.
“Irrigation comes in three ways. You can have your well, you can have your borehole and you can do water harvesting whereby you save water in a cemented pool during rainy season to be used during the dry season”, he said.
While saying dry season farming is more profitable because of lower supply and higher demand, Akintomide charged dry season farmers to expand their scope this season.
He charged farmers to harvest their remaining yam, cocoyam and the one year cassava before the ground becomes too hard.