By Kehinde Oluwatayo
Farmers in Iju – Ifedapo cluster group of the Akure North Local Government have attributed the high yield in their farm produce to training and other supports received from FADAMA.
The farmers under the aegis of the FADAMA lll Additional Financing spoke through their Coordinator, Mr Obafemi Omotayo who said the farmers began the harvest of the 20hectares cassava farm three weeks ago.
Describing the yield as very high, Omotayo attributed the bumper harvest to training and other supports received from FADAMA.
He explained that the farmers made the land available with little financial contribution while FADAMA brought tractor and prepared the ground for them, gave them stem and fertilizer and trained them on spacing and how to apply fertilizer which he said resulted in bumper harvest.
Omotayo who could not ascertain the exact tonnes per hectare realised from the farm said the tubers are big making people around them to buy the stem from them.
While saying both the tubers and the stem are bringing in money, Omotayo noted that they decided to make their own produce affordable because the focus of FADAMA is to make food available to all.
According to him, Iju-Ifedapo cluster group comprises of four groups including Oloruntobi, Oluwaseun, Temidire and Agbelere.
He added that the group has 40hectares but only cultivated 20hectares in the first phase and will cultivate the remaining in the second phase which is the next season.
Omotayo who said the group has cordial relationship with the Fulani herdsmen around the farm said the cattle did not come to the farm before harvest but now come to the area they have harvested to eat the remnant. He added that they defecate as they eat which he described as manure.
The farm manager who is also one of the farmers, Mr Obafemi Emmanuel said youths who were engaged to work during planting and weeding were paid based on the number of hectares worked on.
“I monitor the farmers and the youths we engaged were paid according to the the number of hectares they worked on. We have more than enough to sell to companies” he said.
Also speaking, Pastor Blessing Ujoh who was on ground to buy tubers said his involvement in the value chain is more of processing.
“I process into starch and garri from this particular variety and people come to buy our products from Lagos. People are in the factory waiting for us,” he stressed.
The Supervisor of the group from FADAMA, Mrs Taiwo Owa commended the group and described them as very cooperative.
According to her, they followed the instructions given to them especially in the area of spacing.
“The group has a focus from the beginning, firstly they picked a very good land and listened to the instructions given to them on spacing. And when they were told to apply fertilizer, they did unlike some other farmers” she said.
Mrs Owa who noted that they do not have the problem of marketing said “we considered the marketing of their produce before they planted. A company signed an MoU to buy 15hectares out of the 20hectares they cultivated and they planted the variety demanded for”.
She said the particular variety they planted has higher starch content adding that some varieties have higher flesh content.
She commended the state government for making fund available for the work.