By Fatima Muraina
Farmers in the country are lamenting over irregular rainfall inclement weather, which they said is threatening food security.Recent drought experienced in April, this year, according to the farmers, have destroyed many food crops planted, warning that this could lead to acute food shortage.
The farmers lamented that they have recorded huge loss on their investments, because of the prolonged dryness.
The chairman of Maize Association of Nigeria, Mr Kayode Akinrinade said those mostly affected are the commercial maize farmers with hundreds of hectares of planted maize. They said the loss became huge because they do not have irrigation facilities on their farms.
He said the weather situation took them by surprise when rain suddenly ceazed to fall despite the forecast that there will be excessive rainfall, saying when the planted maize were getting to maturity level, the rain stopped. This he noted might hamper their capacity for bumper harvest.
According to him, irrigation is a capital intensive project which could not be done by an individual commercial farmer except government assist farmers.
He noted that farmers have stopped planting as he called for the development of irrigation facility like dams and the River Basin authority at Iju which will go a long way to improve production of food.
He also appealed to government to give farmers inputs, he added that policy makers should ensure implementation of friendly agricultural policies.
The state Chairman of Sunshine Vegetable Growers and Marketers Association, Mr Oluleye Akolade said some farmers have lost their investments to drought which he said is a major challenge.
Akolade expressed the need for farmers to study the rain pattern, observing that the year with excess rainfall is often followed by another year plagued with drought.
“If you look back into the recent trend, you would discover that any year with excess rainfall, there will be drought the next year, but thank God it is not a serious one we are experiencing now.”
He suggested the need to begin water harvesting where there is flood so that it could be used when scarcity comes.
He called for intervention by government to invest more in agriculture as done in the northern part of the country.
“Investment is still meagre in the South Western part of the country compared to the North. Unless there is a serious dialogue.
“In this area, rainfall, drought and flood are natural phenomenon which we do not have control over, but how do we work around these ones not to affect us in the area to look into unless farmers are proactive to use their little knowledge to tackle the challenges.
“A lot of people have lost their investments in farming,” he lamented.
Also, the Chairman of National Tomato Growers, Processors and Marketers of Nigeria (NATPAN), Mr Adeniyi Oluwalanu attributed the unpleasant weather conditions to the high cost of tomato in the market.
He stated that he has over 60,000 tomato seedlings ready for planting but that he is still considering the weather situation which is not favourable now.
While saying that irrigation is capital intensive for farmers, Oluwalanu urged government to provide farmers with more irrigationto tackle the drought.
“The weather condition has affected us drastically not only tomato farmers alone, but other agricultural produce.
Government should look drastically into the weather condition and see how they can help the farmers.
In the same vein, the Deputy Chairman of Sunshine Rice farmers Association, Mr Olayinka Labiran described the situation as terrible because rain is not falling the way it should.
” Those who planted maize sometimes ago have lost their investments, but we are hoping that by June ending there will be steady rain for farming activities.
To avoid any case of flooding this year, Labiran said that rice farmers have identified flood affected area and they have moved a bit away from there and that there are five variety that can withstands flooding for about two weeks though this depends on the flood itself.
Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Abayomi Monilari said farmers who experience loss in the cost of planting took the risk against the advise that they should not run to farm with the excessive rain earlier experienced.
He charged them to always listen to instructions and never rush to farming which maybe very dangerous.
He assured farmers’ commitment, saying that they are ready for production to ensure meeting the target of food sufficiency.
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