Some farmers in the North-East have called for early distribution of farm inputs for the commencement of dry season activities.
This, they said, is to mitigate the effects of the dry spell recorded during the 2021 cropping season in parts of the region.
Thousands of hectares of farmlands became wilted due to the prolonged dry spell in Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Jigawa States.
Some of the produce worst hit include rice, beans, cowpea, maize, sorghum and groundnut.
However, farmers in Borno were hopeful of a bumper harvest sequel to the restoration of peace and resettlement of farming communities who cultivated their farmlands for the first time in the past decade.
A cross-section of farmers who spoke with NAN said that early distribution of fertiliser and inputs at subsidised prices would encourage productivity and enhance food security.
A smallholder farmer in Gombi, Adamawa LG, Umar Usman, said that the shortage of rainfall had affected many farmers especially those that planted late.
Mr Usman said that rice and cowpea growers were worst hit by the early stoppage of rainfall, stressing that it was high time farmers embraced improved seeds to guard against such an unpleasant experience.
The chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, Usman Michika, advised farmers to prepare their lands for irrigation activities to enable them to recover their losses.
Mr Michika said that those who started clearing their farms on time for the dry season farming might get higher yields at harvest period.
He urged the state government to provide the inputs on time for farmers.
In his contribution, AFAN’s chairman in Yobe, Usman Ngari, said the dry spell resulted in the poor harvest in most parts of the state.
Mr Ngari listed the affected areas to include Damaturu, Tarmuwa, Geidam, Yunusari, Yusufari, Nguru, and Gashua.
“Usually, the rainy season begins in May/June and ends around October. Unfortunately, this year, it ended about three months ago when some farmers had just planted their crops.
“The situation is leading to poor harvest, with farmers who used to produce between 40 and 100 bags of grains now harvesting between five and 30 bags,” he said.
According to Mr Ngari, the trend exposes maize, sorghum and rice to hardship.
He called on the state and Federal Government to assist farmers with credit facilities and farm inputs to cushion the effects of hardship.
Similarly, AFAN’s chairman in Jigawa, Maiunguwa Jaga, said the dry spell affected bumper harvest in about 20 to 30 per cent of total cultivated lands in the state.
He, however, said the association had met with Governor Muhammed Badaru to discuss ways out and measures to be taken to minimize losses in future.
“We told the governor about an early yielding seed called ‘super sosa’ that grows and matures between 60 and 70 days. He even directed for the piloting or testing of this improved seed,” the chairman said.
According to him, the association will use the medium of radio to educate farmers on how to plant early to minimise losses at harvest.
Meanwhile, a Bauchi-based agronomist, Iliyasu Gital, has called on the government at all levels to invest more in irrigation agriculture as a means of boosting crop production in the country.
Mr Gital said that investment in irrigation agriculture would eliminate most of the challenges being faced by farmers.
An expert, Abdu Malala, who corroborated the earlier option, urged farmers to adopt climate-smart agriculture by basing their production in line with weather information and use of early maturing varieties of crops.
“Once rainfall is predicted for a particular area, farmers should plan their production calendar based on the prediction,” Mr Malala said.
Programme Manager of the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme, Jafaru Ilelah, also expressed the need for farmers to embrace irrigation farming.
Mr Ilelah cautioned farmers against hasty sales of produce at harvest, saying they should preserve it to feed their families.
According to him, the agency is sensitising farmers on the need to engage in dry season activities.
Meanwhile, farmers in Borno have expressed joy over peaceful farming activities across the state, describing this year’s cropping season as far better than previous years.
Also, commenting on the good harvest, Governor Babagana Zulum, said the return of peace in many areas led to the expansion of farming activities in many parts of the state.
“This year, areas under cultivation in Borno have increased by over 600 per cent,” Mr Zulum said.
Another farmer, Bukar Mustafa, said that grain prices crashed in the markets because of the improvement in supply occasioned by higher yields recorded by farmers.
“A measure of beans sold for N550 as against its old price of N1,000,” Mr Mustafa said.
However, prices of grain have gone up in Yola, Adamawa by about 30 per cent since the commencement of harvest.
Muhammad Nazir, a grains dealer at Jimeta Market in Yola, attributed the hike to the increase in the demand for food in the area.
A bag of paddy rice was sold at N17,000 against its old price of N14,000.
A medium-sized bag of maize was sold between N15,000 and N16,000 depending on its quality, while a measure was N350 as against N270 before the harvest.
A measure of beans cost N1,200 as against the old price of N800.
2021 Nigeria Polo: Lintex win President’s Cup
Lintex emerged winners of the President’s Cup at the 2021 Nigeria National Polo Tournament after thrashing Keffi Ponys 9-3.
The final of the high-goal, five-chukka game was a one-sided affair from start to finish.
Bashir Bashir, undoubtedly the most valuable player of the game, banged in a total of five goals, with Abdulmalik Badamasi grabbing a brace of his own.
Isa Kwame and Captain Jamilu Mohammed scored a goal each to complete the rout for Lintex.
“This makes me feel great that all our efforts and training as a team paid off. It was all about teamwork, coordination and determination. We look forward to putting more work in the next edition of the tournament to ensure that we successfully defend our title,” Lintex captain Mohammed said.
Keffi Ponys managed to score three consolation goals through Ahmed Wadada, Aliyu Tijjani and Argentine’s Fernando Munaz to cap a miserable night for the Keffi-based side.
In other matches, also played on Sunday, Dokaji Farms walloped Malcomines of Jos 11-1 to lift the Legislative Shield, while the Nigerian Army defeated BUA/Nasriya 4-2 to emerge winners of the Unity Cup.
Also, Haske & Williams defeated Sikka Spa by 7-5 and a half goals to win FCT Minister’s Cup, while Wu Bassey Barracks defeated Niger Barracks 5-4 to win the COAS Cup.
ASI edged Alhusuna 6-5 to win the Guards Challenge trophy.
The tournament, which galloped off on November 20, ended on Saturday at the Guards Polo Club – Nigeria Polo Resort, Asokoro.
Bayelsa: Sea pirates attack oil fields, kill, abduct workers
Suspected to be sea pirates attacked two oil installations, killing three and abducting seven oil workers in Bayelsa on Sunday.
The pirates ambushed their unsuspecting victims in Okoroma and Ogbokiri-Akassa communities of Nembe and Brass Local Government areas of Bayelsa, NAN learnt.
Sources close to the affected oilfields said the gunmen reportedly shot dead two staff of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The driver of their boat, an indigene of Okoroma community, is still missing, according to the local sources who witnessed the incident and narrated the same to a NAN correspondent.
According to the sources, in the ambush that occurred at Ogbokiri-Akassa in Brass Local Government area, six oil workers allegedly doing maintenance job close to their platform were kidnapped and whisked away.
It was further gathered that the Agip oil workers and their security personnel came under attack at about 6:00 a.m. while working close to a manifold in the deep swamp.
Spokesman of the NSCDC, Bayelsa command, Ogbere Solomon, confirmed the incident on Sunday evening.
Mr Solomon said one personnel of the command died in the ambush, while two others who were missing have been found and are currently receiving treatment at a medical facility in Yenagoa.
“Yes, our officers were ambushed and attacked by some unknown pirates while on their lawful duty of providing protection to some Agip oil workers close to Obama manifold in Okoroma community of Nembe Local Government.
“One personnel was killed while the other two that were missing have been found and are responding to treatment,” he said.
Tarinyu Joseph, the Youth President of the Okoroma clan, said indigenes of the area recovered the corpses of those killed.
He added that those injured were taken to the hospital while the boat driver, identified as his brother, is still missing.
Imported ‘Loud’ intercepted on Lagos waterways
NDLEA has seized 12,385 kilogrammes of “Loud’’ Indian hemp smuggled into Lagos from a neighbouring country through the waterways.
The spokesperson for NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, on Sunday described the drug as a strong variant of Indian hemp.
Mr Babafemi said that 12,385 pellets of the “Loud’’ Indian hemp were brought in through the Atlantic Ocean and ferried in boats to the Eko Atlantic Beach, Victoria Island.
The Indian hemp would have been distributed from the beach to drugs hotspots such as Lagos Island, Peti Alagba and others across Lagos and other states, he added.
He stated also that more than 50 narcotic officers stormed the beach on Saturday, November 27 and recovered the consignments along with two trucks and arrested three suspects.
Those arrested are Abdulkadri Zakari, 24; Ka’abu Sausu, 45 and Lawrence Adie, 27.
In another development, a 70-year-old woman, Beatrice Aigbedion, was among the suspects arrested at Irrua, Edo in connection with the seizure of more than 5,000 kilogrammes of assorted illicit drugs.
“After days of surveillance, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, November 24 stormed a warehouse at Uhiere, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo, where they recovered 4,261.5 kilogrammes of Indian hemp and arrested a suspect, Ikong Stanley.
“On Tuesday, November 23, 1,240 kilogrammes of Indian hemp was also seized at a warehouse in Uzebba, in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo.
“At the point of her arrest last Wednesday, Ms Aigbedion was caught with different quantities of Codeine cough syrup, Swinol and Rohypnol.
“Another dealer, Joseph Onyemaechi, 50, was also nabbed at Ikpoba Okha, Upper Sakpoba, Benin City, on Friday with different types of psychotropic substances weighing 2.055 kilogrammes,” Mr Babafemi stated.
Similarly, Gabriel Akioya and Isa Salihu were arrested on Thursday, November 25 at Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo with various quantities of Codeine, Tramadol, Swinol and Rohypnol.
Mr Babafemi stated that operatives raided Hampton Towers and Spa Hotel, Okpanam Road, Asaba, where Dobedient Etumudor and Thompson Chukwuemeka were arrested with different quantities of psychoactive substances.
He added that another drug dealer, Emeka Ben, was nabbed with 4.7 grammes of Methamphetamine on Asaba-Ibusa Road in Delta.
“Other suspects arrested on Thursday, November 25 in the state for dealing in Meth, Indian hemp, cocaine, and heroin were Ifeanyi Odibe, Uche Onwurah, and Justice Obika.
“In Kano, a drug dealer, Alhaji Bukar Malan Abdu, was arrested and 143 kilogrammes of Indian hemp recovered from him while 466 kilogrammes of the same drug was seized in the home of one Bashir Shuaibu, an indigene of Edo resident in Kano.
“On Thursday, November 25, a drug dealer in Maiduguri, Chima Obi, was arrested in a follow-up operation.
“The follow-up operation took place after the seizure of his drug consignment of 73.2 kilogrammes of codeine at an NDLEA checkpoint in Postiskum, Yobe, on the same day,” Mr Babafemi said.
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