Farmers in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, are now faced with acute scarcity of cassava stems for this year’s cultivation.
The scarcity is attributed by farmers to prolonged dry season, which resulted in the dearth of the stems.
Desperate farmers, in search of how to source the stems, now buy from the market at increased price.
A bundle of cassava stems which was formerly sold at N400 now goes for N1000 and above in the rural markets.
A cassava farmer in the area, Christiana Onyema, told The Tide at Eketa market, that the scarcity has become a serious source of concern to farmers.
“Ordinarily, when you don’t have stems to cultivate, you approach your neighbor to assist you, but today, because of the scarcity, such grace is not there any more. People prefer selling the stems in the local market because the price is high.
“What worsened the situation is that Etche experienced the first rain late, so those who planted their cassava early, hoping that rain will come, lost them as most of them died of the scourge”, she said.
Another farmer, Jonah Njoku, expressed fear that the situation might result in poor or low yield and late harvest.
Njoku, called on the Ministry of Agriculture to come to the aid of the farmers by providing them cassava stems at subsidised rate.