Farmers in Kaduna State have harvested a total of 723,971.56 metric tons of Ginger in the 2017 cropping season, a check by The Tide source reveals.
Our source reports that Ginger is being produced in Kachia, Jemaa, Zangon Kataf, Zonkwa, Kagarako, Jaba, Kaura, Kajuru, Sanga, and Lere Local Government Areas of the state.
Ginger is used largely for industrial and private consumption across the globe.
Mr Reuben Sonkob, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Evaluation at the State Agricultural Development Agency (KADA) said in Kaduna that the figure was realised in spite of the challenges farmers faced during the season.
“Our records for 2017 showed that Ginger farmers harvested 723,971.56 tons of the crop in 2017 in spite of various challenges the farmers faced in the course of cultivating the crop,” Sonkob said.
The state Chairman, Ginger Farmers Association, Mr Nuhu Najira, said apart from the 9,560 members of the association, other farmers were also engaged in the production of the commodity.
He however said that lack of credit facility and poor financing from government and the private sector had limited the scope of cultivation of ginger in the state.
According to him, commercial banks are not willing to lend to farmers at single digit interest rate while the Federal Government Anchor Borrowers program had not approved the more than 5,000 applications it received from ginger farmers during the season.
“Commercial banks are asking for 28 per cent interest rate for farmers to access credit facility from them.
“We had negotiated to reach up to 12 per cent interest but the banks declined and insisted on 28 per cent,” the chairman said.
He also identified lack of modern inputs and facilities to accelerate farming such as quality seeds, tractors, fertilizer and chemicals from the state government as other impediments limiting ginger cultivation in the state.
Najira added: “The last time we received these inputs was in 2014 and since then, we go through all the processes individually and as an association, but to no avail.
“Again, after production we face another set of challenges of poor pricing and so much interference by middlemen.
“This has led to the fall in the prices of the commodity both at local and the international market.
“In 2017, the prices of the commodity dropped to as low as N8, 000 from N17, 000 per bag in the local market and similar drop was recorded in the international markets.
“This happened at a time when farmers spent as much as between N900, 000 and N1.2 million as cost of production per hectare.”
The chairman also noted that the farmers require modern storage facilities for their produce to maintain quality so as to attract good price at the international market.
He explained that local storage of the commodity had resulted in losses to farmers due to exposure to different kinds of contaminations which reduced the quality and standard required for export.
However, Mr Francis Danfulle, Deputy Director, Agric Extension Services at KADA, explained that ginger farmers did not access funding support through the Anchor Borrower Programme due to the refusal of farmers that benefited from the facility to pay back loans granted them in 2016.
According to him, more than 30, 000 farmers applied for Anchor Borrowers credit facility when it was introduced in 2016 and 11, 000 of them cultivating other crops were unable to pay back the loan granted them.
He explained that it was a revolving loan, which would only be granted to those in need when previous beneficiaries paid up.
On access to fertiliser, Danfulle said the state government only facilitated the supply of the commodity by private companies who sale at government approved price of N5, 500 per bag.
He said that the same policy applied to other farming inputs.
The official stressed that in spite of the hitches, Kaduna state remains the highest producer of ginger in the country.
The deputy director said with the support of extension workers, farmers now harvest 20 tonnes per hectare, but said the ginger farmers still need to adhere strictly to international rules of drying and storage in order to reap maximum benefit.
“Most farmers prefer to manage their crops by themselves, instead of following the guidelines from the extension service workers,” he noted.
Ginger is being grown in the southern part of Kaduna state for domestic use for ages while commercial production began around 1927.
Available records showed that by 1966 Nigeria had become the second largest world exporter of ginger after China.
However, exports fell due to the Nigerian civil war, unattractive prices and poor support from government, and since then Nigeria’s production was overtaken by India and China.
NAN gathered that out of the figure being cultivated in the country, 10 per cent is reported to be locally consumed as fresh ginger while 90 per cent is dried primarily for export.
Nigeria is the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India, and the Nigerian ginger is well known and on high demand across the globe.
A large percentage of the commodity is exported to China, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France, United States of America, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Sudan and Ghana, among others.
IITA Develops New Potato Variety
Empowering, Novel, Agri-Business Led, Employment, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (ENABLE TAAT) has recently developed Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) species to tackle malnutrition and reduce diabetes in Africa.
The ENABLE TAAT Field Trainer of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Mr Murtalab Adedamola, made this known in Ibadan yesterday.
He said that the development of the potato species was one of the plans of IITA, aimed at combating malnutrition and attaining food security in Africa. Adedamola said that OFSP was different from the Irish potato, adding that it contained a lot of water, Vitamin A, high carotene and low level of sugar. “It has two varieties – King J and Mothers’ Delight, and it can be used for baking cake, snacks and bread.
“It is stress-free, its cultivation cycle is within three months; it is not a tuber but a root and it does not go deep into the soil like cassava.
“The growth continues even after harvesting, it is good for children and diabetic patients because of its low level of sugar. Farmers can plant a hectare with just 500kg. vines of OFSP, which multiplies.
“They should cut the vines together, bundle them together, weigh them and then plant them. Farmers can plant at a depth of 20 or 25 cm and at an angle of 45 degrees because the spacing can determine the yield,” he said. Adedamola advised farmers to always apply MPK fertiliser to the crop after two weeks of planting, as the exercise would go a long way to improve the yield if the crop had access to water. The field trainer said that the maintenance of an OFSP farm would not require much weeding, adding that the soil would crack while its flowers would shoot out to signal the appropriate time for harvesting. He, however, warned that the King J variety of OFSP was better grown in the northern parts of the country, while the cultivation of the Mothers’ Delight type would thrive in the South.
“In Cameroon, we have four varieties of OFSP and in Cote d’Ivoire, there are six varieties. Farmers are planting it already but the produce lacks market because people are not aware of its numerous benefits. “When people learn about its benefits, they will start patronising the farmers well; we will definitely have more varieties of it in Nigeria because it is a crop that can transform the livelihood of potato farmers perfectly,’’ he added.
Assembly Approves N1.5bn Agric Loan
The Niger State House of Assembly has passed a resolution granting approval to the state government to access a N1.5bn facility for the implementation of the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
The House passed the resolution yesterday following the presentation of the report of Joint Committees on Finance and Agriculture.
Presenting the report, Chairman of the Joint Committee, Alhaji Abdullahi Mammagi, said it interfaced with relevant stakeholders to ascertain the justification for the request made.
Mammagi noted that the facility was being offered at an interest rate of nine per cent per annum and 60 months repayment period by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“From the interface held, the committee found that the Federal Government had offered a window of facility to states to support implementation of AADS in states.
“The CBN, through Zenith Bank has offered to provide the of N1.5bn. The facility is offered for a period of 60 months, at an interest rate of nine per cent per annum.
“This is deemed to be highly competitive in terms of what obtains in the banking industry.
“Niger State has keyed into the programme as its implementation would stimulate and support socio-economic development in the state,” he added.
According to him, the repayment cost was manageable, adding that it would not be too much burden on the monthly cash flow of the state.
Similarly, the House commenced debate on the 2019 budget by the governor.
NGO Urges FG To Increase Agric Financing
The Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative (FBIN), an NGO, has appealed to the Federal Government to increase its funding on agriculture, especially for women and youth farmers to increase their yields.
The Founder of the initiative, Mrs Nkiruka Nnaemego, made the call on Monday in Abuja at the Yfarm National Colloquium on Attracting Public Financing in Sustainable Agriculture for Youth and Women Small Scale Farmers.
Nnaemego said that the Nigerian government had committed to the 2014 Malabo Principles of ensuring increase in public funding to at least 10 per cent of the national budget to the agricultural sector.
According to her, this will enable the countries effectively implement their programmes to reduce hunger and increase productivity among in Africa.
She said that this commitment had not been achieved and it was affecting the productivity of small scale farmers, who consisted of about 70 per cent of the country’s farming population.
“This colloquium provides a unique platform for stakeholders in agriculture to brainstorm on innovative models and approaches for attracting public financing and government involvement in agriculture.
“From the Malabo declaration, which African Heads of State agreed to commit 10 per cent of their countries’ budgets to agriculture, it is unfortunately that Nigeria is still below three per cent.
“Agriculture is the way to go now since the country is looking for other options aside oil. We need to increase finance in agriculture.
“Although the Federal Government is trying, but it should try harder,” she said.
She explained that Yfarm project’s goal was to promote a youth/women-led agribusiness society by reducing poverty, thereby increasing active youth/women participation in sustainable agriculture by 2020.
She said that Yfarm Project had been at the forefront of policy advocacy, media engagement, capacity building and mentoring of rural and vulnerable youth/women in some parts of Africa.
“We celebrate outstanding youths and women, provide access to markets and business networking through our National and African Youth Agric Festivals and Concerts,” she stated.
The Project Coordinator, Food and Agriculture, Actionaid Nigeria, Mr Azubike Nwokoye appealed to the Federal Government to create an enabling environment to attract private investment. He further urged government at all levels to do their parts by increasing public financing on agriculture across all areas with comparative advantages.
”That is a failure in its own already.”
Soni appealed to the government to make available inputs by January not in April and May when such inputs were not needed.
The Programme Officer, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Mr Alphonsus Onwuemeka said that agriculture was in the concurrent list and urged the state governments to play their parts to lessen the burden on the Federal Government.
He acknowledged the Federal Government’s support to agriculture and urged women to take advantage of the gender unit created by government at the Ministry of Agriculture to handle women challenges.
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