Osin: Kwara’s com­mu­nity of dry sea­son farm­ing

Osin, a com­mu­nity in Kwara State, is a home of dry sea­son farm­ing. As soon as the rain van­ishes, the com­mu­nity be­comes bub­bling and be­gins to play host to farm­ers from var­i­ous parts of the state and be­yond. re­cently takes a tour of the com­mu­nity, which ha

Daily Trust - - FEATURE - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, Ilorin

The most vi­brant, surest and the most en­dur­ing path to Nigeria’s self sus­tain­abil­ity, ac­cord­ding to many econ­o­mists, re­mains agri­cul­ture be­cause of the in­trin­sic po­ten­tials of­fered by the sec­tor. Nigeria, with over 80 mil­lion hectares of arable land, ac­count­ing for about 23% of arable land across all of West Africa, it is cer­tain that the op­por­tu­ni­ties are abun­dantly lim­it­less.

With the right skills and where­withal de­ployed, agrobusi­ness is unar­guably the most prof­itable busi­ness ven­ture one could em­bark upon both dur­ing dry and rainy sea­son.

Though the com­mon­est pe­riod most farm­ers em­bark on plant­ing is dur­ing rainy sea­son, dry sea­son farm­ing is equally be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in Nigeria, es­pe­cially with the sup­port from the Lower Niger River Basin De­vel­op­ment Author­ity which as­sists farm­ers by way of con­struct­ing ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nels.

In Kwara, one of the renowned agrar­ian states of Nigeria, Daily Trust re­ports that many farm­ers have come to adopt dry sea­son farm­ing to boost their har­vests for the year. In fact, with the ex­is­tence of a dry sea­son farm­ing vil­lage of Osin, a com­mu­nity of about 30 kilo­me­tres away from Ilorin, the State cap­i­tal, lo­cated in Ilorin East Lo­cal Govern­ment Area of the state, this type of farm­ing has at­tained in­creased pop­u­lar­ity.

There is no hard and fast rule be­tween dry sea­son and rainy sea­son farm­ing ex­cept the pe­riod the farm­ing takes place. Gen­er­ally, farm­ers em­bark on cul­ti­va­tion dur­ing rainy sea­son when they are sure of the nat­u­ral rain­fall that would wet their farms and ease their bur­den; farm­ing in dry sea­son is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent ap­proach as the plan­ta­tion will have to be ir­ri­gated from time to time.

This type of farm­ing, ac­cord­ing to Mal­lam Nuhu Saidu, Sec­re­tary of the farm­ing com­mu­nity, is what is pop­u­lar in Osin vil­lage.

Speak­ing with our cor­re­spon­dent, Saidu said: “The truth about this place is that dry sea­son farm­ing thrives here. All thanks to the Niger River Basin De­vel­op­ment Author­ity which pro­vided us with dams.”

There are three dams lo­cated in the com­mu­nity which serve as sources of wa­ter for ir­ri­ga­tion farmer­ing in the area. Al­ready farm­ers from var­i­ous eth­nic groups, towns, com­mu­ni­ties and states have con­gre­gated in the com­mu­nity since last year as soon as the rainy sea­son dis­ap­peared.

The farm­ers re­side in var­i­ous huts and shacks built in the com­mu­nity with their fam­ily mem­bers. The place is like a melt­ing point for people of var­i­ous cul­tural back­grounds and tribes and they have co­hab­ited peace­fully and har­mo­niously over the years.

Farm­ers in Osin com­mu­nity have con­trib­uted to food pro­duc­tion by plant­ing cab­bage, let­tuce, tomato, maize, cu­cum­ber, rice, veg­eta­bles, and car­rot, Okra, among oth­ers.

One of the farm­ers, Umoru Has­san said he planted onions, toma­toes, Okra, sug­ar­cane, rice and maize on his three hectares of farm­land, adding that he sold a bag of Okra for N2, 500 or N3, 000 depend­ing on the bar­gain­ing power.

On his part, Dan Odi­jie said, “I spe­cialise in plant­ing food crops like Cas­sava, Maize and I also plant veg­eta­bles.”

Also, Sa­muel Faa­jir told our cor­re­spon­dent that he planted cu­cum­ber, pep­per, and toma­toes, say­ing, “I came to this area two years ago and I think I like it here. I made profit from my al­most two hectares of land and I plant all year round, I mean, dry and rainy sea­son.”

On the chal­lenges be­ing faced by farm­ers in the com­mu­nity, the Sec­re­tary said: “The chal­lenges are nu­mer­ous. The num­ber one prob­lem is fi­nance, which has been the great­est prob­lem we face year- in –year- out. Also, farm im­ple­ments and in­puts like fer­tiliser are not ad­e­quate.

“Many of our farm­ers here can­not af­ford to buy more than two to three bags of fer­tiliser in a sea­son. Some buy a bag and share amongst them­selves. Dur­ing the last Growth En­hance­ment Scheme (GES), some of us reg­is­tered but could not get the in­puts due to some com­puter er­rors and il­lit­er­acy on the part of some of the farm­ers. Those that were lucky got theirs dur­ing the rainy sea­son which was al­ready late.”

He called on the state govern­ment to com­ple­ment the Federal Govern­ment’s ef­forts to de­velop the unutiliSed ar­eas of the com­mu­nity where there is wa­ter and soil good for ir­ri­ga­tion farm­ing. He said apart from gen­er­at­ing more em­ploy­ments, they would also gen­er­ate rev­enue.

Other farm­ers’ say the chal­lenges bor­der on fi­nance, call­ing on gov­ern­ments, at all lev­els, to ease the process of se­cur­ing loans by farm­ers. They de­scribed in­ad­e­quate fi­nance as the great­est con­straint to peas­ant farm­ers.

The Vil­lage Head of the com­mu­nity, Malam Saliu Akanni, who is also a farmer, de­scribed Osin as a farmer-friendly and peace­ful com­mu­nity: “We have tribes like the Zu­rus, Hausas, Bas­sas, Tivs, Nu­pes, Fu­la­nis, Ghana­ians, and Ka­iama people that are co-habit­ing peace­fully as farm­ers.

“I am also a farmer and I planted ground­nut this sea­son which was badly af­fected by the rain break. I also plant Yam, Cas­sava and Cow­pea. We have a lot of land here, it is only for govern­ment and in­di­vid­u­als to come and in­vest here as our land is read­ily avail­able.”

Osin farm set­tle­ment

One of the sev­eral ma­chines pump­ing wa­ter to farms at Osin ir­ri­ga­tion area

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.