‘We want people to get veg­eta­bles fresh any­time’

Daily Trust - - INTERVIEW -

Icall my­self a new age farmer. New age farmer be­cause people like me who have been to school, people ex­pect us to go for white col­lar jobs but in­stead I am farm­ing and farm­ing is stereo­typed to cer­tain kind of people in the vil­lage, the old people with their hoes on their shoul­ders and that kind of stuff. But I am dif­fer­ent, ed­u­cated yet on the farm and that is a strange pic­ture

What spe­cific ac­tiv­ity do you do?

farm­ing

We fo­cus mainly on veg­etable farm­ing. All sorts of veg­eta­bles and that is be­cause we have iden­ti­fied the im­por­tance of veg­eta­bles in our life­style and also our health. So we fo­cus more on that and we try to get other people to do same as, apart from be­ing food, they are also im­por­tant to our health.

What sort of veg­eta­bles?

I mean spinach, tomato, cu­cum­ber, let­tuce, broc­coli, cau­li­flower. Some of them are con­sid­ered ex­otic but they are very com­mon where I farm. Even fruits like straw­berry, rasp­berry, black­ber­ries, these are all con­sid­ered ex­otic you know and most of the time we use them we im­port them, but we can grow them here and use them for our ben­e­fit.

You do all these on the Plateau where the weather is more tem­per­ate?

The weather in Jos is very help­ful for all these, the straw­ber­ries, even the cau­li­flower, broc­coli, they all like cool weather and Jos is very cool and con­ducive that is why in Nigeria, be­cause of its con­ducive weather, Jos can thrive with all these farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

I un­der­stand that you are also into or­ganic farm­ing. What sort of or­ganic farm­ing prac­tice are you into?

When you talk of or­ganic farm­ing, it is in try­ing to pro­duce and pre­serve pro­duce with very lit­tle or no chemical in­ter­ven­tion be­cause these things may have an ef­fect even on con­sumers when they are used ex­ces­sively. So or­ganic farm­ing is all in a bid to try and re­duce the use of these chem­i­cals, if pos­si­ble try and elim­i­nate them a 100 per­cent.

You mean in terms fer­tiliser, pes­ti­cide etc?

of

Yes, chemical fer­tiliser, pes­ti­cides and all those things you use to en­hance the pro­duce.

How then do you deal with in­sect in­fes­ta­tion and the chal­lenge of the fer­tiliser needs of some crops?

Well, on fer­tiliser needs, nat­u­ral com­post is the an­swer whereby you dump or­ganic things and let them de­com­pose. Food waste, crop waste and all those things that de­com­pose and then ma­nure from chicken drop­pings, cow drop­pings, horse drop­pings etc. So we try to cre­ate a sys­tem whereby we col­lect these things from var­i­ous farms and use as fer­tiliser on our soil and with that you find that you do not need to ap­ply chemical fer­tiliser, so that is one way. We also con­sider us­ing nat­u­ral things that can be used as pes­ti­cides and in­sec­ti­cides and there are some other crops that have in­stant re­pel­lent prop­er­ties like cel­ery which has this property, same with pars­ley even onion. All these things with odour. And there are ways you can blend these things and mix and add liq­uid to them use as in­sec­ti­cides on your crops and that way you do not need chemical ap­pli­ca­tion on your crops.

With more re­search we could find more ways of or­gan­i­cally deal­ing with in­sects and pests on our farms.

But is there a de­mand for or­ganic prod­ucts; is it worth­while for the farmer to take the trou­ble to pro­duce or­gan­i­cally?

Well, there is the mar­ket be­cause right now you find a new aware­ness about healthy liv­ing, healthy life­style and this is some­thing that is al­ready ad­vanced in the de­vel­oped world. Now in Nigeria, the aware­ness is start­ing to come so people will ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­tra ef­fort by those farm­ers who pro­duce or­ganic food and veg­eta­bles. And apart from them even the ex­pa­tri­ates that are here and who have that knowl­edge they want to know that they can get what­ever they want when­ever they are in Nigeria, so we will fill that gap

Straw­berry

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