Straw­berry: A sea­sonal fruit in high de­mand

Daily Trust - - FEATURE - Con­tin­ued from page 33 A straw­berry farm in Jos

Port Har­court, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna and so many other states.

“We sell a kilo of straw­berry for N1, 000 but when the fruit is scarce, we sell at N1, 500. There are in­stances when the mar­ket de­pre­ci­ates and we sell at N700.”

“Straw­berry is a prof­itable ven­ture. I bought a piece of land for the ex­ten­sion of my farm and an­other one for me to build a house. If I can get as­sis­tance from govern­ment in terms of sub­sidised fer­tiliser, in­sec­ti­cides, im­proved seeds and seedlings, bank loan with sin­gle digit in­ter­est rate and nec­es­sary equip­ment for mech­a­nised farm­ing, I can pro­duce thou­sands of tonnes of straw­berry and pro­vide jobs for hun­dreds of youths.

“We are call­ing on govern­ment, at all lev­els, and the pri­vate sec­tor to in­vest in the farm­ing and mar­ket­ing of straw­berry. The sys­tem is all en­com­pass­ing in terms of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment; it can em­ploy a lot of people. Right now, I have em­ployed eight young men work­ing in my farm. Al­though there are other crops I ven­ture into, I be­lieve straw­berry farm­ing and mar­ket­ing would re­duce un­em­ploy­ment and also boost the econ­omy of our coun­try.”

A trader at Ni­tel ruits mar­ket in Jos who also sells straw­berry, Ibrahim Ab­dul­lahi, told our re­porter that he has so far spent 13 years sell­ing va­ri­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles.

He said: “Straw­berry busi­ness is a prof­itable ven­ture and the fruit has good mar­ket these days. It is a sea­sonal fruit but its mar­ket is mov­ing smoothly. Cus­tomers come from dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try to buy it from us or from the farm­ers di­rectly.”

On the chal­lenges of mar­ket­ing straw­berry, Ab­dul­lahi said: “The chal­lenges we are fac­ing in mar­ket­ing straw­berry in Jos largely has to do with the sud­den change of weather. Right now we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heat and that usu­ally af­fects the fruit. If you don’t sell it in time, it may spoil as a re­sult of heat. The sec­ond prob­lem is the predica­ments of some traders who are hawk­ing the fruits in wheel bar­rows in some mar­kets within the city of Jos. You know the fruits don’t like too much heat and if it reaches two days that way it could get rot­ten.

“De­spite all these chal­lenges I have men­tioned, straw­berry is one among the most mar­ketable and prof­itable fruits I sell, be­cause the de­mand of the fruit is higher than its pro­duc­tion,” Ab­dul­lahi said.

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