Why Kebbi dry sea­son rice farm­ers recorded huge loss

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - From Is­mail Ade­bayo, Birnin Kebbi

This year’s dry sea­son rice farm­ing in Kebbi State does not seem to be as prof­itable to farm­ers as last year’s when many farm­ers in the state claimed they recorded bumper har­vest and huge profit.

Their story is dif­fer­ent this year as some of them are al­ready lament­ing huge losses they in­curred due to poor har­vest.

Some of the farm­ers who spoke to our cor­re­spon­dent said they were able to pro­duce about 900 to 1000 bags of paddy dur­ing last year’s rice har­vest. They how­ever, lamented that they could only pro­duce about 50 to 100 bags of paddy dur­ing this year’s har­vest.

The farm­ers at­trib­uted their loss to the va­ri­ety of rice seeds, poor weather, wind, flood, and lack of fer­til­izer as well as ex­pe­ri­ence on the part of some of them among other chal­lenges.

Al­haji Kabiru Sani Gi­ant is one of the suc­cess­ful rice farm­ers at the River Niger val­ley in Bagudo area of the state with an ex­pan­sive rice field of over 15 hectares. Dur­ing last year’s har­vest he was able to pro­duce 930 bags of paddy. How­ever, he told our cor­re­spon­dent that af­ter this year’s har­vest he only got 148 bags of paddy.

While speak­ing to our cor­re­spon­dent on the poor har­vest he recorded this year, he said, “There are big dif­fer­ences be­tween last year and this year’s har­vests. One of the rea­sons re­spon­si­ble for the poor har­vest many of the farm­ers recorded this year is the fact that many of them are new in rice farm­ing. They are ig­no­rant of what they need to do to achieve high yield in rice pro­duc­tion.

“I started plant­ing my rice late Fe­bru­ary this year. How­ever, it grew well and I was ex­pect­ing about 800 to 900 bags of paddy. Un­for­tu­nately there was a ter­ri­ble wind ac­com­pa­nied by heavy rain­fall which caused flood in my farm for over one week. Be­cause of this we could only har­vest the lit­tle rice that was left in the farm. Many other farm­ers also suf­fered this fate. I know of those that can pro­duce about 3,000 to 4,000 bags of paddy rice but were also af­fected by the flood. If not for the wind and flood that washed our rice away we could have pro­duced more rice in Kebbi State than we pro­duced last year.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, af­ter plant­ing the rice, wa­ter be­came a prob­lem to some peo­ple, say­ing it is ex­pen­sive to main­tain a rice farm dur­ing the dry sea­son.

“From the day I started cul­ti­vat­ing my rice farm to the day I har­vested it I spent noth­ing less than N2.5 mil­lion on wa­ter­ing it. That does not in­clude what I spent on labour dur­ing plant­ing, re­mov­ing of weeds, har­vest­ing, trash­ing and bag­ging the rice. That amount was only for fu­el­ing the pump­ing ma­chines. By the time I cal­cu­lated the money I had spent I re­al­ized I had spent over N5 mil­lion.

“Un­for­tu­nately I lost ev­ery­thing to the wind and flood. I could only get 148 bags com­pared to the 930 bags I got af­ter last year’s har­vest. More than nine hectares out of my 15 hectares of rice field was sub­merged and th­ese are the ar­eas we were ex­pect­ing to have bumper har­vest. Where we got the 148 bags was not more than three hectares. I don’t want to go to govern­ment be­cause I don’t want to be seen as beg­ging for money. It was my money I used for the farm­ing to main­tain my­self and my fam­ily. If they want to as­sist us they can set up a com­mit­tee to go to the farms and see the losses we suf­fered.”

An­other farmer, Aliyu Ab­dul­lahi, at Duku area of Birnin Kebbi, said he could only get two bags of rice from his three hectares of rice farm.

“It was a to­tal loss for me. I spent over N1mil­lion cul­ti­vat­ing the rice farm but I could only get two bags af­ter har­vest­ing it. I was not the only farmer that in­curred losses many oth­ers suf­fered even more se­ri­ous losses. Many of those who got 50 to 100 bags of rice last year could only get seven to eight bags this year. Un­for­tu­nately a bag of rice is cur­rently sold at N6,000 to N7,000.”

In the same vein, a farmer in Bunza area of the state, Saadu Muhammed, who said it was his first time to ven­ture into dry sea­son rice farm­ing, said, “I cul­ti­vated one hectare of rice field. I ex­pected to get about 100 bags of paddy af­ter har­vest but all I could get is eight bags. It was a com­plete loss for me,” he lamented.

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