In­side Buba Gal­adima’s rice, ba­nana, soya beans farms ‘If I suc­ceed here, what’ll I be do­ing in pol­i­tics?’

Sunday Trust - - AGRIC BUSINESS - By Hus­sein Ya­haya

When­ever the name Al­haji Buba Gal­adima is men­tioned, what read­ily comes to mind for many is pol­i­tics. Al­haji Buba, an en­gi­neer, has spent much of his time in pol­i­tics. He, it was, that re­cently led ag­grieved mem­bers of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) to form r-APC, which later pulled out from the lat­ter and formed a coali­tion with the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP). He staunchly sup­ported Sen­a­tor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso dur­ing the party’s re­cent pres­i­den­tial pri­maries in Port Har­court, Rivers State. His can­di­date lost but is re­solved to sup­port any­one with the ca­pac­ity to ease Pres­i­dent Buhari out of the Villa to, ac­cord­ing to him, save the coun­try from to­tal col­lapse.

Gal­adima is a well-known politi­cian in Nige­ria but only few know he is also into farm­ing. Aside from pol­i­tics, Buba Gal­adima has been in­vest­ing money, en­ergy and time in farm­ing, with over 300 hectares of farm­land.

He spoke ex­clu­sively with our agric edi­tor, who, last Thurs­day, traced him to his farms along Bwari-Jere-Kaduna road.

While in his house, de­spite the num­ber of po­lit­i­cal sup­port­ers wait­ing to see him, Gal­adima was still mind­ful of his farm as he kept re­mind­ing those as­sem­bled of the need for him to visit it that very day.

At about 2pm, the politi­cian sig­naled to the edi­tor, and they started the more than an hour jour­ney to the farm.

While on the way, Gal­adima dis­closed that he had in­vested mil­lions of naira in farm­ing cas­sava, soya beans and rice for quite a long time now but with lit­tle or no gain.

“It is not as if the pro­duce from some of the farms are not good enough but two things are im­por­tant if you want to be a suc­cess­ful farmer: One, you must have good knowl­edge of it and two, pres­ence; you must al­ways be at the farm if you are to break even,” he said.

He said he had no knowl­edge of the proper way of sam­pling soil suit­able for spe­cific crops; ap­pro­pri­ate plant­ing space, fer­tiliser type to use and its ap­pli­ca­tion as well as the agro chem­i­cals to use. He, how­ever, blamed this in­abil­ity on lack of ex­ten­sion ser­vice work­ers, who are sup­posed to be avail­able to farm­ers for pro­fes­sional guid­ance.

“In Ethiopia, there are over 46,000 ex­ten­sion ser­vice of­fi­cers ser­vic­ing farm­ers in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try but I don’t think Nige­ria can boast of 5,000 as big as we are as a coun­try,” he said.

Also, he said be­cause of his ac­tive in­volve­ment in pol­i­tics, he hardly had time to visit the farm, which, he said, also con­trib­uted to his un­suc­cess­ful out­ing in farm­ing so far.

He, how­ever, quickly added: “But now, I am de­ter­mined, and I have gained much ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause of my pre­vi­ous tri­als.”

Gal­adima has, at present, over 300 hectares of farm­land to farm var­i­ous types of crops. Though not all de­vel­oped yet.

Our first point of call was his soya beans farm. Soya beans farm Presently, he has planted soya beans on about two hectares of land. He tried it be­fore but with lit­tle suc­cess. He now has hope of bet­ter out­put with the ex­pe­ri­ence he has gar­nered.

He ex­pects to har­vest about three to four tons from the farm, all things be­ing equal. Only this, he noted, would give him profit con­sid­er­ing the in­vest­ment he has made on the 2.9 hectares of land. In the farm, Gal­adima had al­ready pro­vided a large ware­house to store pro­duce. Ba­nana plan­ta­tion Al­haji Buba Gal­adima in­tends to in­vest heav­ily in the farm­ing of ba­nana. He told Daily Trust on Sun­day that he had al­ready spent mil­lions of naira to buy about 2,700 ba­nana seedlings from an Is­raeli firm which, he said, was shipped into the coun­try from In­dia, few weeks ago.

Al­ready, the nurs­eries, which are ex­pected to be ready for plant­ing af­ter three months, have been un­der a-con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment in a green­house.

Al­haji Gal­adima said the soil on the plan­ta­tion has been tested and ben­e­fi­ci­ated in or­der to suit the ba­nana species, adding that over 10,000 hectares will be used for the plan­ta­tion.

The ba­nana, he said, would be ready for har­vest 11 months af­ter plant­ing and there­after at six months’ in­ter­val.

On the mar­ket op­por­tu­nity for the ba­nana, Al­haji Gal­adima said, the Is­raeli com­pany, SCC, which at present has the demon­stra­tion of the type of the ba­nana, is sell­ing a bunch at N2,500 and peo­ple have to book some months ahead to get it.

“Imag­ine you have 2,000 ba­nana bunches and you sell each bunch at N2,500 and you will be har­vest­ing ev­ery six months; that is money,’’ he said. Rice/cas­sava farms Per­haps, there is noth­ing so dis­turb­ing now to Gal­adima as a farmer than his rice farm, which presently is un­der se­ri­ous fungi at­tack.

He told Daily Trust on Sun­day at the farm, which sits on about 40 hectares, that out of that hec­tarage, 25 hectares had been com­pletely de­stroyed by a fungi known as neck blast which at­tacks rice from the neck and pre­vents nu­tri­ents from get­ting to the seed, thereby mak­ing it to dry off pre­ma­turely.

The en­gi­neer-turned politi­cian-cum-farmer said he had spent about N20 mil­lion to pre­pare the land, aside from the money he spent in fix­ing ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties at the farm.

He is hope­ful of har­vest­ing some­thing from the re­main­ing farm­land not un­der at­tack by the dis­ease to re­coup his ex­penses, adding that the loss will not de­ter him from farm­ing rice.

“I have leant a lot and that will guide me in the next plant­ing sea­son. I was told by ex­perts at the Ce­re­als Re­search In­sti­tute at Badegi that it was the seeds or the way they were han­dled dur­ing plant­ing that caused the in­fec­tion, so I will guard against such is­sues next time.

Al­haji Gal­adima also showed our agric edi­tor his vast cas­sava farm, which he said would be due for har­vest by the end of the year. Op­por­tu­ni­ties in farm­ing To Gal­adima, there are huge op­por­tu­ni­ties in farm­ing for any­one that has the req­ui­site knowl­edge and time to mon­i­tor the ac­tiv­i­ties. With lit­tle cap­i­tal, he said one can start some­thing. He said if his ba­nana plan­ta­tion yields the ex­pected re­sults, that alone can sus­tain him and his fam­ily.

“All things be­ing equal, if I fully de­velop my ba­nana farm, my cas­sava, soya beans, and rice farms, what then am I do­ing with pol­i­tics,” he said jok­ingly. The chal­lenges He ob­served that farm­ing in Nige­ria comes with lots of chal­lenges; from the dearth of ex­ten­sion work­ers, non-avail­abil­ity of ap­pro­pri­ate in­puts, se­cu­rity, poor in­fra­struc­ture, guar­an­teed mar­kets, among oth­ers.

“You need ba­sic knowl­edge of soil type suit­able for crops, ap­pro­pri­ate plant­ing meth­ods, in­puts ap­pli­ca­tion, best ways to har­vest as well as post-har­vest han­dling and all th­ese are to be pro­vided by the ex­ten­sion ser­vice of­fi­cers,’’ he ex­plained.

He said the is­sue of se­cu­rity is also very wor­ri­some. Kid­nap­ping and steal­ing of farm fa­cil­i­ties have be­come ram­pant, which is very dis­turb­ing. His wish Al­haji Gal­adima, who said he has more than 345 hectares of land for agri­cul­ture, re­gret­ted that he will not be able to uti­lize all be­cause of his age. “I am ag­ing, how I wish I got all th­ese lands early enough, I would have done a lot with them. I would have been a very big farmer.’’

He hopes some of his chil­dren will have pas­sion for farm­ing and make good use of the fa­cil­i­ties.

Al­haji Buba Gal­adima in­spects his ba­nana seedlings

Al­haji Gal­adima in his soya beans farm

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.