Why gin­ger prices plum­met Farm­ers want FG to in­ter­vene

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - From Ahmed Ali, Kafan­chan

The rise and fall of the price of gin­ger have be­come a ma­jor is­sue for farm­ers, mar­keters, mid­dle­men, tra­di­tional rulers and politi­cians in south­ern Kaduna.

Farm­ers and mar­keters who spoke to Daily Trust ex­pressed fear as the in­sta­bil­ity in prices af­fect pro­duc­tion.

Al­haji Isyaku Abdu Ladan, from Jema’a Lo­cal Govern­ment Area of Kaduna State, has been in the busi­ness since child­hood.

He said: “Naira to-dol­lar saga has con­trib­uted in the ris­ing and fall­ing of gin­ger price. We bought a bag of gin­ger at the be­gin­ning of the 2015/2016 sea­son at N16,000 but be­fore the end of the sea­son it rose to N23,000.

Like­wise, at the be­gin­ning of the 2016/2017 sea­son, it be­gan at N18,000 and rose to N20,000 per bag. Presently, in the 2017/2018 sea­son, we are buy­ing it at N10,000 and it grad­u­ally dropped to N8,000-N7,000. We even bought it at N6,500 N4,500.”

Yo­hanna Us­man Tiger, a farmer and dealer from Gi­dan Mana, Kachia Lo­cal Govern­ment Area, said he has been in the gin­ger farm­ing busi­ness for al­most 30 years.

He said peo­ple from Asia, Europe, Amer­ica and African coun­tries al­ways come to buy their gin­ger un­for­tu­nately, the buy­ers have re­duced this year.

“A bag of gin­ger used to sell for N22,000 to N25,000 two years ago but to­day that same bag sells for be­tween N7,000 and N8,000,” he lamented.

Tiger at­trib­uted the low pro­duc­tiv­ity of the gin­ger this sea­son to “wrong cal­cu­la­tions by some of the peo­ple that put pol­i­tics in the busi­ness and ru­ined the farm­ers.”

“Some peo­ple that were not in the farm­ing sys­tem and also not mar­keters, or­ga­nized them­selves and sat with us. They told us that they wanted to help us be­cause they re­al­ized that the mid­dle­men and mar­keters have con­spired to thwart the ef­forts of gin­ger farm­ers in South­ern Kaduna. They said they wanted to help us make more profit in the farm­ing busi­ness.

“They in­sisted that we don’t sell our gin­ger to the mar­keters till the price reached N25,000 per bag. They even went ahead to cre­ate their vigilantes that were set on pa­trol, ar­rest­ing and tax­ing who­ever they caught sell­ing a bag of gin­ger be­low N25,000.”

Us­man Tiger fur­ther ex­plained: “That was in Oc­to­ber. It made us de­lay a lit­tle in har­vest­ing the gin­ger in Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber till De­cem­ber. And by the time peo­ple broke that ar­range­ment to start sell­ing their har­vest in De­cem­ber to solve fi­nan­cial prob­lems as Christ­mas had ap­proached, most of the gin­ger had de­cayed in the soil and some had de­vel­oped into ‘mozo’ (gin­ger that has got­ten dry in the soil be­fore cut­ting or split­ting).

“A per­son who ex­pected to cul­ti­vate five hectares ended up with two hectares. This is what re­sulted to the low pro­duc­tion of gin­ger this sea­son.

“We want govern­ment to give us loan that is free of in­ter­est; we want them to as­sist us with fer­til­izer, in­sec­ti­cides, pes­ti­cides, her­bi­cides and trac­tors,” he stressed.

Aminu Sal­ihu Tahir, a mid­dle­man from Kafan­chan, who learnt the busi­ness of gin­ger from his par­ents, said they trans­acted the busi­ness with the farm­ers for a long time and en­gaged in an open mar­ket till some ‘ed­u­cated’ ones among them, mostly those in govern­ment or re­tired civil ser­vants, started to put pol­i­tics into the busi­ness and cre­at­ing dis­cord be­tween them and the farm­ers.

“They were in a rush. In­stead of them wait­ing for the mar­ket to de­cide the price, they were dic­tat­ing to farm­ers how much to sell their crops while they were not farm­ers and not mar­keters ei­ther,” he said.

But Malam Auwal Abubakar, who has been in the gin­ger farm­ing busi­ness for about 11 years, said who­ever was en­gaged in the ac­tiv­i­ties knew that the price of gin­ger as a com­mod­ity was elas­tic and that could not af­fect their farm­ing.

“It can only af­fect or dis­cour­age a new farmer who en­tered the busi­ness with the in­ten­tion to en­rich him­self within a short pe­riod of time. I am cul­ti­vat­ing five hectares of land. But if govern­ment can as­sist us, I can cul­ti­vate 50 to 100 hectares of gin­ger based on ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

Re­cently, the Chief of Jaba, in Jaba Lo­cal Govern­ment Area, Kpok Ham Dan­ladi Gyet Maude, urged the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments to pro­mote the farm­ing of gin­ger in South­ern Kaduna.

Gin­ger Mar­ket at Kubacha, Ka­garko Lo­cal Govern­ment Area, Kaduna State

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