Farmers in Borno expect bountiful harvest

Borno state map,

Some farmers in Maiduguri say they expect bumper harvest this cropping season, in spite of the Boko Haram insurgents’ attacks. They also expressed joy over abundant rainfall recorded so far in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that thousands of farmers have cultivated their farmlands in Maiduguri and other liberated communities in the state. However, the insurgents had recently killed two tractor drivers, three farmers and abducted another, while working on their farms on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

A cross section of the farmers told NAN in separate interviews in Maiduguri and Konduga that they were happy to return to their farms in spite of the incessant attacks by the insurgents.

Buba Idris said he was anticipating bumper harvest this planting season in view of the volume of rainfall and favourable weather condition in the area. Idris said that he had cultivated rice at the Konduga rice plantation and expressed hope for a bumper harvest.

“I am happy now that I have returned to my farm after I abandoned it for many years due to the insurgency.

“We recorded appreciable level of rainfall and no pests’ infestation. The only problem is the insurgents who attack farmers,” he said.

Miss Halima Kachalla, a beans grower, said that she planted beans and

peanut on her farm at Dalori village in Konduga Local Government Area.

Kachalla said she engaged labourers to manage the plantation,

adding that she often visited the farm in defiance of the insurgents’ threat.

“The crops are doing well and we are hoping to get high yields at harvest”.

Another farmer, Modu Audu, said that he was preparing to harvest his

crops at a farm in Jekete village of Konduga local government area.

Audu, who is still taking shelter at an Internally Displaced Persons

(IDPs) camp in Konduga, added that he usually visited the farm during

the day.

“My village is deserted and I get bored of staying idle.

“Farmers can only work on the farms during the day for fear of the insurgents.

“I planted millet and sorghum, and in few weeks to come I will be

harvesting my crops,” he said.

However, Yusuf Makinta expressed concern over high cost of

fertilisers, seeds and other inputs.

Makinta said that most farmers could not return to the farm due to exorbitant prices of the inputs. He said that a bag of fertiliser was sold for between N8, 500 and N10, 000, while a measure of bean seeds sold at N1, 200.

“A lot of people wanted to return to the farms but they are constraints due high cost of fertilisers,” he said.

The state Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources , Alhaji Muhammad Dilli,

disclosed that the state government had spent over N700 million on procurement and distribution of fertilisers, seeds and chemicals for displaced farmers.

Dilli also said that the government had procured 15,000 tones of fertilisers and improved seeds such as maize, rice and cowpea for distribution to farmers.

“We also procured 84 units of sprinkler rice engagement plant and one million cashew seeds to encourage cash crops Production.

“The state government has so far distributed 95 large tractors to farmers at subsidised rate, in addition to the construction of 17 earth dams in liberated Communities.

“The government also procured modern farm implements such as plough, Harrow, cultivators, harvesters and other inputs,” he said. Dilli noted that the gesture was to assist displaced farmers and encourage them to go back to the farms.

Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it had distributed
fertilisers, seeds and inputs to 5, 000, rice farmers in the state.
Mr Mahmud Nyako, the CBN’s Development Financial Officer, said the
apex bank had earmarked N10.4 billion for agriculture development and
farmer support services in Borno.
Nyako said that the amounts were provided under the Anchor Borrower
programme initiated by the Federal Government.
He said the bank targeted about 40,000 farmers who were
expected to cultivate rice and other cash crops.
He explained that about 20, 000 farmers had so far registered, while
5, 000 of them had been screened to participate under the first phase
of the programme.
“The programme will be run in two phases, some 20, 000 farmers will be
supported under the first phase, while 20, 000, others or more would
be captured under the second phase.
“It is a soft a loan revolving scheme, the bank has worked out
effective modalities to ensure its sustainability,” he said.
Nyako said farmers were provided with fertilisers; seeds,
chemicals, water pumps, knapsack sprayers and money to settle labour
activities such as ploughing, harrowing, packaging and transportation.
The United Nations (UN) said it had so far
distributed fertilisers and seeds to 1.2 million displaced farmers in
the North-East region.
Mr Edward Kallon, the Country Coordinator, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), disclosed that about 140, 000 households benefited from the exercise.
Kallon noted that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) was
working to assist farmers in liberated communities to return to the