Farmers express divergent views on the prospect of bumper harvest in 2016


A cross section of farmers across the country have promised to take advantage of the present rainfall to cultivate more farmlands to boost production.
Farmers and stakeholders in agriculture in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in the south-west, south-east and south-south also expressed divergent views on the prospect of bumper harvest in 2016 season.
Some of the farmers expressed delight that the long awaited rains had eventually come to wet the ground to give farmers hope for successful farming year.
Some were were of the views that the little yield that may come at the harvest season would solely depend on the concerted efforts of individual farmers because little assistance were received from various governments.
For instance, in Osun, Mr Afolabi Kayode, the chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said that with the present downpour in the state, there was bound to be a bumper harvest this season.
"Although, there was a delay in rainfall, which delayed planting, the heavy rains that came later, was a signal to bumper harvest afterwards, `` Kayode said.
Meanwhile, Dr Oluwabukola Aluko, Coordinating Director, Osun Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Youth Engagement,said the state had been able to manage post-harvest wastages due to its modern preservation facilities.
Aluko said the state had more than 120 storage houses for post harvest produce across the state, adding that these facilities were being subsidised for farmers at affordable rates.
In Ekiti, some farmers have also expressed the hope for a good harvest in view of the frequent rains, even as the government allayed their fears on the storage of excess farm produce.
A peasant farmer in Okemesi Ekiti, Ekiti West Local Government Area, Mr Kola Arogundade, told NAN that farmers in the area were enjoying regular rainfall, an indication for an all-year-round bumper harvest.
In Ado Ekiti, another farmer, Mrs Mosunmola Olayemi, said  erosion and rainstorms had initially threatened good harvest in the current farming season.
A rice farmer in Eyio Ekiti, Mr Sunday Odetola, said that the rate at which rice was growing on the farmlands in the area, indicated that there would be good harvest this year.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Odebunmi, also emphasised the state government`s commitment to developing the agricultural sector.
Odebunmi said farmers would not only carry out their farming activities with ease but get bountiful harvest as well as reduce losses, hitherto recorded by farmers on a yearly basis.
He said financial incentives including N50million, insecticides, germicides,fertiliser, seedlings among other things were already being distributed to farmers to improve farming activities.
The commissioner urged the Federal Government to hasten the completion of a-multi-million naira silos project in Ado Ekiti, which had been abandoned for years.
A big-time farmer, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), disclosed that a farm at the Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) Ado Ekiti, had a technical know-how on produce storage to assist farmers.
Another leading farmer in the state, Chief Paul Alabi, said he owed his entire life to agriculture and that he was equally ready to offer technical expertise to any farmer in the state.
Alabi, who was the former deputy governor of the state, confirmed that the current farming season was far better than that of the past few years.
On his own, the Chairman of Ogun chapter of the All farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Segun Dasaolu, expressed doubts on the likelihood of bumper harvest this season.
Dasaolu in an interview with NAN described the chances of a huge harvest as ``very small, `` stressing that the rain pattern in Ogun during this planting season was erratic.
According to him, such amount of rainfall can hardly support a bumper harvest.
``We did not have enough rainfall this year in Ogun and this is affecting our planting plan and this may also affect our harvest.
``Recently, there has been low rainfall and the weather has been so harsh and unpredictable and when farmers cannot predict the weather, they cannot do any serious planting.
``When rain arrived, it was not constant, as it used to be, so it made it difficult for farmers to plant and sometimes, they planted, it failed, `` he said.
The AFAN chairman said the situation was compounded due to lack of effective irrigation system, which should have made up for the scarcity of rain.
He said the issue of wastage of agricultural produce could hardly arise since they were not expecting much harvest.
``In a situation where we expect a minimal harvest and the population is growing at a faster rate because of its nearness to Lagos State, I do not think we can experience any wastage,`` he said.
In Akure, Mr Dada Boluwade, Chairman, Ondo State Tomato Association, expressed satisfaction with the level of rainfall in 2016 farming season, saying that it would pave way for improved crop production.

Boluwade said, ``the heavy rainfall and other favourable farming conditions in 2016 will be a great sign of bumper harvest by farmers in the state. ``

Boluwade, however, called on the government and other stakeholders to provide storage and processing facilities for farmers to prevent post-harvest wastage and ensure surplus food for the citizens. 
 In Uyo, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Akwa Ibom chapter, said bumper harvest in the state this year might not be feasible.

The AFAN State Chairman, Mr Dennis Etong, said that farmers in the state were not expecting bumper harvest because they did not have access to farm inputs and could not afford the exorbitant cost of the inputs in the open market.

He said that apart from fertiliser, access to improved seedlings was adifficult task for the farmers in the state.

Etong expressed regret that farmers in the state were passing through a difficult time this farming season, saying "We may not expect any bumper."
Mr Jerry Ossai, former Delta Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), told NAN that issue of bumper harvest this year was speculative because rains were not the only aspect in crop production.
He said that farmers in Delta had not received fertilisers and other critical inputs to ensure that their crops do better.
"Farmers in the state have not received fertiliser and other farm inputs as at today, while funding has been critically lacking, but let's pray for good harvest," Ossai said.
However, farmers in Cross River have expressed hope of a bumper harvest in the 2016 harvest season.
Mr Godwin Akwa, a Cassava farmer from Bekwara Local Government Area told NAN that, due to constant rainfall this year, it was expected that Crops such as Cassava would produce very well.
``We are expecting a good yield this year because of steady rainfall, ‘’ Akwa said.
He, however, said that farmers did not find it easy to plant because of lack of farm input from the Government.
Also speaking, a Rice farmer, Mr Otu Enya from Abi Local Government Area, said that inspite of the delay in the provision of fertiliser and other farm inputs from the government, there was prospect of bumper harvest.
``Even though government did not live up to our expectations this farming season but we went ahead with our farming as usual, and as always, we expect a good harvest, ‘’ he said.
Also, Mr Owali Ilem, a farmer, said "In terms of steady rainfal I can say that it was okay. The climatic condition was okay for the rice to produce well this year; so, as usual, we are expectant."
Corroborating the AFAN chairman, a banana farmer, Mr Ekpuk Jumbo, said that farmers in the state had yet to access any assistance from the state government.
Jumbo said that no bumper harvest was expected in Akwa Ibom though the state had enough rainfall.
He said that the little yield that may come at the harvest season would solely depend on the individual efforts of the farmers

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