Farm clearance and other activities in preparation for the forthcoming farming season in Katsina State have started in earnest amid fear of bandits’ attacks in border villages in the state.
Farmers in villages close to Birnin Gwari axis as well as those in the villages neighbouring Zamfara State said last year, bandits warned most of the communities to keep away from their farms or face the consequence.
Some of the farmers, who spoke to our reporter in some of the villages, said fear of bandits’ attacks might prevent them from cultivating their farms in the area this year.
Alhaji Muntari, a farmer from Sabuwa LGA said “Even last year, some farmers hardly packed all their produce at Birnin Gwari border as the bandits openly threatened the farmers to leave the area.”
However, in many other non-border parts of the state, farmers have begun major preparations for the forthcoming planting season though with the declining interest of mostly new comers in the trade.
Last year, there was influx of people into farming occasioned by the skyrocketing market prices of maize and sorghum that reached N17,000 and N20,000 a bag respectively.
A farmer in Danja LGA, Malam Salisu Dabai, said many were into farming last year to make quick money not knowing that, like any other profession, farming requires skills and knowledge for one to prosper in it.
“Because of the high cost of farm produce experienced in the 2016/2017 season, many people saw farming as a short cut to get rich and they jumped into it without the basic, requisite knowledge and now they are seeing the result. Their influx last year made the rent for farmlands high and hard to get a good one; the situation is quite different this year as they got into contact with the reality of farming,” he noted.
He added that the recent development has, this year, led to the availability of farmlands for rent and at affordable rates.
“Because the farm produce are not as costly as they were in 2016/2017, the farm that was rented at N50,000 last season can be got at below N30,000 now,” Dabai added.
Another farmer, Abdullahi Sani Danja, however said because of the withdrawal of many first timers from farming, the demand for organic manure is grossly affected.
“By this time last year there was scarcity of manure for farmers to buy both here in town and at Fulani settlements in the bush. Young men that make out humus from refuse dumps made a lot of money last season. Now the manure is cheaper and not scarce,” he said.
He explained that many farmers were done with their farm clearance and are only waiting for the rains to commence their planting activities