Early rainfall: farmers begin yam cultivation
Farmers in Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, and other states have started preparing their fields for cultivation with the start of the first rain.
According to Mrs. Scholarstica Amua, the chairman of the Yam Farmers Association in Benue State, “Some people have already planted while others are in the process of doing so.
“Those who prepared their heaps in September last year have already planted. Those of us who didn’t make it are just clearing our lands. We have the challenge of inputs are so costly, herbicide, fertilizer, and labour.”
This comes as a result of financial shortage, making it challenging for them to buy seeds, herbicides and other inputs.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) had predicted early rain this year, and advised farmers not to sow their crops with the arrival of the first rain, which is predicted to start in April or May in the central regions of the country.
While most farmers in Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa began planting their yams with the arrival of the first rain, others are now building their heaps in preparation for planting as soon as the second rain falls.
The Comrade Aondongu Saaku, state chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), emphasized the necessity for those who planted in September to heavily mulch their heaps so that as the rainy season gets underway, the crop would germinate more quickly and avoid going bad from the intense heat.
Many farmers in Nasarawa, however, reportedly switched from early planting to late planting due to worries about animal destruction of heaps, extreme heat, and theft.
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