Dry season farmers in Kaduna State have appealed to the state government to provide adequate inputs to enable them to scale up production in the 2017/2018 farming season.
Malam Ahmed Muhammed, the state Chairman, Fadama Farmers Association, made the appeal in an interview with our reporter on Wednesday in Kaduna.
Muhammed spoke on the sideline of the Agriculture Vision Group (AVG) meeting convened to validate the Agricultural Investment Plan for approval by the state government.
Members of the AVG are drawn from various farmer groups engaged in crop production and officials in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The validation meeting was organised by Synergos Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), with technical support from Technoserve.
The chairman said the state had hundreds of thousands of hectares of arable Fadama land not yet cultivated.
This, he said, had led to the farmers’ over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture in the state.
“We have many natural facilities for successful dry season farming in the state but they are under-utilised.
“This has led to farmers’ over-dependence on rain-fed farming of rice, maize, tomato and soyabeans that grow very well in the state.
“Government needs to pay more attention to Fadama farming because it is more profitable than rain-fed agriculture.
“Government needs to support farmers to access adequate fertilisers, improved seeds, chemicals and tractors as well as credit facilities for dry season farming.
“Government also needs to develop the Fadama areas around its reserved water resources like the Gurara Dam, Galma Dam and Kangimi Dam and others located in different parts of the state.”
According to him, the facilities, if improved, will enhance food security, reduce poverty among communities living around the dams as well as add value to the nutrition of malnourished children and women in the state.
He said the association had more than 4,200 registered farmers engaged in tomato, rice, soyabeans and vegetable production across the state.
Meanwhile, Synergos, under the State Partnership in Agriculture (SPA) progeamme, said the validation meeting would ensure the production of an agricultural investment plan that would attract both local and foreign investors into the state.
Synergos Field Manager, Victor Adejoh, said details of land availability, cost of production of major food and cash crops as well as labour had been incorporated into the plan.
He said the details would attract investments into the state for the commercial production of the food crops.
Our correspondent reports that data from the State Bureau of Statistics show that Kaduna State provides more than 40 per cent of the maize produced in the country.
It is also a major producer of tomato, rice and soyabeans as well as the largest producer of ginger, placing Nigeria third behind China and India in global ranking.