By Nabilu Balarabe
Kirikasamma (Jigawa) – Some sugarcane farmers at Madaci town in Jigawa on Wednesday appealed to governments at all levels to subsidise farm inputs used in cultivating sugarcane.
The farmers made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Madaci, Kirikasamma Local Government Area of the state.
They said subsiding fertilizer, pesticides, improved seeds and irrigation equipment, among others, would boost sugarcane production and increase income of farmers.
“We are appealing to governments for subsidy on fertiliser, pesticides and improved seeds, among others; if we can get these at affordable prices, I assure you our production will be increased.
“Last year, because of the scarcity of fertiliser, we harvested only between between 55 and 60 bunches of sugarcane each; we can double that figure if there is subsidy.
“Another problem is that we are far away from the Hadejia-Jama’are River Basin, which is the major source of irrigation water in this area,” said Abdullahi Aliyu, one of the farmers.
Another farmer, Inuwa Adamu, observed that governments at all levels had always shown bias towards rice farming, thereby neglecting other critical cash crops such as sugarcane.
“We observe with concern that governments are investing heavily in rice farming to the detriment of other crops; so we are urging them to also give sugarcane farming the desired attention because it is a money- spinner.
“It is on the news that Nigeria imports over one million metric tones of sugar annually; we can invest more on local production so that we can improve our economy,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, another sugarcane farmer, Habibu Adamu, said the entire eight local government councils in Hadejia zone of Jigawa had huge potentialities for sugarcane farming.
‘With the necessary support, the bulk of the sugar demand in the country can be produced here,” they said.
Bello Mohammed, another farmer, concurred with Adamu and urged the authorities concerned to encourage the harnessing of resources available in the state.
However, the Council’s Secretary of Kirkasama Council,, Alhaji Abdullahi Yusuf, said sugarcane farmers in the area were also being assisted.
“Just three months ago, some officials of Jigawa Agricultural Development Agency (JADA) visited and interacted with sugarcane farmers on how best to support them.
“But the farmers are largely to be blamed for their predicament because of their failure to form cooperatives to benefit from various intervention programmes, even as we have been educating them on the need to do so.
“Governments at all levels, including development partners, no longer deal with farmers individually, but as cooperatives or groups.
“This is because recovering loans and facilities are easier from cooperatives than from individuals.
“Nonetheless, we will continue to sensitise them. Hopefully, they will understand,” he said.