Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tomato scarcity imminent in Bauchi as farmers suffer losses



Dass (Bauchi State) – Tomato farmers in Dass, Bauchi State, have switched to other crops following the outbreak of a strange disease that destroyed their crops.

Dass is one of the major tomatoe producing areas in the state.

Some of them who spoke to NAN on Thursday, said they incurred losses ranging from N200,000 to N400,000, adding that thay had switched to other crops like okra, maize and hot pepper.

One of the farmers, Gambo Turaki, said in previous years, he realised about N300,000 from tomato farming, but that this year, the crop got rotten completely after producing flowers and few tomatoes.

“I did all I could, from spraying of recommended chemicals, to applying fertiliser, but to no avail,” he said.

Bala Dutse, a dry season farmer, narrated the same experience, saying that he lost about N300, 000 this year as a result of the misfortune.

“The crop’s leaves just started shrinking and the few ones that had flowers, started producing tiny tomatoes that eventually got rotten,” he said.

Another farmer, Abdulkarim Usman, said he generated N400,000 from tomatoes last year, but realised nothing this year.

“When I realised that the situation was a hopeless one, I simply cleared the farm of the dying tomatoes and planted okra to generate a little income,” he said.

Another farmer, Zubairu Ibrahim, analysed the effect of the problem, warning that people should brace up for acute scarcity of tomatoes in the next three months.

“When harvest is good, an average basket sells for as low as N400, but now that quantity costs N1,200.

“In the next one month, I envisage the price shooting to about N2,000 and subsequently hitting N5,000 during Ramadan and Sallah period in July and August,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of Media and Publicity, Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), Alhaji Ja’afaru Ilela, said that the agency had not received any formal complaint on the matter.

“I have just enquired from our staff and they said there was no report on the issue. But now that we have been alerted, experts would be dispatched to the affected areas to hear from the farmers before deciding on what measures to take.

“If the problem arose from misapplication of agro-chemicals over the years to the extent that the pests have developed resistance, we shall look for the appropriate alternative,” he said. (NAN)

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