Irrigation farmers in Katsina State have expressed concern over the early rainfall experienced recently in some parts of the state, considering its damaging effect on tomato especially.
Early rainfall is said to generate heat which destroys the tomato plant; it also occasions early evolution of pests especially tuta absoluta which damages the fruit.
Muhammad Saminu Dantankari said they are not praying for rainfall to come this early as they are on the first phase of their irrigation farming.
“Irrigation farming is much more successful in harmattan season when the atmosphere and soil temperature are conducive for the crops but when it progress to heat season, adequate watering is required. Rainfall at that period is dangerous to the crops; it will generate too much heat for the plants to bear and when it persists, pests tend to evolve,” said Saminu.
He added that though they have no control over nature other than prayers, many of them avoid the ugly situation by starting the irrigation activities as early as November, especially if they are dealing in tomato.
Another farmer, Shehu Abdullahi, 28, said they were happy that the early rainfall was not heavy as that would have resulted to serious damage in their farms.
“We are lucky it was just showers and we pray it will not happen again till the month of April to May so that we have enough time space to finish harvesting our tomato,” he said.
He pointed out that there are tomato varieties mainly for rain-fed farming but that the UTC variety they are irrigating is subject to damage in the event of rainfall.
Abdullahi further enjoined farmers to always calculate their time frame, taking into consideration the fluctuating nature of weather so as to minimize loss in their irrigation activities.
This reporter discovered that most of the farmers were at the harvesting stages of their tomato and the market price of the commodity has significantly appreciated with a small basket selling at N600 to N800 and big basket N1,800 to N2,400 depending on the variety and quality of the produce.
Source: Daily Trust