From: Samuel Orumade, Abuja
A farmer, Uche Ikenga says the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and erratic rainfall have caused a delay in the 2020 farming season.
If the situation persists, it may affect the 2020 food production effort and the entire agricultural sector, Ikenga disclosed.
“A problem we currently face in organic farming is that the rains are really erratic; they are not as constant as we expect to aid the growth of crops we have started planting,” Ikenga, an Organic Farmer at MadeEasy Farms stated in an interview with reporters in Lagos.
“Apart from the lockdown, most of the crops we planted have not started germinating like corn and yams and are drying up inside the ground because of insufficient rains.”
However, he said they have improvised by incorporating sack farming such that the farmer bags sand in sacks and plant crops, thus saves land spaces. With this, the bagged sands are later irrigated as frequent as required.
“In all honesty, the pandemic may affect the agricultural sector this year because people are not really as anxious as they were in previous years to commence planting,” Ikenga said.
Speaking on the practice of organic farming, Ikenga said local farmers are faced with the challenge of accessing raw materials.
He said that most local farmers had the impression that organic farming practice was more expensive than the conventional system of farming.
“In a way they may be right because of the few people practicing it. Those practicing it cannot satisfy the present demand for organic crops and vegetables.
“The raw materials used in organic farming are not easily accessible and are not in large supply as required by farmers.
“Organic farmers make use of cow faeces, chicken droppings, fruit peels, decomposed food, wilted beans and a variety of grasses as fertiliser for their crops.
“Most farmers find it difficult to scavenge for these raw materials in organic farming. It is difficult to get them unless you engage professional scavengers to get them for you,” Ikenga said.