-NEPC Initiates Rescue Measures
Nigeria’s fourth position as World’ ginger producer is threatened by outbreak of fungi pathogens infection that wiped out N10 billon worth of ginger covering 2,500 hectres of farm lands in seven local government councils of Kaduna state.
Assessment tour of ginger farms in some affected local government councils in Kaduna over the weekend by Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Dr. Ezra Yakusak and Commissioner of agriculture, Kaduna state , Mr. Muritala Dabbo confirmed entire ginger farms had been destroyed by a mystery crop infection that leaves ginger farmers helpess with lamentation.
Conducting NEPC team around affected local governments which include , Jaba local government, Jere local government and Kargako local government amongst others, Dabbo described ginger pandemic as devastating and unprecedented.
” The first thing we did when it was reported, was to invite the Institute of Agriculture Research, Ahmadu Bello University ( ABU) Zaria. We came with our team, they took soil samples and plants . There after, they came up with result which confirmed it to be a fungi pathogens .They called it hispcus. They recommended that we need fungi-insecticides. By the time we bought and sent to the small holder farmers they had badly been affected already. The few that were alive , we were able to salvage for seedling next year. Going forward, they advised that, we plant in damp areas with good drainages and do crop rotation.
“All the investment is gone. We are looking for support from federal government and development partners. Ginger production is a key non oil export commodity of Nigeria. We know our currency is depreciating, we need all the dollar we can get, ginger is a good source . As you can see this year is gone, all investment in ginger wiped out “, he said.
Speaking in an interview with the media representatives, NEPC CEO, Dr Ezra Yakusak described it mystery pandemic. He assured affected farmers of Council’ support.
” This is a complete riun. From what we have seen here , about 95 percent of ginger has been wiped away in Kaduna. Is going to affect our non oil export performance. That’s why we are worried and is a thing of concern. This is a pandemic, and I think we must all put effort together and do what needs to be done by putting eyes, effort on that disease. We will put much premium on the disease because is something that will affect the economy. Nigeria is the fourth largest producer of ginger country. Nigeria’s ginger is the best because of its purgency, its aroma and high oil content. If this is happening here, it’s like is happening to the world because eventually it will affect the world market. Next year you will realize the entire spectrum of the world market will be affected by this disease.
“That’s why we are here to see what we can do interms of interventions. Kaduna state is the highest interms of ginger production in the country with over 80 percent. Kaduna state ginger is the best. If 80 percent of ginger production is affected in Nigeria, it means the world ginger market supply chain will be affected”, he said.
On likely intervention being considered by NEPC to ameliorate ginger farmers’ plight, Ezra listed supply of improved seedlings, enlightenment and advocacy as some of interim interventions.
” Now we have seen the devastation. Part of the things we are going to do, is to build capacity of the farmers interms of seed dressing. The Council will see how to get improved seedlings to farmers. Is not an easy task but we have to do it. The situation is actually pathetic. The whole ginger is melted, everything is melted. Is a strange disease. We don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s both soil borne and air borne. For every farm , the story is the same . This moment a ginger is fresh and green, the next moment everything is dry. NEPC is going to intervene interms of improved seedlings and capacity building”, Ezra assured.
Lamenting their losses, one of the ginger farmer at Jaba local government a 71 year old Mr. Timpot Yaki called for federal government support and interventions. He said majority of farmers in the affected local governments farm only ginger crop. He said proceeds from ginger sale is what they used in buying other food crops and items.
” I’m 71 year’s old farmer and I have been farming ginger. This has never happened before. The ginger will get rotten, when you break it you see some maggots inside. After some few months, even farms that were not treated, the fungi hits it. That’s Why I say its like a mystery. No single ginger farm survives it. Some said it was because of fertilizer,even people who didn’t apply fertilizer were affected. We heard they came from Zaria to test the crop and soil. Our prayer now is against next year. If happens again next year we are finished. Right now we are trying to preserve some seeds for next year. The level of damage across seven local government is about 97 percent”, he said.
Sole Administrator of Jaba local government council Mrs. Nita Byack George told newsmen that ginger pandemic inflicted maximum economic damage on her local government.
” It has really affect lives of individuals and economy of the local government. There were some of our people who collapsed the moment they realized devastating situation of their crop. A lot of families are in pain because ginger is the source of their livelihood”, she said.
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