With the rainy season already halfway and the new yams already out in some yam-producing states, farmers in major yam-producing local government areas of Niger State have mixed feelings over this year’s harvest.
A check at Garatu yam market in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State, one of the major yam markets in the state, showed a scarcity of the commodity, which farmers attributed to banditry and shortage of rainfall at the beginning of the season.
Investigation revealed that the majority of women known to be yam sellers now sell potatoes as they could not access the commodity from as far as Benin City.
Speaking to newsmen on Sunday, some farmers from communities in Munya, Shiroro, Bosso and Rafi Local Government Areas, said some yams were just planted two months ago, explaining that it takes not less than 90 days before yam was due for harvesting.
One of the farmers in Shiroro, Idris Musa, said “We are yet to get new yam in our area because we didn’t access the farm early this rainy season to plant our yam. Normally, yam is the first crop we plant once the rainy season begins but the late cultivation was majorly caused by insecurity which we are still battling with. This year, there would be a scarcity of yam because many of us couldn’t access our farms.”
A survey of yam markets in Paiko and Minna also showed that the new yams being sold in the state were brought from Edo and Ekiti States, respectively.
Yahaya Salihu, a yam seller in Paiko, said the cost was high because of the distance from those states to Niger State.
Also speaking, Shamaiya Abdullahi, a yam seller in Minna, said 10 tubers of yam cost N10,500 as against N5,000 or N6,000 it was sold before, depending on the sizes.
“We don’t have new yam from Niger yet. The ones we have now are Bendel yams. And the cost is as a result of the cost of transportation.”
A buyer at Kasuwan Gwari, Minna, Malam Musa Usman, said five tubers of yam that cost between N2,000 and N2,500 before was now sold at the cost of N5,000 due to scarcity.