‘Problem of fertilizer made me abandon farming’

“I had to abandon maize farming because of the issue of getting fertilizer in good time.

That really discouraged me, because as at 1996-2000, I was making an average of 250-300 bags of maize and 200-300 bags of rice,” Malam Mohammed Abubakar said. Abubakar is the owner and Managing Director of Sadiq Farms, a business that is into various agricultural production activities in Gwagwalada, Abuja. He has been a practicing farmer since the first year he joined the civil service in 1981. He has a 20-hectare farmland which he has been farming on in the last 17 years situated in Kwali area council. But he had to abandon the production of maize and rice because of the problem of getting fertilizer on time.
His main supplier was the FCT Agric Department, but because of changes in policy, it was extremely difficult to get the required quantity of fertilizer. ‘Those I know have left and I found it difficult. I would have to lobby to get fertilizer.” Malam Abubakar has since expanded his investment in agriculture. He is into fish farming including the production of fingerlings, which his farms now supply to other farms in Abuja, Kano, Jigawa and Gombe states. But for now, “I may have to go back to the grains, particularly the maize - red maize,” he said. It is one of the key raw materials he needs to run his feed mill for both fish and birds. To actualize his dream for a feed mill, he has bought a feed mill equipment with which to produce feeds for his fish. According to him, it will reduce the heavy cost of feeds. Farmers in Gwagwalada will also take advantage of the machine to buy affordable feeds for their birds and fish. Dr. Bush Abraham Abba is the farm consultant on bee keeping and fingerlings production. He said the farm has witnessed rapid growth in the last few years. They have built over 200 bee hives for bee-keeping which will soon take off.
Abraham stressed that the current production of fingerlings cannot meet the demands of farmers in Abuja and other states in the North, adding that they are therefore planning to expand production capacity. Mohammed Abubakar is also into the production of tuber crops. He has six hectares of farmland, which contains about 40,000 yams. The IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture), Ibadan offered invitation to him for intensive training on seed multiplications of yam. The Ibadan-based institute discovered that yam farmers pay more for seed now than before, while the Bill Gate foundation is sponsoring the programme on seed multiplication of yams so as to bring down the cost of seeds for the ordinary yam farmers. Alhaji Abubakar lamented that in this country, ‘we are still having problem of storage facilities; we have not conquered the technology of giving ourselves good storage,’ which affects yam storage in the country. He also attempted poultry but failed because of poor management.  “I had confidence in the farm manager I employed. I was a public servant so I had less time then,” he said. Mohammed recounted the bitter experience: “I gave him a house, gave him a vehicle to run the place. After nine months, by the time I went for auditing I discovered that the whole thing had collapsed. After auditing, I realized I lost N12 million and that was in 2001. That forced me to abandon the poultry farming.”  He however said he plans to reopen the poultry farm. 22 August 2013, Source: http://dailytrust.info

 

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