Niger Loses Farmlands To Army Worms

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello
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From Saka Bolaji -Minna

Niger State Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Kabiru Abbas Musa, has disclosed that farmers in four local government areas of Niger state have lost crops worth millions of naira to the invasion of army worms.

According to him, the army worms have invaded farmlands in these four local government areas causing the farmers to lose their crops.

The Commissioner said that the state government has taken steps towards preventing the spread of the army worms to other local government areas.

It will be recalled that the United Nations has alerted countries including Nigeria about the invasion of the army worm which is currently destroying crops worldwide.

Musa stated this at the flag-off of fertilizer distribution for 2017 dry season farming by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at Tungan Kawo in Wushishi local government of Niger state.

He said that the local government areas affected include Wushishi, Masegu, Mariga and Magama adding that necessary measures which includes distributing insecticides is being taken to ensure that the invasion do not affect the wet season farming.

“The army worms have ravaged farms in four local government areas. We are taking steps towards curtailing it. We have to make sure it does not spread.”

He warned the farmers not to sell the farm inputs given to them adding that any farmer caught selling the inputs will never benefit from any programme and intervention promoted by the state government.

Musa then stated that the state government was working hard towards ensuring that fertilizers and other inputs get to the farmers at the grassroots before the commencement of the rainy season to enable the farmers get bumper harvest.

The Niger state Coordinator of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Mathew Ahmed, said that 550 farmers from 12 cluster groups are benefiting from the programme adding that each farmer will be given four bags of NPK, two bags of urea as well as herbicide and seedlings.

He said that IFAD is succeeding in his determination to increase the yield of the rural farmers in the state, “in the past, the average yield of the farmers was 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare but now, the farmers have started harvesting from 3 to 6 tonnes per hectare due to our intervention.”

Ahmed lamented that most of the farmers sell the inputs given to them in the past, instead of using it in their farms adding that this is affecting the yield that is being expected.

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