Ginger from Kagarko, Jaba and Kachia local government areas in southern Kaduna, also the major ginger producing areas in Nigeria, is reputed to be the world’s best.
Ginger is produced in large quantity in Nok, Tsakiya and Kwoi in Jaba LGA, Walijo, Maraban Walijo and Gidan Mana in Kachia LGA and Kubacha, Aribi and Katugal in Kagarko LGA, all in Kaduna State.
Ginger is one of the most widely used food seasoning in modern diets. It’s actually part of the plant family that includes turmeric cardamom which may explain why the health benefits are so extraordinary.
According to the enchanter dictionary, ginger comes from rhizomes. A rhizome is an underground stem that grows horizontally and forms roots downwards while leaves and new stems sprout top. Buds then form at intervals along each stem. The Chinese and Indians have used ginger tonics to treat ailments for over 4,700 years, and it was a priceless commodity during the Roman Empire trade because of its medicinal properties.
Ginger has many health benefits including checking stroke and heart diseases, indigestion and nausea, malabsorption, compromised immunity and respiratory function, bacterial infections, fungal infections, ulcers, pain, cancers, diabetes, cholesterol and arthritis, which is probably why many people are engaged in ginger farming and sale.
Farmers who spoke to Daily Trust revealed their experiences in farming ginger. Alhaji Sulaiman Jamo Kagarko, who has been in the occupation for close to two decades, said ginger cultivation, if properly supported by government, would be a major revenue earner.
“I started farming small quantities of ginger for the past 17 years. But gradually, as of this season, I cultivated 10 hectares of ginger and 8 hectares of turmeric.
The demand is increasing every year and many people are now in the business but the only problem is lack of fertilizer and insecticides,” he said.
He said government has to be serious in diversifying the nation’s economy by assisting farmers.
Yohanna Usman from Gidan Mana in Kachia Local Government Area told Daily Trust that last season, government didn’t supply them fertilizer in time.
“We need to be supplied fertilizer in proper time so that we can do as much as possible,” he said.
Alhaji Kabiru Tanko Jama’a (Ciroman Jama’a) said though he was new in the ginger business, he believed that it’s only when government comes to their aid that farmers would celebrate.
“One of the major problems we face in ginger cultivation is instability of prices. Many farmers go into large-scale production as demand increases, but most of cry when the price goes down,” he said.
He said a 40kg bag of ginger that was sold in last season for N25, 000 is now down at N10, 000.
“As an international business, the naira/dollar saga is contributing to price instability, but government can stabilize it by creating a price control board. Government can create, for example, a ginger marketing board which I believe can protect farmers from heavy losses.
He said the business is improving and many buyers are flooding to the country from Europe, Asia, Middle East and other African countries to buy Nigerian ginger because it is the best in the world.
“But government needs to do something quickly, I hope Nigeria will very soon overcome her recession and shine again,” he said.
Dangana Habu from Kurmin Musa in Kachia Local Government Area told Daily Trust that his parents were ginger farmers.
“Our parents were just farming ginger for home use, they were not selling it because there were no buyers at the time. People didn’t know how important it was to their lives. But now, we are gaining a lot from ginger farming. Producers of ginger are now enjoying. We are investing what we get from the farming to other sectors, we are buying cars, building houses and taking care of our children and younger ones. I don’t have time for government job because I’m satisfied with farming. My in-law has a master’s degree but he is now farming ginger in our village because he is getting what he wants.
Dangana said government has a role to play in boosting the occupation and uplifting it.
“But our problem is that we don’t have a body, even at the local level, a union that can unite us and guide us. Government knows more than us, the ways they can link us. People come from India, China, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Chad, Turkey and America to buy ginger from us. The government will benefit more from the revenue,” he said.
Maryam Musa from Samarun Kataf in Jaba said she had been in ginger business for three years, and described it as a fulfilling trade.
She said she cultivated ginger in three hectares of land this year and was able to renovate her mother’s house, set up some of her siblings in a trade and paid for her other siblings’ school fees with the profit she made from last year’s harvest.
She added: “There is a lot of gain in ginger farming, but the major challenge is that one cannot determine the price of the commodity by the time the harvest season approaches. At times a 40kg bag of ginger sells for between N35,000 and N40,000 and it can also sell for as low as between N20,000 and N25,000. So, a farmer who has spent a lot during the planting season can lose a lot of money during the harvest season, it’s like a gamble.”