There has been massive cultivation of beans, also known as cowpea, in Katsina State this year. This is in contrast to what was obtainable in the state in the past years.
Our correspondent in the state reports that in the past 10 years, farmers only planted the crop as an attachment to their main crops, without giving it special care.
That was the main reason the produce was always in short supply, thereby jerking up its price in the state.
Daily Trust reports that cowpea farmers in the state are now rushing to buy the needed pesticides for beans cultivation, which the dealers have cashed in on to increase prices.
Alhaji Sani Abdullahi, a farmer in Faskari LGA, attributed the farmers’ interest in the crop this year to its present high economic value.
“Besides the agricultural revolution that is gradually taking place in the country, farmers are now veering away from subsistence to profit-oriented farming; and cowpea is always an expensive commodity, costing N18,000 and at times N30,000 per 100Kg every year. That is why almost every farm is a cowpea farm in this area, today, despite the difficulties in its cultivation,” he explained.
He noted that new technology, innovation and right information to farmers were fast simplifying the production of the crop in the state.
“The choice of right seeds was a serious issue to farmers in the past but the availability of herbicides, pesticides varieties and different improved seeds have now simplified everything for the farmers,” he added.
Another farmer, Malam Yusha’u Aliyu, said cowpea production was going hand in hand with maize farming this year as every maize farm is a potential cowpea farm.
“Just like the way we are combining soybeans with sorghum in our farms to maximize output and revenue, maize farms are generally used to plant cowpea in the months of July to September. And in the event that the farmer has no interest to plant cowpea, he leased the space out to others who would plant the crop amidst his maize. The idea is that maize would be harvested in no distant time, allowing the cowpea to spread and blossom,” he said.
He added that in the recent past, only soybeans and rice farms were spared of cowpea but the situation is no longer the same this year.
“The interesting thing now is the way farmers are becoming more innovative. If soybeans is planted early, let say first week of May, in mid August when it begins to ripen, cowpea can be planted. Similarly, those that plant rice early are now planting cowpea in the same farm after the rice harvest. This is to boost the output of the farm and the revenue of the farmer,” he said.
Malam Yusha’u, however, regretted that the incessant rainfall experienced this year has destroyed many cowpea farms, particularly those in the lowlands. However because the crop enjoyed massive cultivation, the effect of the rainfall was not very much felt.
Alhaji Rufa’i, an agro allied products dealer, said the massive farming of beans in the state this year has affected the supply and price of pesticides.
“Massive cultivation of cowpea has resulted to high demand for pesticides which hiked the price with some products like ‘Best’ and ‘Best Action’ Cypermethrine enjoying 100% increase. Sharp Shooter is now sold at N4,800 per litre instead of N2,500 that it was sold last year. The irony of it is the way farmers are trooping to buy them despite the hike in their prices.
This shows how determined the farmers are to get maximum output of cowpea from their farms,” he said.