Imperative Of Embracing Off-season Farming

Imperative Of Embracing Off-season Farming

Traditional pattern of agriculture, particularly land cultivation, has remained unreservedly subsistence, and dependent on the season where the onset of the rains signal the farming period.   

However, it is widely acknowledged that some form of dry-season farming has existed in parts of the country for several centuries where subsistence agriculture is sustained aided by some form of irrigation. In this practice, mostly perishable produce are cultivated which include; tomatoes, vegetables, pepper, cucumber and onions among others.

While they form the bulk of daily needs across far-flung parts of the country, they can hardly sustain the veritable needs of the ever burgeoning national population whose food demand is largely insatiable.

Besides, these items sustained through subsistence irrigation are not cash crops and cannot mitigate the increasing crave for staples and whole grains which are the basis for survival of many homes.

It is getting further precarious from the challenges posed by climate change and related factors that have imperiled reliance on the traditional rain pattern to grow our food crops which have continued to be in short supply.

With restrictions on the importation of certain foodstuff, including rice which is a basic staple in most average homes in Nigeria, it calls for a more coordinated effort at all levels of governance to further boost production of grains towards meeting national demands.

We are wary that despite efforts by the Federal Government to sustain grains production locally, there are several under-currents which work against the tide to achieve the same. Saboteurs and dubious businessmen continue to illegally import these items to the detriment of our national economy in spite of unrelenting anti-contraband efforts.

The rising wave of insecurity which has further dampened the zeal of many a small-householder farmer to go to the farm, has further worsened the concern over food security as the few areas free from the onslaught by bandits and terrorists are unable to meet up with their capacity as in past given the vagaries of climatic conditions which are daily worsening and can no longer uphold hitherto traditional farming patterns.

With our declining agricultural output, occasioned by climate change, insecurity and declining incentives from stakeholders, it is doubtful if food security would not add up to our large number of distresses. We may be taken unawares by this waiting catastrophe if we fail to collectively stand up to the challenge at hand.

In areas where the ferocity of insurgency is mitigated and manageable, there is the need to carry out enhanced extension services where farmers can effectively manage ever shrinking resources at their disposal. The farmers more than ever, need exposure to improved seedlings and modern farming techniques that would engender huge yields.

It is also necessary to encourage more farmers towards enhancing their profiles by switching from the drudgery of subsistence farming to a more technology-driven cultivation so as to enjoy the benefits that accrue from such.

Apart from saving cost, time and enhanced productivity, there are numerous other benefits which include shaking off the back-breaking effects of the ‘cutlass and hoe’ farming method.              

With climate change now a feature still tasking our collective capacities in different areas, we cannot afford to remain glued to our traditional farming pattern. It is time to engage all-year round farming in which the uncertainties which come along with changing climate can be overcome. There must be more investment in irrigation-driven farming alongside technology that enhances the use of modern equipment for enhanced productivity.We are confident that our agricultural researches which point the light as to which crops thrive in irrigated-farming systems are not to merely dot our books but to provide relevance for which farmers can thrive in their enterprise and consequently provide needed food for our ever-growing population.While, we continue to urge our governments to continue in their avowed commitment to neutralise insurgents and terrorists towards enhancing safer communities towards returning to their vocation of farming, there is an urgent need to forestall the spread of insecurity with all intensity. 

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Off-season farming