Some vegetable farmers in Lagos on Tuesday said that irrigation was eating deep into their pockets, calling on the Federal Government to stabilise power supply to reduce usage of power generator and its attendant costs.
The farmers whose farms are located at the Iyana-Iba, Igando area of the state, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the cost of irrigation was frustrating their efforts to provide enough vegetables and make a living.
A student-farmer, Miss Miracle Opara, told NAN that the cost of buying fuel to power generators to water the farms through boreholes increased cost of production.
“The major problem we have irrigating our farms is the cost of fuel to power pumping machines and sprayers.
“We buy fuel almost every day to water the farm. When you minus the cost of fuel from your profit, you will find out that you are spending a lot.
“As a pumpkin leaf farmer, I water my farm every two days. Other vegetables such as spring onions, green and spinach require daily watering.
“I am a student but I work with my mum in the farm because this is where my school fees come from.
“We get a paint of pumpkin leaf seeds for between N8,000 and N11,000 depending on the season. If you are a large scale farmer, the profit will be quite high, if not for fuel cost,” Opara said.
Another farmer, who simply identified himself Alhaji Issu, told NAN: “I cultivate green, spring onions, spinach and other veggies; some vegetable when well watered will be ready for harvest in four weeks.
“We spend a lot during the dry season to water our vegetable farms because we have to buy fuel to power our machines to irrigate our farms.
“We spend up to N1,000 per watering session, and sometimes have to water the farms in the morning and evening.
“The challenge we even have with the rainy season is that, when it is too heavy, it destroys part of our crops, making us to suffer loss.”
Mr Augustine Madueke, a water leaf farmer, called for government’s assistance in providing machines for irrigation, as well as pesticides.
“We need to water the farms constantly.
“We also have problems of pests eating up the vegetables and changing their colour. The eating of vegetables by insects is common during the dry season.
“After irrigating my farm extensively, I still need to spray the vegetables with herbicides to prevent insects from eating them.
“It costs me N1,500 to water my crops every two days because it is grown.
“We need help from government to procure more pumping machines, hoses, sprayers and kits,” Madueke said.