Niger: Farmers lose crops worth millions to army worms

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Farmers in four local government areas of Niger State have lost crops worth millions of naira to army worms, the  Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Kabiru Abbas Musa, has said.

Musa said the state government had taken steps to prevent the spread of the worms to other local government areas.

The United Nations had alerted countries including Nigeria about the invasion of army worms which were destroying crops worldwide.

Musa stated this at the commencement of this year’s fertiliser distribution for dry season farming by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at Tungan Kawo in Wushishi Local Government.

He said the local government areas affected were Wushishi, Masegu, Mariga and Magama, adding that necessary measures, which included distributing insecticides, had been taken to ensure the invasion did not affect wet season farming.

“The army worm 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 being 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 is working hard towards ensuring that fertiliser 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 Coordinator of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Matthew Ahmed, said 550 farmers from 12 cluster groups have benefitted from the programme, adding that each farmer would be given four bags of NPK, two bags of urea, herbicide and seedlings.

He said IFAD has succeeded in increasing the yield of rural farmers in the state. “In the past, the average yield of farmers was 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare but now, they have started harvesting about three to six tonnes per hectare due to our intervention.”

Ahmed lamented that most of the farmers sold the inputs given to them instead of using it on their farms. He said this would affect the expected yield.

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