Unlike in the recent past, irrigation farmers in Funtua, Katsina State, concentrated less on wheat production this year because of its low yield and market price compared to tomato.
In the last three years, there was massive cultivation of wheat in the area in response to the government’s policy of reviving local production of the produce.
According to the farmers, the wheat policy was not as strong and efficient as that of rice, hence, many of them turned away from its cultivation.
Aminu Maikudi, a wheat farmer in Funtua said rice production was more promising and that government paid more attention to it than wheat which was responsible for the diminishing interest of its production.
“When we produced it in the last two years, we were left with the market to decide our fate but God was so kind that we did not lose but we even earned more in the production of tomato and other crops,” Maikudi said.
He added that for farmers to embrace and enjoy wheat production, government needs to set a premium price for it besides the inputs it gives farmers.
Another farmer from Dandume, Musa Auwalu, said there was no incentive that could convince him into wheat farming.
“If you are used to the production of tomato, cabbage, onion and potato, I don’t think there is an incentive that can draw you to wheat production considering its yield and the market price. An acre can best give you 12 bags of wheat while if it is Irish potato you can get up to 30 bags.”
Auwalu added that tomato farmers this year were gearing to smile to their banks as the price started on a good note compared to previous years.
“This week, a big basket of tomato was sold at N2,700 farm price.
Extended rainfall as experienced last year and closure of land borders indicated that tomato farmers have a better chance of earning huge revenue this year, hence wheat is scarce in most irrigation sites,” Musa Auwalu said.
This reporter gathered that the market price of wheat was N23,000 and that there was every chance for it to go higher because there was not much of it in the farms.
A wheat dealer at Funtua market, Sanusi Muhammad, said every farm produce has its fortune time depending on forces of supply and demand.
“Wheat is our everyday food just like tomato and onions and I bet you in no distant time some farmers will regret why they did not produce it. There is the tendency of its price going high this year considering how farmers paid more attention to the cultivation of vegetables and tuber.”
Muhammad stressed that the tomato or potato yield cannot be compared to that of wheat but wheat has more certainty in terms of price and it is not perishable therefore, can be stored for future sale.
“Yes tomato can give you over 300 big baskets but which will sell at fluctuating price and you cannot store it for long but wheat has a guaranteed price besides, its cost of production is by far less than that of tomato or potato,” Sanusi added.