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Nigeria - Early rain threatens Katsina tomato farms

Farmers in Katsina State have expressed concern over the early rainfall experienced recently in some parts of the state. There are fears this will have a damaging effect on tomato especially. Early rainfall is said to generate heat which destroys the tomato plant; it also occasions the early evolution of pests especially tuta absoluta which damages the fruit.

Muhammad Saminu Dantankari said they are not praying for rainfall to come this early as they are on the first phase of their irrigation farming. “Irrigation farming is much more successful in harmattan season when the atmosphere and soil temperature are conducive for the crops but when it progresses to heat season, adequate watering is required. Rainfall at that period is dangerous to the crops; it will generate too much heat for the plants to bear and when it persists, pests tend to evolve.”

He added that though they have no control over nature other than prayers, many of them avoid this situation by starting the irrigation activities as early as November, especially when cultivating tomatoes.

Most of the farmers were at the harvesting stages of their tomato and the market price of the commodity has significantly appreciated with a small basket selling at N600 to N800 and big basket N1,800 to N2,400 depending on the variety and quality of the produce.

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