Jathropha farming embraced by farmers in Jigawa State during the administration of then governor Saminu Turaki, in 2014, has been abandoned owing to lack of market.
Jathropha is a crop that does not require much to manage; it only needs weeding at the beginning of cropping.
Experts say jathropha can be used to produce some medicines as well as fossil oil.
One does not require more than N100,000 to optimally cultivate a hectare of jathropha.
When the crop was introduced to farmers in the state, they were told that there would be ready market for their produce as off-takers from abroad had indicated interest in the produce. They were encouraged to go into the cultivation of the crop having been told that the produce was needed for the production of fossil oil and medicines.
But to their disappointment, after cultivating the crop for two years, they were stucked with the commodity as nobody came to them to buy it.
Failure by government to provide off-takers for the farmers as earlier promised led to the collapse of jathropha farming in the state.
When the programme for cultivating the crop was introduced, all the 27 local government councils in the state were also directed to plant jathropha crops along the major streets of the headquarters as a means of beautifying the landscape.
But following the non-viability of the programme, most of the farmers abandoned it. The project in the councils’ headquarters also suffered same fate as the beautiful Jathropha landscape has disappeared.
However, there are few farmers, largely big time farmers that still cultivate the crop in the state.
One of such farmers is the former Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, who is said to have several hectares of the crop.
But all efforts by our reporter to speak to him on how he is farming the crop despite the present market scenario proved abortive as he declined to comment.
The former police boss asked this reporter to speak to his farm manager, who also refused to talk.
But the state chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Maianguwa Jaga, told Daily Trust that a year after the crop was introduced in the state, its farming collapsed.
He said when it was introduced; many embraced it because they were assured of ready market. He, however, lamented that at first harvest, those who cultivated it were disappointed as the promised off-takers failed to turn up.
To compound the unfulfilled promise of off-takers for the commodity, there is no local market for the produce, making those that produced it in large quantities to incur losses, the AFAN chairman added.
“The jathropha farming programme was introduced in the state around 2014, during the administration of former governor Saminu Turaki.
“The programme did not last beyond a year because after the first harvest, farmers were forced to abandon the cultivation of the crop because what they produced is still with them without market for it.”
Dahiru Mohammed Harbo is the chairman of AFAN in Jahun Local Government Area, who said at present there is no single Jathropha farmer in his LGA. He said no farmer will continue to produce what he cannot sell.
He added that early this year, the issue was revisited as some forms were distributed to them with a view to getting them back into the cultivation of the crop but since then they have not heard from those that issued them with the forms.
Farming of the crop has since collapsed in the state. One can only see such crops in farms that used it for fencing only.
“There is no local market for the crop but our farmers got into farming of the crop because we were promised a ready market but the market promised to our farmers did not materialise, so its farming collapsed,” the AFAN chairman said.
When Daily Trust visited the farm of Idris Mohammed Mai Anguwa, in Birnin Kudu Local Government Area, the only remaining part of the crop that he planted in 2014 is what now stands as fence for his farm.
On why he stopped cultivating the crop, Mai Anguwa said, when it was introduced to them they went for it but their first harvest could not get market despite the promises made to them by the authorities.
“In my first harvest, I got five bags of 100 kg but since then I have been keeping them until of recent when I discarded them. We cannot continue to farm what we cannot sell,” he also said.
But Alhaji Mohammed Milo, the chairman of jathropha farmers in the state, said farmers are still interested in farming the crop if government would provide the market.
“Of recent, many came to me expressing their interest to join in farming of jathropha. All that we needed is to have an enabling environment,” he said.
SOURCE: Aliyu M. (2017), VIEW LINK.