Farmers in Kaduna State have harvested a total of 723,971.56 metric tons of Ginger in the 2017 cropping season.
Ginger is being produced in Kachia, Jemaa, Zangon Kataf, Zonkwa, Kagarako, Jaba, Kaura, Kajuru, Sanga, and Lere Local Government Areas of the state.
Ginger is used largely for industrial and private consumption across the globe.
Reuben Sonkob, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Evaluation at the State Agricultural Development Agency (KADA) said the figure was realised in spite of the challenges farmers faced during the season.
“Our records for 2017 showed that Ginger farmers harvested 723,971.56 tons of the crop in 2017 in spite of various challenges the farmers faced in the course of cultivating the crop,’’ Sonkob said.
The state Chairman, Ginger Farmers Association, Nuhu Najira, said apart from the 9,560 members of the association, other farmers were also engaged in the production of the commodity.
He however said that lack of credit facility and poor financing from government and the private sector had limited the scope of cultivation of ginger in the state.
According to him, commercial banks are not willing to lend to farmers at single digit interest rate while the Federal Government Anchor Borrowers program had not approved the more than 5,000 applications it received from ginger farmers during the season.
“Commercial banks are asking for 28 per cent interest rate for farmers to access credit facility from them.
“We had negotiated to reach up to 12 per cent interest but the banks declined and insisted on 28 per cent,” the chairman said.
He also identified lack of modern inputs and facilities to accelerate farming such as quality seeds, tractors, fertilizer and chemicals from the state government as other impediments limiting ginger cultivation in the state.
“The last time we received these inputs was in 2014 and since then, we go through all the processes individually and as an association, but to no avail.
“Again, after production we face another set of challenges of poor pricing and so much interference by middlemen.
“This has led to the fall in the prices of the commodity both at local and the international market.
“In 2017, the prices of the commodity dropped to as low as N8, 000 from N17, 000 per bag in the local market and similar drop was recorded in the international markets.
“This happened at a time when farmers spent as much as between N900, 000 and N1.2 million as cost of production per hectare.’’
The chairman also noted that the farmers require modern storage facilities for their produce to maintain quality so as to attract good price at the international market.
He explained that local storage of the commodity had resulted in losses to farmers due to exposure to different kinds of contaminations which reduced the quality and standard required for export.
However, Francis Danfulle, Deputy Director, Agric Extension Services at KADA, explained that ginger farmers did not access funding support through the Anchor Borrower Programme due to the refusal of farmers that benefited from the facility to pay back loans granted them in 2016.
According to him, more than 30, 000 farmers applied for Anchor Borrowers credit facility when it was introduced in 2016 and 11, 000 of them cultivating other crops were unable to pay back the loan granted them.
He explained that it was a revolving loan, which would only be granted to those in need when previous beneficiaries paid up.
On access to fertiliser, Danfulle said the state government only facilitated the supply of the commodity by private companies who sale at government approved price of N5, 500 per bag.
He said that the same policy applied to other farming inputs.
The official stressed that in spite of the hitches, Kaduna state remains the highest producer of ginger in the country.
The deputy director said with the support of extension workers, farmers now harvest 20 tonnes per hectare, but said the ginger farmers still need to adhere strictly to international rules of drying and storage in order to reap maximum benefit.
“Most farmers prefer to manage their crops by themselves, instead of following the guidelines from the extension service workers,“ he noted.
Ginger is being grown in the southern part of Kaduna state for domestic use for ages while commercial production began around 1927.
Available records showed that by 1966 Nigeria had become the second largest world exporter of ginger after China.
However, exports fell due to the Nigerian civil war, unattractive prices and poor support from government, and since then Nigeria’s production was overtaken by India and China.
Out of the figure being cultivated in the country, 10 per cent is reported to be locally consumed as fresh ginger while 90 per cent is dried primarily for export.
Nigeria is the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India, and the Nigerian ginger is well known and on high demand across the globe.
A large percentage of the commodity is exported to China, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France, United States of America, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Sudan and Ghana, among others.