Youths excited over profits from watermelon business
I’m targeting N.9m this year – Farmer
From Ali Rabiu Ali, Dutse
Media Trust Limited
Jigawa State’s main harvest during this time is watermelon, which is now produced by a number of young people. Young people were thrilled in many parts of the state as harvests produced plenty results despite the difficulty of coping with the high cost of inputs like fertiliser, and the apparent expensive cost of fuel to pump water to the farms. Most of the farmers are under 40 years of age and expect to make profits in their watermelon farming business. The majority of young people in the state’s Kiyawa Local Government Area, as well as other local governments in Hadejia Dutse, Malam, Ringim, Kazaure, Gagarawa, Birnin Kudu, Gwaram, Buji, Jahun, Miga, and parts of Gumel, Guri and Malammadori are involved in the business. Shuaibu Alasan of Dangoli Kiyawa Local Government Area, aged 38, who has two wives and 10 children, said that in his 10 years of farming watermelon, he had gained a lot because he was able to build a house and buy more farmlands. He said that while he made N470,000 selling watermelon last year, he may still make up to N900,000 this year despite the high cost of fertiliser and petrol. “We are facing challenges because of fertiliser. Before now, it was sold between N15,000 and N17,000 but this year, we bought it at the rate of N25,000 and N30,000,” he said. Khalid Wali, 35, a father of four, who has been growing fruit for almost eight years, claimed that his farming enabled him to purchase basics things of life. He said, “We sold a piece of watermelon during the first harvest between N400 and N350, but during second harvest it went for between N250 and N200, and even N150.” Wali said they used to transport the produce to Port Harcourt, Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu and other parts of southern Nigeria. “I am appealing to the government to try and reduce the prices of fertiliser and petrol because we spend what we get on those things,” he said. Amadu Rufa’i from Badembo village of Kiyawa Local Government Area, who has one wife and two children, said watermelon farming brought development to his village as they stopped going to other states to do business. He said, “We are now doing farming business in our village, which is better than going to Igbo and Yoruba states for the same purpose. “Last two years, I got between N500,000 and N600,000, but this year, we hope to get more than that although the prices of fertiliser and petrol for our generators have gone up.” Also, a 25-year-old Bello Usman Abdu from Badembo village, who has one wife and two children said, “We thank the Almighty Allah for the benefits and progress we had as a result of watermelon farming.” He said that before now, he used to borrow farms and collect loans, but as time went on, he started owning farms and stopped taking loans, adding, “I am now standing on my feet.” He also said that people from villages, especially women and children, could now work on his farms to earn a living. Daily Trust on Sunday reports that trailers and J5 Peugeot buses are mainly used in transporting watermelon to parts of the country for sale.