Banana farming is mainly the pre-occupation of people in the south and some parts of central Nigeria or so most people in the far north think. But for decades banana farming has been a huge earner of cash for farmers in Maibakko Sabuwa LGA of Katsina State, Daily Trust reports.
The situation was the same for farmers in some villages in both Sabuwa and Dandume LGAs, where buyers come from Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and Giwa in Kaduna State to purchase the produce.
The ward head of Maibakko, Mai Anguwa Bala, said that banana farming in the area started over 70 years ago.
“Every household here in Maibakko has a banana farm many of which were inherited from our forefathers. Banana is one of our cash crops,” said Bala.
He added that elderly people who could not actively partake in the daily economic activities lived on proceeds from their banana farms, with a little help from banana farmers and sellers association in the area. The association’s secretary, Malam Sa’idu Musa, said that to boost banana production and curb the activities of thieves disturbing the farms informed decision to establish the Banana Farmers and Sellers Association five years ago.
“We are mandated to deal directly with the buyers who come from far and near to purchase the produce,” he said. “The rest of the farmers only await their proceeds at home. In a farm of 500 banana trees, the farmer can earn over N15,000 every two weeks when it starts bearing fruits.”
He added that Maibakko ward has about 40 villages and hamlets and 500 banana farms spread across the over four kilometer farm fields.
One of the farmers in the village, Musa Rabi’u, 30, said that they only apply fertiliser in rainy season otherwise the banana fruits would be destroyed.
“Banana farming involves a lot of work, ranging from its planting, watering, weeding and the application of organic manure as well as removing its dried leaves to allow ventilation in the farm for its rapid growth and quality fruits.”
Rabi’u said that to avoid the destruction of the fruits by birds, farmers chose to safeguard them by harvesting them when they begin to ripe.
He stated that no government or any agricultural company assist the farmers.
The vice chairman of the farmers’ association, Alhaji Muntari Maibakko, said that the intervention of government and other agricultural companies would boost banana production in the state.
“Even though over the years we have not recorded any disease or pest attack in our banana farms, there is need for government and agricultural companies to intervene, especially in the areas of improved seeds variety and cultivation,” Maibakko said.
(Culled from Dailytrust)