By Elechi Kosisochukwu
A FARM is an area of land that is devoted primarily to agricultural processes with the primary objective of producing crops. It is also the basic facility for food production.
Farming is growing crops and animals by people for food and raw materials.
Dry season farming is the best way of guaranteeing food security in any nation. Local farmers in the country often complain about the unpredictabity of rain as the reason for poor crop yield and food shortage, there by making dry season the best for planting and storage.
It is important to note that increase in food demand is matched with adequate supply. One major way of meeting this demand is by dry season farming.
It is recommended to plant your vegetables along the river side as this is a less expensive solution than to pump all the water yourself.
A source who reported to be a farmer said that dry season farming improved food availability. It is also a challenging period for farmers.
He also added that dry season farming depends on making the best use of the “river bank” of soil moisture that was created by winter rainfall.
According to him, he works on the farm on seasonal bases and evacuate from it during rainy season due to flood and erosion.
He said that clay soil was the best for vegetable farming and that the crops should be watered on daily bases (morning and evening) in order to help the roots stand.
He mentioned some of the vegetables we have to include pumking leave, bitter leave, ewedu, among others and the kind of crops he plants during dry season to include water melon, carrots, onions, okra , plantain, cassava etc.
He said that leaf vegetables include cabbage, spinach etc which contains high level of vitamin A and C, seed vegetables such as flageolet beans etc which is higher in calories, iron and magnesium. Other kinds of vegetable include bud vegetables, Root vegetables, fruit vegetables etc.
According to him NPK fertilizer is the type of fertilizer used in vegetable farming and after 21 days of planting, the crop matures and ready for harvest. He added that huge amount of money was used to start up his farming business and that he plants for commercial purposes and for family consumption.
He further reported that he encountered some damages on the crop and that the damages are caused by grass cutters, ants and other animals.
Another source, Mr. Eze Ibeabuchi, said he had been in the business for over 20years. According to him, he came back from the city, during the hardship period and has no other option than to continue with farming.
Mr. Eze currently has eight children and has succeeded in training two of his daughters in the University with the help of his farm work. He feeds his family only through the gains he gets from selling his crops.
According to Eze, he did not use any money to start the business because he inherited his late fathers land. He also said that the farm land generates 60% income used in running the business. He sometimes employs four to five persons in each farm with him and some of his children. He currently has six farm and many lands for next farming season.
He said: “there is what we call land rotation in agriculture and there are some crops that do take almost a year to mature.” So for that reason, you will not farm on that same land next dry season, except on the ones that take six months to mature. Mr Eze plant different kinds of crops like cassava, yam maize even lemon and he also has vegetables, tomatoes and pepper.
He disclosed that youths can engage in it to stand on their own and bulid their families Mr. Eze emphasised that he encounters challenges in form of damages by ants, grass- cutter and animals like goats and fowls.
He said he had planned to embark on some capital projects with the proceeds from the sales of his crops but with the destruction of his crops, such hope has been dashed.
Vegetable glut is another challenge that farmers encounter, this is the period when many farmers crops mature and are brought to the market for sell at the same time.
It occurs in a while and brings down the price of vegetables considerably and they are quickly perishable. A farmer at this stage has to sell at whatever price he can get in order to avoid total loss.