Some ginger farmers in Bwari Area Council of the FCT have called on the Federal Government to investigate and curb the spread of a strange disease attacking ginger farms.
The farmers made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
They said that the strange disease was attacking ginger farms in Kaduna State.
They expressed concern that the disease may spread beyond its major producing state, into neighbouring communities with smaller producing farms.
Mr Akuso Philip, one of the farmers in Bwari, said that the disease, which was suspected to be fungal in nature, need government’s swift response to tackle the spread against production of the cash crop.
“We need government research institutes alongside Crop Disease Control to hastily salvage the situation by taking samples to investigate the disease because we do not even know what it is.
“If care is not taken and government does not act fast, we may not have ginger samples to produce with next year because the disease is killing the crop to the roots and Nigeria is a major producer.
“We have never seen anything like this on ginger, it starts with spots on the leaves, and then it will turn red and suddenly dries up the leaves down to the roots, killing the crop,’’ he said.
Philip said that the worst was when you applied fertiliser on the crop; it would spread faster, that you could actually set it on fire.
““I have a bag of fertiliser that I bought for my ginger farm, but I cannot apply it because my crop has been infected already.
““I don’t even know how to go about it. I’m just watching and praying hard with others that it will not spread to their farms until a solution comes,’’ he said.
Another farmer, Mr Yakubu Ezra, said he collected a bank loan to produce the crop this farming season seeing how lucrative the business had been since he started in 2020.
Ezra who said that his farm was situated on the border between Kaduna state and Bwari in the FCT, expressed regret and disappointment after putting efforts and the unexpected happened.
According to him, he doesn’t produce any other crop aside ginger and is devestated that his farm was affected with the breakout.
“The disease started around July in Jaba Local Government Area which is close to Bwari and my farm is around that axis and by mid-August, my farm was infected.
“”This happened with no information on how to salvage the situation. We tried different types of pesticides including pesticides for beans to see if it will work, but to no avail.
“”Some abandoned their farms and have given up on the situation, but we are hopeful that our outcry will get to the relevant authorities and stakeholders to find solution to the challenge,” Ezra said.
NAN reports that ginger farmers in Southern Kaduna, who are major producers of the commodity, have suffered a setback in production following the attack by the strange disease.
This had led to loss in billions of Naira for both farmers and the economy.