Dealers of yam produce in Anambra have expressed dismay over poor yields due to early harvest caused by heavy rains and flash floods.
Some dealers, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Ose Market, Onitsha on Tuesday, expressed displeasure that the produce regarded as “king of crops” recorded poor yields.
NAN reports that yam species known locally as “Mumuye’’, “Ekpe’’, “Obiaotulugo’’, “Adaka’’, “Onegbe’’ and “Akpana’’ are sold between N200 and N800 per tuber depending on the size.
The Chairman, Yam Farmers, Producers and Marketers Association, Mr Obiajulu Nwoye, explained that there were two seasons for yam in the state – the season for big tubers and that of seedlings.
“We started harvesting the big tubers in late May because most of them were planted in the river areas and are being affected by flash floods and heavy rains.
“Most of the farmers did not get the size of tubers they anticipated as a result of the heavy flooding which also started in July,” the chairman said.
Nwoye said most of the farmers, who took loan, would be adversely affected by the poor yields.
According to him, even those who relied on personal money to plant the yam will be affected in next farming season because they may not be able to cultivate as much as they usually do.
Nwoye urged the government to consider intervening in yam cultivation like it did for rice, cassava and fishery by providing loans to them through the association to boost the economy.
A dealer, Mr Daniel Okafor, who said he had been into yam business for 12 years, said 2018 harvest was better because it was carried out late, around September.
“This year, we harvested our yam earlier due to flood; our yam did not yield well. Even the market sale is dull.
“People just come and bargain and leave without buying, saying the commodity is expensive.
“But what can we do now that we are already operating at loss,” he said.
Another dealer, Mr Sylvester Nwabunwanne said “when you see the yam, you will know it is not okay; you can see that there the smaller yams are more than the big sized tubers.
“We understand that the Kainji Dam has been opened; we appeal to government to close it for a while because it is affecting farmers,” Nwabunwanne said.
Mrs Uche Ubah, a farmer, who said that she cultivated 5,000 yams, noted that the problem of too much water did not allow the yam to grow as it should.
Ubah said that the hope of harvesting big tubers between August and September was dashed due to floods and heavy rains.