Groundnut farmers in Sokoto State have only recently harvested their crops but they say they are at present in trying times.
“Groundnut farmers in Sokoto are in a trying period because absence of support and the forex crash which led to the demise of off takers have contributed to decline in mass groundnut production,” Chairman Sokoto Groundnut Farmers Association, Alhaji Buhari Zakari, Wairin Kaffe lamented.
He said despite having about 3,000 members cutting across 11 local government areas of the state, the groundnut that they produce do not go beyond local consumption except for the little they transport to Kano State where some companies make use of it for biscuit, oil and animal feed.
Groundnut farming in Sokoto State had been facing great challenges since the forex crash and little was being done to boost the production in the state, the chairman added.
“We no longer have off takers, who would buy groundnut from farmers in large quantities for export which brings more money to us than just selling it to locals who make oil, kulikuli and biscuit,” he bemoaned.
He disclosed that his association applied for N60 million loan from a commercial bank with N15million equity but that they were yet to secure it despite all efforts to raise the amount.
“We tried to get the amount from wealthy individuals but no one is ready to assist us and we now seek for government intervention in the matter,” he said.
He underscored the potentials and economic importance of groundnut, stressing the need to support the farmers with necessary farm inputs and implement to boost its production.
The farmer recalled the role groundnut played in Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of oil and urged that drastic action be taken to restore the lost glory.
At Kofar Dora groundnut depot in Sokoto central market, a merchant, Alhaji Faruku Hussaini, noted that lack of companies in Sokoto that will buy from them was a major challenge.
“Our customers are those who make oil locally and small cottage industries,’’ he said.
He said they got supply mostly from Tambuwal, Yabo, Shagari, Bodinga, kware and Dange Shuni local government areas on daily basis.
Hussaini said sometimes they also go to other states such as Niger and Zamfara to get supply. A measure of groundnut now cost N200 and a 100kg sack costs N7,000 while for the threshed groundnut , a measure is N550 and a sack N25,000.
The groundnut merchant said it was very much available during harvesting season between October and December and scarce in the market between June and August every year.
According to him, groundnut can remain in a good condition for a year when stored in conducive environment.
He appealed to government to support and assist the farmers to grow more for export as well as local consumption.
A retailer, Abubakar Garba, who has spent over 20 years selling groundnut, said his customers were mostly those who make groundnut oil, cakes and those that boil or roast the nuts for sale.
He said on the average, he sold a sack daily or in two days.