Agric Minister

Just as the leadership of National Association of Onions Farmers (NAOF), in Kebbi State, has announced loss of over N1 billion worth of onions to two strange diseases affecting farms and storage facilities in the state, experts have started raising fears of possible similar attacks on rice farms.

Currently, since the total ban on rice smuggling, local rice farmers had been increasing their investments in farms and rice mills even though their products now dominating the markets remain exorbitant. Checks across Lagos and Abuja markets on Wednesday showed that whereas local rice goes between N24,000 and N25,600, scarcely available foreign rice goes for N27,000.

Explaining more on the onion infections, the Chairman of the association, Alhaji Bello Uba, noted that no fewer than 20,000 farmers were affected.

According to him, “We have lost over N1 billion to two strange and unknown diseases that emerged and affected the seeds we used as well as the shells of the already ripened onions that we put in our local storage facilities.

“We have never witnessed such kind of diseases in decades as no fewer than 20,000 farmers are now affected by the bizarre scourge,” he said.

While decrying that the two diseases, known as  Zazzalau and Raba, have no remedy for now, Uba said that NAOF had made appropriate reports to relevant agencies who are yet to find solutions.

However, the Acting Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Agriculture, Muhammad Lawal, said the ministry was not aware of the outbreak, noting that “We have no information on the outbreak of any strange disease. We don’t have any information in our records on the disease.

“I urge farmers to write to their Local Government councils of any outbreak of a strange disease for onward transmission to us and we assure that we are going to take necessary action,” Lawal said.

Business Hilights Northern Bureau chief, who reports from Yauri in Kebbi State, said the disease causes onions to decay before they are harvested even though their leave may be showing signs of infections, thereby causing massive low yield.

By Business Hilights

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.

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