Benue cowpea farmers begin cultivation

The small-holder farmers in the state have continued to cultivate cowpea over the years for their household consumption and to generate income.

Farmers in Benue State have started cultivating cowpea (beans) in order to reap bountifully during the harvest expected in November, this year.
Cowpea cultivation in the state is believed to be rapidly increasing when compared with other crops such as yam, sesame, maize and cassava.
The small-holder farmers in the state have continued to cultivate cowpea over the years for their household consumption and to generate income.
One of the farmers, Mrs. Elahi Elijah, said her 20 hectare cowpea farm in Otukpo area of the state was cultivated three weeks ago, and she has high hope that the crop would do fine as the rains sustain it.
She said the timing was right for the planting to avoid a repeat of her experience last year due to late planting and early stoppage of rainfall then which affected her overall yields.
Another farmer, Victor Edoga, said improved seeds he got from a colleague was planted only a month ago with expectation of increased yields by the end of October and maximised profit.
As for, Vitalis Tarnongu, his 40-hectares of cowpea plantation within the surroundings of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi would produce good harvest from the look of things, he said.
He said the plants were already doing well when compared with last year’s experience.
“Last year’s experience was terrible for me. My cowpea farm was infested and the harvest turned out to be poor but I’m hoping, from the look of things, that I will have high yield in this year’s harvest,” he said.
Tarnongu maintained that cowpea does well on Benue soil and that he had enjoyed bountiful harvest over the years except for some infestations which his farm suffered last year, adding that measures had been taken to ensure good agro practices for a bumper harvest this right time.
Our correspondent reports that an Associate Professor of Plant Breeding and Seed Science, Dr. Lucky Omoigui, of the Federal University of Agriculture (FUAM) in Makurdi has consistently called on government and farmers in the country to take advantage of the health and economic advantages which cowpea farming provides to invest heavily in the production of the crop in the country.
Omoigui had emphasised that cowpea is an important crop in Nigeria as it provides food and cash for farmers as well as fodder for livestock, pointing out that cowpea does well in Benue.
However, farmers in Benue are still mostly cultivating the crop at small scale, for household consumption and some income for family needs.

Source: Daily Trust

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