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Kaduna Ginger Blight: Nigeria Has the Purest Form of Ginger, Used in Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics, Says Senator Katung

He asked for the federal government to provide cash palliatives to the farmers to help them till the next planting season.

Member of Senate representing Kaduna South Senatorial District of Kaduna State, Sunday Marshall Katung, has said that the Federal Government needs to provide immediate solutions to the ongoing blight of ginger crops in Kaduna, as Kaduna state produces 85% of Nigeria’s ginger, highly contributing to Nigeria’s position as the 2nd highest ginger producer in the world.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday, Katung said that the ginger industry, which provides about N10 billion per quarter, has suffered greatly due to the spread of the fungi. The Disease, he said, started in July, but unfortunately did not get attention in time.

The senator had gone on to move a motion in the senate, asking that the government provide help in the combating of this crop disease, and providing palliatives to the farmers. In the interview, he said, “One of the things that we want… is to ensure that these farmers survive till the next farming season, because it’s an issue of survival. Most people have divested from farming food crops to these cash crops because of the activities of bandits who have destroyed most of the farms.

“Because ginger is embedded, it is harder to destroy, so it is more secured and providing income to them that they can use to buy food crops. But now that these fungi has destroyed this cash crop, it means that these people are left at the mercy of themselves. And the essence of government is to provide security and welfare for its citizens, and that’s why we called on the government to ensure that immediate palliatives are provided for the people.”

He also mentioned that he asked for an on-the-spot assessment of the level of destruction, the people affected by it, and cash provision given to them to provide help for them to get through till the next planting season.

Katung further said, “Southern Kaduna produces 85% of the ginger in this country, Nigeria is the second largest producer of ginger in the world, next only to India. And the Nigerian ginger is the purest form which is used principally in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. So, with what has happened, definitely, the exports and income arising from the ginger is going to be affected.

“In the 2nd quarter of 2023, Nigeria realised about N10 billion from the export of ginger. Now, you can only imagine what is going to happen going forward. It’s like a total loss that we have incurred as a country.”

Speaking on further plans that are being put in place to ensure the blight is brought under control, Katung mentioned that he had reached out to the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), saying, “We have reached out to FEMA, who are siding with the responsibility of carrying out some of the responsibilities of the prayers that we asked in that motion. And we believe that within the next few days, they are going to begin to make the right moves to see what they can do by providing, maybe, some relief materials to our people.”

He also said that the Kaduna state government is currently looking at mitigation, both for the future, and immediate measures that can be taken to mitigate the losses that the people have suffered due to this blight.

He said that the other states that produce ginger have also been affected, saying it’s an issue that requires immediate intervention from the Federal Government, both in alleviating the sufferings of the people by providing cash, and also pesticides and fungicides for the farmers.

However, when Katung was asked about the reason for Nigeria only making N10 billion per quarter in the exports of ginger, although it is the 2nd highest producer of the crop, he said, “There has been no encouragement from the Federal Government as it were. In the sense of creating an enabling environment, also providing the necessary tools that will enable these farmers grow bigger farms to enable our export increase, thereby, earning foreign exchange for the country.”

However, he said that steps are being taken to ensure that ginger farming is being brought to a bigger scale. In order to do this, he said that the government plans on increasing security in the state to curb banditry, which is one of the major discouragers of farmers. He also mentioned that plans are in the works to provide more opportunities to farmers so as to increase output of ginger and increase the level of exports as well.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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