Some farmers in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers have decried the scarcity of cassava stems in the area, saying it would hamper cassava production if not checked.
The farmers expressed concern over the situation in separate interviews in Etche .
They called on relevant government agencies to ensure the availability of improved cassava stem species for farmers in the area and the entire state.
They complained that they now bought cassava stems at prices higher than what they were sold during the 2016 planting season.
One of them, Chukwuma Obioma, said that the scarcity had affected his cultivation plan for this year’s planting season.
He said “I buy cassava stems at double the price that I bought in 2016; this situation has affected my plans for the season.
“Ordinarily, my cassava farm should have been ready for weeding this month, but I am still searching for good specie of cassava stem to buy.”
Mrs Nkiru Samuel, another farmer, said that the current scarcity had become a source of worry to many farmers in the area.
She said “in the past, cassava stems were easy to come by as you could get supplies from your neighbours if you do not have any. But today, the story has changed.
“We are watching our farms overgrown with weeds due to the scarcity of stems to plant. Sometimes, it is difficult to find them in the market,’’ she said.
Also, Mrs Gloria Aleru, another cassava farmer, said that the cassava would be scarce and costly in the area next year because of the situation.
She said that many farmers were already planting other crops in their farms which were previously planned for cassava cultivation.
“The implication is that cassava products will be scarce in this area next year.The situation scares me,” she said.
Meanwhile, a check by NAN in some markets in the area showed that a bunch of cassava stem that previously sold for N400 now sells for N1000.