By Maureen Ojinaka-Nwanosike
Many residents of Enugu, particularly those living on the outskirts of the city, have turned farmers due to the high cost of “garri” in the market.
The residents have embarked on cassava farming.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that “garri” — processed cassava flakes — is a popular staple food in Nigeria.
A NAN correspondent, who monitored the situation on Wednesday, observed that many residents had begun to clear fallow plots of lands for cassava farming this cropping season.
NAN gathered that the rising cost of “garri” might have necessitated this move, as the people were compelled to look for pragmatic ways of sustaining their families.
A teacher, Mr Edwin Mba, underscored the need for the citizens to engage in farming and produce some of the foods they consumed, adding that cassava remained the easiest and most reliable crop they could cultivate.
“We must all get back to the farm in order to sustain our individual families or else, our children will all die of hunger,’’ he said.
A resident, Mrs Ijeoma Ugwu, said that she could no longer afford to buy “garri” in large quantities because its price had spiralled from N700 to N1,200 per “paint rubber’’ container.
She, however, expressed the optimism that the situation would be better in 2018 since she had embarked on cassava farming.
“I think the current high cost of `garri’ has taught me some hard lessons.
“I believe that next year will be much better because I am going to harvest cassava tubers for my family’s consumption and for sales,’’ she said.
A youth corps member, Mr Jude Onoja, said that he had already cleared four plots of land in his village in Benue, in preparation for cassava farming.
He said that if he was able to generate enough income from cassava farming, there would not be any need for him to look for a salaried job.
Besides, Mrs Ugochi Ibe, a civil servant, said that she had already sent some money to her relations in her village to help her to plant some crops.
Ibe expressed the hope that whenever the farm started producing cassava, her spending on “garri” would consequently cease.
All the same, Mr Elochukwu Eze, a cassava farmer, blamed the high price of “garri” on the current decline in cassava production.
He, nonetheless, expressed the hope that with the increase in the number of people going into cassava farming, there would be adequate supply of “garri” and other cassava-based foodstuff in the markets soon.