A year ago a reporter traced a community where strawberry is grown in commercial quantity. Some readers were surprised to know that the fruit grows here in Nigeria,as was I.
One year after, the reporter returned to the community to see what changes have occurred, what new technology has been brought into the farming of the crop; and whether the product’s marketing challenges have been solved.
Apparently the strawberry farming, which until recently, is not a common practice here in Nigeria, is now the most important produce that shapes the economy of the people of Chaha, where almost every adult has a strawberry farm. Chaha seems to have huge potentials for strawberry, coffee and other fruit trees, as a visit to the community convinces one.
With the cold weather that characterizes the highland of Plateau State, the ground favors the production of strawberry, which has now been domesticated in the village since 2001.
The fruit has the potentials to breed new generations of millionaires in Chaha if access to market is broadened, because the farmers are between the ages of 20 to 35.
However finding buyers is an issue, most harvest about 600kg weekly, but end up selling 400kg because they have to give ‘Jara’(an extra on the quantity bought) to the women buying.
“We don’t just know where else to sell this product ,but we are told that the demand is high in some places in Nigeria. Most of our farmers here have not traveled outside Plateau State,” a farmer noted.
Sadly most of the big malls in the country are import the product, while these farmers don’t have where to sell theirs.
Strawberry has enormous health benefits to humans. It has been used in a medicinal context to help people with digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations.
Experts said strawberry provides good source of vitamins C and K as well as providing a good dose of fiber, folic acid, manganese and potassium, strawberries provide high amounts of vitamin C.