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Farmers in distress as fertiliser price soars



  • ‘Situation may worsen food crisis’

Concern is heightening among farming communities nationwide over the increasing cost of fertiliser which could further threaten food supply as the rainy season approaches.

In the last few months, prices of goods and services have continued to spiral out of control making them unaffordable for a large number of Nigerians.

The escalating costs of crucial agricultural inputs such as fertiliser, seeds, and agrochemicals, which are indispensable for crop production, could potentially compromise the upcoming wet season farming expected to commence in the next two months in some regions of the nation.

At the moment, some dry season farmers are grappling with the rising cost of the fertiliser brands, which right now hit N43,000 and may further rise in the coming months.

A Daily Trust market analysis observed that the prices of popular fertiliser brands and types have increased dramatically over the past three months across the country.


According to fertiliser dealers, the prices of all categories of fertiliser in Plateau State have risen to their highest for the first time since last year.

Samuel Eze, a fertiliser dealer in Jos said: “We sell a bag of NPK 15:15:15 at N43,000; Maidoki NPK 15:15:15  N35,000; while WACOT is sold at N40,000. The commodity is very costly even before the rainy season when many farmers will participate in farming.

“We don’t know how the price will be but it doesn’t seem it would go down except if there is some intervention.”

Similarly, prices of fertilisers have skyrocketed in Niger State as farmers begin purchases ahead of the forthcoming rainy season.

One of the fertiliser dealers in Minna, the Niger State capital, Mr Danjuma Yarima, said Urea is now N36,000 from N25,000 it was sold two months ago while NPK is now sold at N37,500 instead of N27,000 it was sold before.


In Benue State, on the other hand, the price of Urea remains at N35,000 while NPK hovers between N28,000 and N30,000.

In Kwara State, a former AFAN scribe said “Initially Urea fertiliser was sold at about N22,000 per 50kg bag but it has gone up to N40,000.

“As for NPK, you know we have Walcot and Notoric among others and the prices vary. But the one that was sold last for N30,000 is now around N40,000.”

Farmers are also expressing concerns about how prices are just increasing.

“Imagine how prices are rising on a daily basis. By the time the wet season fully starts, a bag of Urea may hit N50,000 or N60,000. How many farmers would be able to buy even just two bags for their farms? A farmer, Yakubu Danjuma in Karu, Nasarawa State, wondered.


The “Government seems to be more concerned over food prices in the market alone but the price of food in the market is not standing alone, it’s a product of other factors and fertiliser is one of them. If you spend more money to produce, you won’t want to sell it cheap,” he said.

Irrigation farmers in Taraba State are also facing serious problems now.

Yahaya Mafindi a large-scale farmer said the cost of fertiliser has increased production costs.

He said 50kg bag of NPK costs between N25,000 and N29,000 depending on the brand and composition while a 50kg bag of Urea costs between N35,000 and N39,000.

Vegetable farming suspended in Katsina


The recent surge in the market price of fertiliser has become a source of concern to small-scale farmers in Katsina State as many vegetable farmers have suspended their production for lack of takeoff capital.

A significant portion of the agricultural community in the state is made up of small-scale farmers who operate on tight budgets and rely on subsistence production for survival.

This development, according to the farmers, has forced them to make difficult decisions, such as reducing the area of land they cultivate or switching to less fertiliser-demanding crops, such as legumes.

Kabir Abu, a vegetable farmer in Tafoki, Faskari LGA, said many of them have withdrawn from tomato production due to the high cost of fertiliser and fuel for watering.

“Many of us were investing the whole of our earnings from wet season farming into tomato production; this year because of the escalating cost of living we decided to save for eventuality.


“The sudden jack up in the prices of fertilisers has rendered the limited capital at our hands useless hence we withdraw from the production.”

Abu added that a bag of Urea that was N25,000 two weeks ago, has now risen to N35,000, adding that “Only those of us economically strong defied the challenge and produced crops in this dry season.

“Golden NPK 20:10:10 is now N35,000 and the varieties of Boko and Jargaba are N30,000 and N28,000 respectively.

“Also, a litre of petrol is now about N700; everything agriculture has doubled or tripled in price. How can a small-scale farmer like us survive this?” Kabir Abu asked.

This reporter went round Funtua fertilizer market and discovered that Granular Ammonium Sulphate (G-GAS) and Granular Diammonium Phosphate (G-DAP) were yet to be phased out from the market as government said it intended to in the last season, and their prices were N26,000 and N46,000 respectively.


On whether government support was getting to the real farmers, Abdullahi Nalami Funtua, a farmer, answered in the negative.

“Since the regime of President Buhari, government has been rolling out good agricultural programmes but the problem is that they are not reaching the real farmers at the grassroots.

“The middlemen in the programmes are the main beneficiaries as they hijack everything through the creation of phantom farmers’ associations that engage in round-tripping and connivance,” Abdullahi Nalami said.

He added that the fertiliser crisis was a complex issue that required urgent attention from policymakers, agric experts and stakeholders.

“Farmers at the grassroots should form viable associations to avert hijackers of inputs from farmers. Government too needs to devise a means of reaching out to farmers in their localities to help them form such associations and also hear directly from them their needs and suggestions,” he said.


Alhaji Muhammadu Isah, a fertilizer dealer in Funtua attributed the rising cost of the input to daily drift in the value of the naira.

“What do you expect when our naira is daily losing its value? The development is not peculiar to fertiliser but to every commodity in the market. The only advantage for the farmers is the surging market price of farm produce which gives them the purchasing power to buy the input despite high cost.”

He also called on the government to come up with innovative solutions to address the high cost and ensure that farmers at the grassroots have access to affordable, quality fertiliser.

“The government and relevant organizations should explore strategies such as subsidies, incentives for local production and promoting organic alternatives to alleviate the burden on farmers,” Muhammadu Isah said.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja last week, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, said the federal government would work closely with the states to ensure that farmers had access to fertiliser at a subsidized rate both in the second phase of the dry season production which focuses on rice, maize and cassava as well as the forthcoming wet season production.



Source link: Daily Trust/

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