• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Farmers hit by rising costs of fertiliser, seeds

Farmers hit by rising costs of fertiliser, seeds

High costs of fertiliser, seeds, herbicides, and pesticides are pushing farmers in Africa’s most populous country to the brink, with many now reducing their production areas.

Also, insecurity and climate change are responsible for making it increasingly hard for smallholder farmers to expand their production areas.

Input prices ranging from improved seeds, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and poultry feeds keep making rapid climbs owing to dollar scarcity and worsened by a war between the world’s biggest producers of fertilizers and food.

Prices of NPK – a fertilizer blend mostly used by smallholder farmers have jumped 250 percent, owing to the Russia – Ukraine war.

Similarly, energy prices have surged also, affecting the cost of running farm equipment and transporting food products from the farms to markets.

Diesel price has soared by almost 178 percent in one year to N800 per litre from N288 in January this year.

“Prices of fertilizers and other inputs such as herbicides, and pesticides have almost tripled and this will lead to further increase in food prices,” said Ibrahim Kabiru, national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).

Read also: Food inflation to worsen as insecurity bars farmers from harvest

Kabiru said skyrocketing prices of inputs could discourage many farmers from going to the farms. He urged the government to ensure that farmers’ productivity is higher and food is readily available to address the escalating food prices in the country.

Inflation in Africa’s most populous country accelerated to 16.64 percent in July, the highest since October 2005. Also, food inflation accelerated to 22.02 in July, according to data from Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics.

The worsening state of insecurity in the country has continued to deter agric investments in key crop-growing states while putting existing agribusinesses in constant peril.

Similarly, issues of terrorism, banditry, and herdsmen attacks in Nigeria’s northern region as well as armed robbery and kidnapping in the south are putting farmers and their investments in constant peril.

“We cannot attain food security when there is insecurity. Farmers should be able to carry out their farming activities without any form of fear and not having to pay bandits to harvest,” Abiodun Olorundenro, manager, AquaShoots Limited said in a telephone response to questions.

“The insecurity situation has forced many farmers to abandon their farmlands and this is impacting our national output. Also, it has created a shortfall that is leading to a surge in food prices,” he said.

Also, changing climate patterns are negatively impacting farmers’ productivity, leading to a low output that cannot meet the demand of 200 million people, thus resulting in demand overshooting supply.