High costs of fertilizer, seeds, herbicides, and pesticides are pushing farmers in Africa’s most populous country to the brink, forcing many to now reduce their cultivation areas.
The sector is seeing profits harmed by rise in major inputs with insecurity and climate change making it even harder for many farmers to make profit, thus casting a cloud over future investment.
Prices of NPK – a fertilizer blend mostly used by smallholder farmers have jumped 250 percent since 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine.
The prices of pesticides and herbicides have increased by 70 percent since last year. Seed and seedling prices have also doubled.
Similarly, energy prices have surged also, affecting the cost of running farm equipment and transporting food products from the farms to markets.
Fuel price has soared by an average of 174.6 percent in two weeks to N526.7 per litre from an average of N191.8 per litre, according to BusinessDay’s calculation of NNPC’s new/old price list.
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).
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 22.22 percent in April, the highest since October 2005. Also, food inflation accelerated to 24.61 in April, 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.
“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