• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Threat of food scarcity loom on account of farmers’ inability to access inputs, public policy failure 

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Emerging indicators from Kano, one of Nigeria’s most active food and cash crop production states, show that the country is on the verge of a threat of food scarcity, on account of farmers’ inability to access critical inputs and inadequate government policy.

The anticipated food production crisis is specifically connected to the prevailing scarcity of farming inputs such as fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides being experienced by farmers in the state.

The challenge is also occasioned by the lack of clarity in the direction of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as regard agricultural development.

Although, Audu Ogbe, minister of agriculture, last Wednesday, announced a ‘new roadmap to agriculture development’ in the country, however, experts believe the development will have little impact on agriculture production this year.

Agricultural development in Nigeria at the moment is dominantly under the control of the Federal Government, other sub-national entities, such as the state and local governments, are only charged with the responsibility of playing a supporting role.

Experts are also of the view that farmers as well as large-scale investors in the states require a clear policy direction from government, to organise their production budget and activities.

The scarcity of inputs are more noticeable in states like Kano, known to be one of the leading producer of cereal crops like sorghum, millet, maize, wheat, and rice, as well as a major producer of legumes, such as groundnut, cowpea, soybean, as well as vegetables like tomatoes, pepper, and onions.

BusinessDay investigation reveals that farmers in the state are finding it very difficult to access basic farming inputs in the state government approved selling outlets as well as in the open market across the state.

As a result of this, most of the operators of agro-inputs – shops that have stocks have resolved to push upward the price of the commodities. For example, the  price of Urea fertilizer now goes for as high as N10,000, instead of the N4,500, it was bought a year before.

Confirming the situation, Aliyu Lawan Kura, one of the smallholder farmers in Imawa, a farming settlement in the outskirt of Kano metropolis, said farmers’ inability to access critical inputs was the biggest challenge they were confronted with this year.

“Judging from what is happening to our ability to access inputs, one can definitely conclude that there is going to be a huge reduction in the amount of food and cash crops that farmers in the state would be able to produce this year.

“You can see the hardship we are facing in accessing the inputs, even when we struggle to buy them at the high price it now sell, in most cases we are able to do that late. And, as you know the land is becoming more and more less fertile, from every indication this is going to affect our yield,” Kura said.

Commenting on the new agriculture road map recently announced by the Buhari administration, he called on the President to operationalise the policy in order the fast track the growth and development of the sector.

Although the policy is late in coming, but if properly implemented it will go a long way in creating conducive environment for players in the sector, he said.