Soar­ing fer­til­izer, food prices worry Nige­ri­ans

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - By Ahmed Dio Agbo (Abuja), Ibrahim Musa Giginyu (Kano), Hope Abah (Makurdi), Risikat Ra­moni (La­gos), Idris Mah­mud (Katsina), An­drew Agbese & Ra’afat Mac­cido (Kaduna)

Many Nige­ri­ans, in­clud­ing farm­ers and pro­duce con­sumers across the coun­try are groan­ing un­der the bur­den of the hike in prices of fer­til­izer and food­stuff.

Find­ings by our reporters in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try re­vealed that the rise in prices was con­nected with scarcity of the items, which has forced peo­ple to go for other less ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tives to keep life go­ing.

A visit to mar­kets in Tarka and Garko lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas of Benue State by our cor­re­spon­dent re­vealed that a bag of fer­til­izer is sold for be­tween N10,500 and N10,700.

Ac­cord­ing to a farmer in Garko, Malam Umar Ganja, most of the farm­ers have since re­solved to use or­ganic ma­nure as fer­til­izer has gone beyond an av­er­age farmer’s reach.

At the High Level and Wa­data mar­kets in Makurdi, a 50kg bag of for­eign rice now sells for be­tween N16,000 and N17,500 and a 50kg bag of maize goes for N21,000 while a 50kg of MIVA lo­cally pro­duced rice sells for N10, 000.

Also, a 50kg of sorghum now sells for N25,000 and a 50kg of beans goes for N24,500.

The Benue State chair­man of the All Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (AFAN), Aon­dona Hembe Kule, told our cor­re­spon­dent that the de­lay in mak­ing fer­tiliser avail­able to the end users will re­sult in low pro­duc­tion of food crops.

A visit to Dawanau world grains mar­ket in Kano State re­vealed that a 100kg bag of maize is sold at N14, 000, sorghum 100kg at N13,300 while a 100kg bag of mil­let is sold at N14, 000.

A 100kg bag of beans (big grains) goes at N22,000 while small grains 100kg of beans is sold at N20,000. In the world grains mar­ket, a 100kg bag of soya beans is sold at N12,000 while a 50kg of rice is sold at N14,000.

In La­gos State, at LSISA distri­bu­tion site, Agege, the man­ager, Mr Fun­sho Olowo, be­lieved that aside fer­til­izer, trans­porta­tion also played a ma­jor role in the in­creas­ing price of food­stuffs.

He said a 50kg bag of NPK is now sold at N8,000 while Urea has also in­creased to N8,000.

In Katsina State, Malam Sani Shu'aibu, a farmer in Bakori LGA, said many of them es­pe­cially those that sold their farm pro­duce as early as Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary were now feel­ing the brunt of the high cost of the pro­duce in this farm­ing sea­son.

“A bag of sorghum that was sold N4,000 last year now cost N11,000 and maize is now N13,000 against N5,000 last year.

“The scarcity and high cost of for­eign rice has af­fected the cost of our lo­cal one which was sold at N14,000 to N16,000 per bag last year but is now N26,000," said Malam Shu'aibu.

Malam Isma'il Garba, a farmer who is also into the agro-chem­i­cals busi­ness in Fun­tua, Katsina State, said he cul­ti­vated 56 bags of maize in the last sea­son which he saved till last week Friday when he sold each bag at N12,500.

For fer­til­izer, a bag of Urea (No­tore) is now N10,000 against N5,000 it was sold last year, while NPK 15:15:15 now costs be­tween N6,700 and N7,000.

How­ever, the re­cent in­au­gu­ra­tion of fer­til­izer sales by the state gover­nor, Aminu Bello Masari, at the rate of N2,700 and N2,500 for Urea and Com­pound va­ri­eties is ex­pected to crash the mar­ket price of the pro­duce.

In Kaduna State, all is not well with fer­til­izer distri­bu­tion as dis­trib­u­tors are sell­ing the com­mod­ity at al­most dou­ble the price ap­proved by gov­ern­ment.

Gover­nor Nasir el-Ru­fai in June, announced that he was re­mov­ing sub­sidy on fer­til­izer to make it avail­able to farm­ers. He pegged the price at N4,000 for both NPK and Urea which sold for N3,750 and N3,600 the pre­vi­ous year.

But checks by our cor­re­spon­dents re­vealed that the deal­ers have de­fied the wish of the gover­nor as NPK is be­ing sold at the mar­ket in Kaduna for N7,000 to N7,200 while Urea is be­ing sold for N9,000 to N9,500.

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