Why ginger prices plummet Farmers want FG to intervene
The rise and fall of the price of ginger have become a major issue for farmers, marketers, middlemen, traditional rulers and politicians in southern Kaduna.
Farmers and marketers who spoke to Daily Trust expressed fear as the instability in prices affect production.
Alhaji Isyaku Abdu Ladan, from Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has been in the business since childhood.
He said: “Naira to-dollar saga has contributed in the rising and falling of ginger price. We bought a bag of ginger at the beginning of the 2015/2016 season at N16,000 but before the end of the season it rose to N23,000.
Likewise, at the beginning of the 2016/2017 season, it began at N18,000 and rose to N20,000 per bag. Presently, in the 2017/2018 season, we are buying it at N10,000 and it gradually dropped to N8,000-N7,000. We even bought it at N6,500 N4,500.”
Yohanna Usman Tiger, a farmer and dealer from Gidan Mana, Kachia Local Government Area, said he has been in the ginger farming business for almost 30 years.
He said people from Asia, Europe, America and African countries always come to buy their ginger unfortunately, the buyers have reduced this year.
“A bag of ginger used to sell for N22,000 to N25,000 two years ago but today that same bag sells for between N7,000 and N8,000,” he lamented.
Tiger attributed the low productivity of the ginger this season to “wrong calculations by some of the people that put politics in the business and ruined the farmers.”
“Some people that were not in the farming system and also not marketers, organized themselves and sat with us. They told us that they wanted to help us because they realized that the middlemen and marketers have conspired to thwart the efforts of ginger farmers in Southern Kaduna. They said they wanted to help us make more profit in the farming business.
“They insisted that we don’t sell our ginger to the marketers till the price reached N25,000 per bag. They even went ahead to create their vigilantes that were set on patrol, arresting and taxing whoever they caught selling a bag of ginger below N25,000.”
Usman Tiger further explained: “That was in October. It made us delay a little in harvesting the ginger in October or November till December. And by the time people broke that arrangement to start selling their harvest in December to solve financial problems as Christmas had approached, most of the ginger had decayed in the soil and some had developed into ‘mozo’ (ginger that has gotten dry in the soil before cutting or splitting).
“A person who expected to cultivate five hectares ended up with two hectares. This is what resulted to the low production of ginger this season.
“We want government to give us loan that is free of interest; we want them to assist us with fertilizer, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides and tractors,” he stressed.
Aminu Salihu Tahir, a middleman from Kafanchan, who learnt the business of ginger from his parents, said they transacted the business with the farmers for a long time and engaged in an open market till some ‘educated’ ones among them, mostly those in government or retired civil servants, started to put politics into the business and creating discord between them and the farmers.
“They were in a rush. Instead of them waiting for the market to decide the price, they were dictating to farmers how much to sell their crops while they were not farmers and not marketers either,” he said.
But Malam Auwal Abubakar, who has been in the ginger farming business for about 11 years, said whoever was engaged in the activities knew that the price of ginger as a commodity was elastic and that could not affect their farming.
“It can only affect or discourage a new farmer who entered the business with the intention to enrich himself within a short period of time. I am cultivating five hectares of land. But if government can assist us, I can cultivate 50 to 100 hectares of ginger based on experience,” he said.
Recently, the Chief of Jaba, in Jaba Local Government Area, Kpok Ham Danladi Gyet Maude, urged the state and federal governments to promote the farming of ginger in Southern Kaduna.
Ginger Market at Kubacha, Kagarko Local Government Area, Kaduna State