Monday, February 6, 2023

South-East farmers resort to dungs as fertiliser prices soar

Some farmers in the South-East have decried the high cost of fertilisers, noting that they have resorted to other sources of manure for their crops.

• August 19, 2022
Farmers used to illustrate story
Farmers used to illustrate the story [PHOTO CREDIT: Federal Ministry of Information and Culture]

Some farmers in the South-East have decried the high cost of fertilisers, noting that they have resorted to other sources of manure for their crops.

In Enugu, the chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Romanus Eze, said many relied on the open market for their fertiliser needs as there were no arrangements by the state government.

The AFAN chairman said most of the state farmers could not procure fertilisers in the 2022 farming season, a situation he noted affected crop yield in the area.

Mr Eze said that the farmers were forced to rely on alternatives such as animal droppings or waste.

Ifeoma Nwachukwu, a maize and cassava farmer, said the 2022 farming season had been the worst in her lifetime in terms of crop yield.

Another farmer, Nwede Ukandu, said he resorted to using liquid fertiliser, which he bought at N4,000 in less than one litre bottle.

In Imo, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Berth Okorochukwu, said his ministry had written a proposal to the state governor to approve 100,000 bags of NPK fertiliser for farmers in the state.

Mr Okorochukwu, who spoke through the permanent secretary in the ministry, Nonye Edomobi, said an initial proposal for 200,000 bags was made but was reduced due to the increase in fertiliser prices.

He further disclosed that the ministry was planning an enumeration of farmers in the state, noting that it was still operating on the previous data of 333,000 registered farmer groups.

A farmer, Ndubuisi Orie, who cultivates cassava, yam, pepper, cucumber, cocoyam, maize and economic trees, said he had never received fertiliser from the state government.

The state chairman of AFAN, Ayo Enwerem, described the fertiliser situation in the state as “chaotic”.

He called on the state and federal governments to assist farmers in the area of inputs, agrochemicals, seeds and grants.

In Abia, some farmers expressed concern over the soaring price of fertiliser, which currently revolves around N24,000 per bag.

Goodness Nzeadibe, a farmer, said she had poor yield in 2021 because she could not afford to buy enough fertiliser for her farm. 

Also, Rufus James said the current cost of fertiliser posed serious threat to achieving food sufficiency in the country and called for the government’s immediate intervention.

The respondents, therefore, appealed to the federal government to evolve policies and programmes that would give farmers access to incentives to boost productivity.

It is a similar situation in Ebonyi as agricultural experts in the state have revealed that a continual increase in the price of fertilisers and other farm inputs would lower food productivity. 

Hygnus Agbo, a farmer, said that both commercial and domestic farmers needed fertilisers to grow their crops, especially on lands that were not productive.

Another agric expert, Alibeze Uzor, explained that the supply disruptions, affordability and availability to farmers had been amplified by the war in Ukraine.

“And continual Increase in prices of fertiliser will lower food productivity if the affliction is not checked,” Mr Uzor said.

Meanwhile, Ejike Aluobu, a farmer, said the surge in input costs and supply disruptions drove the soaring prices of fertiliser, describing the trend as a “plague” on farm produce and farmers. 

Ezekiel Igboji, state coordinator, Organic Association of Nigeria, Ebonyi branch, called for appropriate authorities to identify real farmers for proper distribution when the federal government supplies fertiliser. 

On the prices of fertiliser, Daniel Okafor, fertiliser dealer and seedlings at New Market said prices of 50 kilograms of fertiliser was sold between N20,000 and N30,000, depending on the brand. 

(NAN)

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