Farmers Raise Concern as High Cost of Farm Inputs Threatens Food Production     

As the rainy season begins in almost all parts of northern Nigeria, farmers across many farming communities are raising concerns about the high cost of essential agricultural inputs.

The farmers said unprecedented increase in prices threatens to negatively impact food production this rainy season farming circle.

Farmers who are largely into subsistence agriculture are disturbed by high prices for seeds, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides making it nearly impossible for them to cultivate their farmlands as they used to do.

The challenge, they contend, can have a serious consequence not only for the farmers themselves but also for the food security of the entire nation.

This is coming at a time when Nigeria is passing through its worst inflation in about 30 years which currently stands at 33.95%.

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Experts have observed that the floating of naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria and removal of fuel subsidy have made life and business difficult in Nigeria. 

Rising Cost of Inputs

According to farmers, the cost of seeds has doubled compared to last year, while prices for fertilizers and other inputs have increased by over 50%.

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This increase comes at a time when many communities are already grappling with harsh economic situation, further straining their ability to invest in farming supplies. 

Adamu Ahmed, a peasant farmer in Misau LGA of Bauchi State said “The prices of seed and hiring of tractors or cattle for ploughing have become unaffordable. Last year, I could manage, but now, I can’t even afford to cultivate my rice and millet farms.”

Kabiru Umar echoed, “Last year, I used N200 for an Okada ride to my farm, but now it’s N800.  Cost of fertilizer has also doubled, over N40,000 per bag. Without timely and affordable fertilizer, achieving a good harvest is nearly impossible.”

For Ibrahim Zakari, a rice farmer in Warji LGA, farming is gradually slipping away from grip the peasant farmers because of the increasing prices of inputs.

“I had to buy a 100kg seeds of rice at N70,000 because I needed a good variety that can cope with the declining rainfall. And a standard measure of bowl is N800 which is very costly compared to last year,” Zakari said.

In Liman Katagum, Bauchi community, farmers share the same agony as prices for essential farm inputs have risen over the past months.

A farmer, Ibrahim Dan-Sule, fears that he will not be able to afford enough fertilizer, leading to lower yields and insufficient income to support his family.

Similarly, Rebecca Sammani expressed concern over the high input costs and their effect on food prices. “If this continues, many of us might have to abandon farming altogether – but what can we eat then?” she questioned.

“The price of maize seeds has gone up again that a 100kg now costs over N90,000. And you know maize usually requires plenty fertilizer, which is now up to N48, 000 for a 50kg depending on the type and quality,” lamented Ibrahim Musa, a maize farmer in Kano State.

An analysis by WikkiTimes revealed a drastic increase in the prices of farm inputs across markets in Kano and Bauchi.

Fertilizer, which averagely cost N20,000 per 50 kg bag last year, now sells for over N40,000 on the average. Similarly, the price of herbicides has doubled from N2,500 to over N5,000 per litre. These increases make it difficult for small-scale farmers to sustain their usual farm activities.

“The devaluation of the naira and higher import costs for fertilizers and other inputs have forced us to increase prices. It’s a chain reaction that ultimately affects the farmers,” said Alhaji Sagiru Idris, a prominent agro-dealer in Bauchi.

On Food Production

The high input costs are forcing many farmers to reduce the size of their farms will lower crop yields, and result in food shortages and higher prices for consumers.

“Many farmers are contemplating not planting this year because they can’t afford the inputs,” said Sadiq Bello, a Kano-based extension officer. “If this trend continues, we could see a significant drop in food production, which will have serious implications for food security and prices.”

Government Support

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Farmers said state and federal governments should support them with subsidized farm inputs that are currently cost prohibitive to them to mitigate the impact.

Most farmers said subsidies for fertilizer, herbicide, seeds, and provision of soft loans will go a long way in supporting their farming.

“The government needs to act swiftly to provide relief to farmers,” urged Dr. Yusuf Adamu, an agricultural economist. “Without immediate intervention, the food crisis could worsen, affecting millions of Nigerians who rely on affordable, locally produced food.”

by Yawale Adamu & Usman Babaji

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