Nigeria is already experiencing skyrocketing prices of food crops. But Farmers across the country fear the situation of food availability and affordability could get worse if something urgent isn’t done.
Ahead of rainy season farming, farmers say they cannot afford fertilizer as the price has doubled.
iVOTES reports that the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PTF) is yet to release its flagship 20:10:10.
The PFI through the sale of 20:10:10 at 5500 in the last four years and 5000 last year due to COVID-19 was able to bring some respite to the farmers and to the National Food System.
While farmers await what will happen this year, they are are afraid that fertilizer will not be readily available and affordable as in the last four years due to delays in releasing the new price and the commodity itself.
Investigation shows that the prices across the states range between N6,700 and N8,000 for NPK and N8,800 to N13,000 for Urea.
The National Vice President, Agro Dealers/National Secretary Fadama Farmers, Prince Henry Ebole, told journalists in Benin City, that efforts by the body of farmers in the state to get the federal government to make the product available have met a brick wall.
He said unlike in the past farmers across the 774 local government areas of the country were classified into agro –centres where sms were sent to farmers to come and pick up fertilizers for their crops.
“We have a big problem in our system. We have had several zoom meetings, written to the Presidency for approval but to this moment nothing. You see, most of the things we produce here is basically on fertilizers.
“Farmers are suffering and tired of this non-availability of the product. In the previous regime, you pay for 4 fertilizers you get 2 for free under the Growth Enhancement Support Service. Then, all the 774 local government areas had agro-centre where farmers were getting messages to come and pick up fertilizers but today there is nothing like that ”
However, Alhaji Abudulahi Mohammed, Lead Farmers, Edo North and President Izemoya Farmers Cooperative, on his part said despite the delay by the Presidential fertilizer Initiative, PFI, in making fertilizers available, the 60,000 Auchi fertilizer and Chemical Company , commissioned by Vice President Yomi Osibajo, in 2017 have failed the farmers in the state.
“We had thought that since a fertilizer blending plant was established we would see fertilizer to buy. The plant are not producing not to talk of supplying other states and the federal government is not responding to our demand.
“The rain has started, the people are planting, we are thinking that by now fertilizers from the government will be made available. We are ready to buy even at N5,500 but it not any where available”. He lamented.
Ekene Uzodinma from New Enugu Agricultural Project Initiative said farmers in the state were yet to receive any subsidize fertilizer from the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative this year.
He said: “As today, a bag of fertilizer was sold at N8,300. I have 250 hecters of rice farm but I have not gotten any fertilizer from government. Government should set up a process that will ensure that fertilizers will get to the real farmers.”