High cost of fertilizers: soybeans, sesame and sorghum are now attractive to Katsina farmers

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…While rising diesel prices lead to heartbreaking tillage costs

Soybeans, sesame and sorghum now dominate the farmlands of Katsina State as chemical fertilizers and other inputs have become beyond the reach of most farmers in the state.

The price of fertilizers across the country has become a major source of concern for farmers, especially in the production of maize and other non-legume crops.

Malam Isah NaAllah, a farmer from Musawa LGA, said his strategy this year is to produce crops that require less fertilizer.

“We have no choice but to grow crops like soybeans, sesame and sorghum. Maize production this year, especially on a large scale, requires huge capital.

“Depending on the variety, a bag of fertilizer sells for between N17,000 and N30,000, with NPK15:15:15 costing the highest price.”

He added that those who produce tomatoes and Irish potatoes in the dry season were suffering from the high cost of fertiliser, a factor that pushed the market price of the produce to an all time high.

NaAllah further said that the federal government’s fertilizer policy had failed as farmers were left to their own devices to source produce at prevailing market prices.

“NPK 20:10:10 which was set at N5,500 by the Federal Government is now being sold at N17,000; Indorama and Dangote Urea varieties are not lower than 20,000 N.

“The policy that actually worked for farmers was the Goodluck Jonathan diet when a farmer received ‘Fish is one of the healthiest and cheapest proteins for human beings, and as we strive to end a text message of his fertilizer allowance, how much to pay, where to make the payment and pick up the produce,” NaAllah also said.

Shehu Abdullahi, a fertilizer dealer in Malumfashi, attributed the unfortunate development to the political crisis between Russia and Ukraine, which are the main source of chemicals for fertilizer blends.

“The crisis between Russia and Ukraine is the main factor behind the spike in fertilizer prices. Some of the dealers are also exploiting the situation by transporting available products to our neighboring countries, where they earn foreign currency,” he said.

He, however, expressed hope that the price of the product would come down very soon.

Meanwhile, large farmers have denounced the high cost of diesel which has led to increased costs for harrowing, plowing and other mechanized farming activities.

Alhaji Muhammadu Sani, a farmer from Malumfashi LGA, said harrowing and plowing costs have more than doubled compared to last year.

“I recently paid N50,000 for a harrow which cost me N20,000 last year. Is it only because rice growing requires it or many farmers would have avoided it this year.

“Some of us have not yet resumed our agricultural activities due to lack of capital. Everything from seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and harrowing/tillage is expensive this year,” he lamented.

Sani added that even herbicides and pesticides were rapidly becoming out of reach for farmers, as their prices per liter now range from N2,300 to N5,500 for selective, non-selective and systemic herbicides as well as various pesticides.

He further said that many farmers had resorted to the old manual methods of farming as a liter of diesel was being sold at 655 Naira compared to 225 Naira in January last year.

“Some of us have planted our farms without tilling or harrowing the soil and rely heavily on organic fertilizer to keep costs down,” Sani said.

Agricultural economist Andrew Yuha said the developments are clear signs that agricultural products will be more expensive in the coming harvest season.

“The demand for food continues to increase with our growing population and the poultry sector has increased market demand for corn, soybeans and sorghum. Now that farmers are facing input and labor cost issues, we should expect agricultural produce to be more expensive in the next harvest season,” he said. .

He added that they did not know the situation of things in the Saminaka area of ​​Kaduna State, but with the concentration of farmers in Katsina State on soybeans, rice, sesame and sorghum, maize was in short supply at least in Katsina markets. in the next harvest season.

Yuha urged federal and state governments to strengthen their fertilizer policies for easy access to local farmers to produce enough food.

Insecure

Farmers in Danja, Bakori, Funtua and Kankara in Katsina State attributed the persistent bandit attacks in their areas to the absence of vigilantes (aka Yan’ Sa Kai).

Malam Aminu, a resident of Gwauruwa in Funtua LGA, said last Wednesday bandits invaded their village and stole six plow cows.

“With the abolition of Yan’Sa Kai, bandits now have the freedom to invade villages and threaten agricultural activities.

“Last Wednesday, bandits stormed our village and took away six plow cows. They also attempted to attack the Sabuwar Abuja neighborhood of Dutsen Reme on the same day, but people mobilized and chased them away.

He called on the government to provide a special banditry task force comprising militia, civil defence, police and soldiers to stem the activities of disbelievers in the state.

A similar attack by bandits occurred last Saturday in Gidan Dinya and other hamlets around Unguwar Balarabe of Danja LGA where one person was killed, another injured and an unknown number of cattle stolen.

Umaru Mamman, a farmer from Danja, said the bandits’ aim was mainly cattle as they did not abduct anyone.

Because the affected villages have no formidable defense mechanism, they have devised strategies for survival in this agricultural season.

This reporter found out that in Guga village of Bakori LGA, it is not allowed to grow long crops like sorghum, maize and even soybeans within four hundred meters north, south, east. east and west of the village.

Hussaini Abdullahi said the strategy was to avoid providing hiding places for bandits.

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