Soaring price of fertilizer, stakeholders call for subsidy
We‘ll partner farmer groups to tackle fertilizer adulteration — FEPSAN
By Jimoh Babatunde
The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, has called on public authorities, international organizations and donor agencies to look into making fertilizer readily affordable to identifiable Small Holder Farmers.
Speaking in a webinar organised by Agricultural reference agridigitale in partnership with ECOWAS Network of Agricultural Journalists (REJA-ECOWAS), Kabir Ibrahim smallholder farmers need further subsidies.
Kabir said “In Africa, the farmers have to be assisted with sufficient irrigation facilities to enable them to do all-year-round production and to have sufficient energy to process store, distribute as well as consume what they produce efficiently to evolve a veritable food system.
He added that in Africa, agriculture is largely subsistent with the farmers depending on annual rains, chemical fertilizers and other inputs to enhance productivity.
“The Russia-Ukraine war, among other factors, has made fertilizer quite expensive and not readily available to smallholder farmers, who are the engine room of production in Africa.”
He noted that the soaring cost of fertilizer portends an even higher cost for crops which fact is already evident all over Africa.
“In Nigeria, which is the food basket of the majority of its neighbours, the farmers are expressing serious concerns about the possibility of a further hike in food prices since their productivity will be affected by lack of fertilizer in sufficient quantities to use on their farms arising from their inability to readily afford it.
“The farmers have to augment what they can afford of the expensive fertilizers with farmyard manure as well as decayed matter from drains and other domestic waste and where possible deploy SCI (system of crop intensification), biotechnology, climate Smart Agriculture as well as seek government assistance in the form of fertilizer subsidy.
Also speaking during the webinar with the theme ‘Agriculture in Africa And
Soaring Prices Of Fertilizer: Issues and Outlook’ a participant from Ghana, Dr Charles Nyaaba, said the cost of fertilizer in Ghana skyrocketed.
He said Ghana’s dependence on agriculture made it subsidize fertilizer in 2017 to be self-sufficient in food by 2023.
“But today, fertilizer has increased by over 150%. This has affected women and youths coming into agriculture. So, the youths are migrating to the capital city for jobs and most companies depending on agriculture for raw materials are closing down.
“Cost of living has increased and the cost of basic food has gone up leading to protest.”
Nyaaba said the solution lies in African countries trading with one another and that the government of Ghana to subsidize farming.
“There should be conscious efforts by Africa Union to encourage trade among African countries.