High input cost threatens diversification through agric                                                    

The failure of the Federal Government to support farmers in the provision of subsidised fertiliser in 2016 planting season has led to farmers purchasing fertilisers and other farm inputs at a higher cost in the open market, a development experts say may threaten the country’s crop production.
“We are currently buying a bag of fertilisers in the market between N9, 000 and N10, 000 per bag, depending on the type of fertiliser. The prices of seeds have also increased,” said Abiodun Olorundenro, chief executive officer, Green Vine Farms.
“I bought a pack of hybrid seed of maize for N45, 000 which was sold for N39, 000 three months ago. Most farmers cannot afford buying inputs at that price,” Olorundenro said.
 He also noted that the price of pesticides and herbicides have also increased in the market.
The situation has made farmers to reduce the quantity of inputs required for their farmlands, while some farmers could not even farm this year due to insufficient funds to purchase these inputs.
Abayomi Wusa, a smallholder farmer who farms vegetables at Ohumbo in Ogun State, said, “Getting fertilisers and seeds this year has been difficult for us as farmers because the GES scheme is no longer in operation.”
“The agro-allied companies are not given fertilisers and seeds again, because the government owes them since 2014. It is making things difficult for us, as we now have to pay more to get these products.
“I have to reduce the quantity of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides I use on my farm because I cannot afford to buy the quantity my farmland requires. I want the government to pay the agro-allied contractors the debt they owe them so that they can start giving farmers farm inputs. The GES scheme is helping small farmers like me to get farm inputs at a lower cost.
“We learnt that the government is planning to remove subsidy on fertilisers. How will they help small farmers like me? I only want the government to improve the GES scheme by allowing farmers get the quantity of fertilisers they want and ensure that farmers get good seeds and other inputs,” said Wusa, who farms five hectares of land.
Farmers across the country are lamenting about the high cost of fertilisers and other inputs and the scarcity of it in the northern part of the country due to strict clearing required for Urea and other fertilisers’ inputs, chemicals used by insurgents in the manufacturing of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
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