High costs for fertilisers, seeds, herbicides and pesticides are pushing farmers in Africa’s most populous country to the brink of resilience, and many are reducing their acreage.
Uncertainty and climate change are also making it increasingly difficult for small farmers to expand their production areas.
Input prices, ranging from improved seeds, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and poultry feed, continue to soar due to dollar shortages and are exacerbated by a war between the world’s largest fertilizer and food producers.
Prices for NPK – a fertilizer mix used mainly by small farmers – have risen by 250 percent due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Similarly, energy prices have also increased, affecting the cost of running farm equipment and transporting food products from farms to markets.
The price of diesel has increased by almost 178 percent in one year to N800 per liter from N288 in January this year.
“Prices of fertilizers and other inputs such as herbicides and pesticides have nearly tripled and this will lead to further increases in food prices,” said Ibrahim Kabiru, national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).
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Kabiru said skyrocketing input prices could discourage many farmers from going to the farms. He called on the government to ensure farmer productivity is higher and food is readily available to counter escalating food prices in the country.
Inflation in Africa’s most populous country accelerated to 16.64 percent in July, the highest since October 2005. Food inflation also accelerated to 22.02 in July, according to data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics.
Worsening insecurity in the country continues to discourage agricultural investment in key growing countries, putting existing agribusinesses at constant risk.
Similarly, terrorism, banditry and pastoral attacks in Nigeria’s northern region, and armed robbery and kidnapping in the south, put farmers and their investments at constant risk.
“We cannot achieve food security when there is uncertainty. Farmers should be able to carry out their farming activities without any form of fear and not having to pay bandits to harvest the crops,” Abiodun Olorundenro, manager of AquaShoots Limited, said in a telephone response to questions.
“The uncertain situation has forced many farmers to abandon their farmland and this is affecting our national production. Also, it has created a shortage that is causing food prices to spike,” he said.
Changing climate patterns are also negatively impacting farmer productivity, resulting in low production that cannot meet the needs of 200 million people, causing demand to outstrip supply.