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Amid soaring fertiliser prices, farmers to spend more on agrochemicals

Aside the cost of fertiliser, which Daily Trust on Sunday had reported was rising, agrochemicals are likely to cost farmers even more this coming wet…

Aside the cost of fertiliser, which Daily Trust on Sunday had reported was rising, agrochemicals are likely to cost farmers even more this coming wet season.

Weeds and pests are the major headache of farmers at all levels. Majority of the farmers depend on herbicides and pesticides for crop production as the cost of engaging labourers for weeding is even higher.

A market survey of the prices of herbicides (selective and non-selective) and pesticides have all gone up by more than 100 per cent across most farming communities in the country.

Foliar systemic herbicides like Lagon, Forceup, Touchdown, Paraforce, Gobara Dragon, Sriker, among others, have all gone up. The price for one litre is now between N3,000 and N7,000 in most markets across the country. Some selective herbicides for rice cost even more.

Last year, these products were sold between N1,200 and N2,000.

Farmers need at least 4-6 litres per hectare, depending on the brand and quality of the herbicide. In the wet season where farmers do not have control over elements of production such a draught, flood and rain, effectiveness of the chemicals is affected.

Our correspondents in some agrarian states report that the prices of agrochemicals are rising as farmers are preparing for rain-fed production.  

In Niger State, our correspondent reports that farmers are worried over the rising cost of agrochemicals, especially as the wet season approaches.  

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that prices of Paraquat and other agrochemicals have increased this year, compared to what obtained last year.

A seller of agrochemicals in Minna, Rabiu Mohammed, said five litres of Glyview cost N18,000 this year as against N7,000 last year, while Paraforce, which was sold at N1,800 last year is now N2,050.

He also said categories of Glyphasate that were sold at N1,800 last year now cost between N3,350 and N3,400.  

Mohammed said the rising cost of the commodity, coupled with insecurity in many farming communities in Niger State, had caused low demand for agrochemicals this year.

“There is low demand this year. Last year, at a time like this the market was booming. If it were last year, as you come here now I won’t even have time for you because customers would have been on my head. You can see that my shop is empty. But we cannot tell exactly what is causing the rise in prices,” he said.  

Adamu Aliyu, a farmer in Katcha, said the rising cost of agrochemicals had affected farming capacity in the state.

He said, “The use of agrochemicals has eased farming for us. Now because of rising cost, many of us cannot cultivate many hectares of land as you can’t do without agrochemicals. In Katcha, Paraforce is sold at N2,500 this year. It was N1,000 last year. As I speak with you, I am into irrigation farming and it is not easy.”   

Prices are going up and many farmers cannot successfully cultivate their crops without the chemicals.   

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that due to high cost of agrochemicals, farmers in some parts of the state have resorted to mixing diesel/fuel with herbicides to cover large expanses of land.

Aliyu Mohammed and Umar Mohammed, both farmers, said they had been using the method for the past two years.  

“When you buy Paraforce or any other chemical, you buy like two litres of diesel. When you mix it, it will cover a large expanse of land, and it works effectively,” Uamr told our correspondent  

In the open market in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, four most popular brands of agrochemicals, such as Glyphosate, Triclosate, Bushfire and Cutlass are currently sold between N6,500 and N3,600 as against their formal prices, between N2,000 and N3,500.  

Also, Agric Life product, known as So Sol b (wp), 1kg biofertiser for drought control goes for N6,500 while Agriboom Liquid fertiliser forlier application currently sold at N6,000 per litre and Bionim insecticide, which takes care of over 300 pests and used on all crops, goes for N6,000 per litre, as well as Somphyto NPK Granular 50kg + Si Sol b 200grms, biofertilizer for all crops, now selling at N11,000.  

Another farmer, Pius Ekoja, said the rising cost of agrochemicals might affect peasant farmers like him who have no other source of income.  

Tyo Barby also said he would be forced to grow his crops without applying the necessary chemicals, which may affect production.  

“If I am unable to purchase the agrochemicals, it means I would be left with the choice of either reducing my farm size this year or risk doing it without applying herbicides and pesticides. And production will certainly turn out low or bad,” he said.

In Kano State, farmers also recorded a serious increase in prices of pesticides and herbicides by over 100 per cent on some brands and over 50 per cent on others, while very few witnessed less than 50 per cent.

Findings revealed that one litre of Atrazine herbicide sold at N1,800 last year is now selling at N4,000. A litre of Thiodan Endosulfan (organochlorine) insecticide sold at N1,600 is now over N2,400.

Similarly, a litre of Apron Plus (pesticide) is now N2,000 instead of its initial price of N1,300; likewise Primextra that was sold at N1,500 but now N3,200.

Most farmers have expressed fear that with the way things are going, there are indications that the upcoming rain-fed season is going to be very tough for smallholder farmers in the state as prices of pesticides and herbicides keep increasing, even when the demand is not high.

According to Malam Habibu Musa, farmers are now looking for an easy way to approach the situation by seeking possible cost effective ways to adopt without incurring unnecessary increase so that they will be able to go to farm this year.

Another farmer, Husaini Musa Barkum, told our reporter that with the way things are going concerning the prices of agro pesticides and herbicides, farming activities are going to be very difficult for farmers in Kano State. 

Reports from other states show the same trajectory as farmers prepare for the wet season.

By Vincent A. Yusuf (Abuja), AbubakarAkote (Minna), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi) & Ibrahim Musa Giginyu, (Kano)

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