Consumers groan as grain farmers gain | Dailytrust

Consumers groan as grain farmers gain

In the last six months, grain farmers have been having a good time as prices of crops hit the roof. Those who stored grains made very attractive gains. For instance, a bag of 100kg paddy rice went as high as N32,000 while maize was up to N24,000.

Despite the ongoing harvest of rice, maize and other grains, the prices remain high, thereby sparking fear among consumers that a cost spike in the next four to five months is very likely.

Our reporter, who went to some markets in Abuja and some parts of Nasarawa and Niger states, asked farmers and consumers what they made of the current prices of grains. Their tales are a mix grill of happiness and worry.

Ibrahim Bala, who has been cultivating maize for 15 years, delved into rice for the first time this year. So far, he has harvested three tonnes of rice, two tonnes of maize and one tonne of groundnut and is very pleased. He has generated over N450,000 from the crops he has sold and is about to roof his new four-room house in Doma, Nasarawa State.

At the grains markets in Agyaragu, Doma; and Masaka, Karu, a 100kg bag of paddy rice goes between N18,000 and N19,500, maize sells between N12,500 and N15,000, sorghum (red variety) goes for N33,000, millet (now scarce) is N27,000, although harvests of sorghum and millet have not commenced.

“This is my best year,” a farmer, Mr. Ogoshi Odey from Obi told our reporter at the Agyaragu market, adding, “Cultivating rice and maize has rewarded me so much. I have bought a Bajal motorcycle at N260,000 from the 18 bags of rice I sold.”

However, “If we are not careful, some farmers will cry because the market for crops, except egusi, is attractive and they are busy selling even when they don’t have pressing needs,” Mr Emmah Emishe told our reporter in the Dutse area of Bwari Area Council, forecasting a further rise in the prices of crops in the months ahead.

Our reporter came across many buyers seeking red corn, which few farmers had to sell. Some of the buyers said they were agents of companies from Lagos. The price at the Auta Balaifi beans market is N12,000 for a 100kg bag, but it is not readily available.

Groundnut farmers are also smiling because the market is good as the product is selling at N15,500 per 100kg bag. At this time last year, it was N7,000. Soybeans goes for N12,000 and a bag of sweet potatoes sells between N6,000 and N7,000.

However, other crops like melon, which went up to N35,000 last month, have come down to N25,000 and N29,000.

In Masaka, Nasarawa State, a 50kg bag of brown beans at the Auta Balaifi beans market is selling at N18,000, and in Madalla, Niger State, a bag of garri goes between N15,000 and N17,000.

The prices of grains in these areas have remained the same except for little variations in some places due to quality and sizes of the bags.

The only time that prices were a little high was in 2016 when the country went into recession.

But government policy on border closure and forex ban further strengthened the domestic market for the locally produced goods, thereby making many see opportunities in the agricultural sector.

While the farmers are happy with the prices in the mid of concerns over rising cost of production, consumers are worried that many will find it difficult to buy the food items, especially from April to July when most farmers would not have anything to sell because merchants would have mopped the crops.

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