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Why there is drop in tomato production, others – Farmers

Irrigation farmers and vegetables’ traders in Bauchi State have said that the hike in the prices of fuel and fertiliser are responsible for the low…

Irrigation farmers and vegetables’ traders in Bauchi State have said that the hike in the prices of fuel and fertiliser are responsible for the low production of tomatoes and other vegetables thereby causing increases in the prices of the produce in Bauchi and the country in general.

The traders stated this on Thursday during at an interaction with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) which conducted a market survey with traders, traders’ associations and marketers to ascertain the factors responsible for the continuous hike in food prices in Bauchi.

The chairman of the vegetable traders, Alhaji Sani Abubakar, said the prices of tomatoes, pepper, onions and vegetables have continued to rise on a daily basis. “It might be difficult for vegetables because the factors are many and unless they are addressed, the hike in prices of vegetables might likely continue.

Abubakar said, “All these vegetables are produced by irrigation farmers who depend on watering the farms using some equipment and facilities. The hike in the cost of fuel to power water pump has been the major issue responsible for the hike in vegetable prices produced by irrigation farmers across the state.

Abubakar explained also that, “Instead of farming large quantity, because of the high cost of fuel you only plant small portion that you afford to buy the fuel for. If for instance you have the money to buy 100 litres of fuel, because of the hike, you end up buying 50 litres or even less.

Abubakar, who is also a major irrigation farmer said, “Before the removal of fuel subsidy and the prices of fertiliser and pesticides have not skyrocketed, farmers produced large quantities of vegetables across the state. And when you go to the markets sometimes, vegetables farmers filled the market with different types of vegetables.

“We even take the vegetables to Lagos and other southern states because Muda Lawal market is one of the major sources of vegetables for Lagos and Port Harcourt.

“The problems causing the low production of vegetables across Bauchi State are the hike of fuel and fertilizer prices because their prices keep increasing on a daily basis. We recently bought a litre of petrol at N1,200 to N1,400 in some localities,” Abubakar said.

“These issues of hike of fuel are not peculiar to Bauchi State because we also buy pepper from Katsina or Kazaure in Jigawa State and the cost of fuel has also caused hike of transportation which affects the cost of the commodities.

“Just last year, we sold a bag of pepper at N2,500 but right now, we selling the same pepper at N60,000 to N80,000 per bag due to the economic conditions and the high demand for the commodity.

“We are not responsible for the continued hike in the prices of vegetables. The economic realities associated with the hike in fuel and fertilizer prices are the major causes of the unimaginable hike. We are not happy with the hyper-inflation which has crippled many small-scale traders and businesses.

In his remarks, the North East Zonal Coordinator of FCPCC, Dauda Ahmadu Waja, said the FCCPC officials visited the Muda Lawal market to gather information directly from the sources and stakeholders in the markets, particularly market unions, sellers and consumers with a view to bringing out policies to check anti-competitive and anti-consumer practices so as to restore sanity and tackle the continued hike in prices of food items in the country.

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