Some agriculture stakeholders have attributed the scarcity and increase in price of fertiliser to restriction of sales of certain brands in some states of the North East for security reasons.
North East states such as Yobe, Taraba, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe and Maiduguri, showed that some brands of fertilisers were restricted for sale by the military because they were used for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), while stakeholders have taken the restriction in good faith, however, farmers were not finding it easy securing the commodity, particularly urea in the open market.
Stephen Maduwa, the Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Adamawa, attributed the scarcity and high cost of fertiliser in the state to the ban of NPK and Urea by the security agencies.
Maduwa said the military authorities said the products were being used by insurgent to produce explosives.
“The scarcity situation is worrisome because it is also affecting government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme in the state,” Maduwa said.
Alhaji Usman Bapullo, the National Vice Chairman, National Association of Agro-Chemicals and Allied dealers, said that following the restriction, the cost of the commodity increased by 45 per cent.
He said that a 50kg bag of NPK, which used to sell for N4,300, now goes for N6,500, while Urea which, used to sell for N5,000, is now N7,000.
He however said there was liquid NPK and Urea, which had not been banned, but farmers in the state were not familiar with the liquid one.
In Yobe, the restriction on sales of fertiliser was also on security ground and had created scarcity of the product in the state.
Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, at a recent town hall meeting in Potiskum, said it took series of discussions between the state government and security organisations to lift the sanction on sales of NPK fertiliser.
“As for urea fertiliser, it is still banned for sale across the state for security reasons,” he said.
The governor said government had awarded contract for the supply of NPK fertiliser to the state.
Meanwhile, a bag of NPK is sold for between N7, 000 and N9, 000, depending on the distance and availability.
Most farmers in the state depended on liquid fertiliser, which five litres sells for N25, 000.
Farmers in Borno, the state hardest hit by activities of insurgents are expressing concern over high cost of fertiliser, in spite of efforts of the state government.
A cross section of the farmers in Maiduguri and Jere local government areas of the state, said they bought the commodities at “very high’’ cost in the market.
Hussaini Usman, a rice farmer at Zabalmari village of Jere Local Government Area of the state, said the high cost of fertiliser was affecting his production.
Usman noted that a small size bag of SSP and NPK brand of fertiliser were sold at N2, 500 and N3, 000, as against the old price of N1, 000 and N2, 000.
In his comment on the development, Maina Binus, the Programme Manager, Gombe State Agricultural Development Project (GSADP) said the high cost of fertiliser was as a result of high demand.
He however said by the time the state government concluded the resuscitation of its fertiliser blending plant, the problem would be addressed.
Alhaji Sabitu Shehu, fertiliser dealer in Gombe town, attributed the high cost of the commodity to increase in transportation costs from Port-Harcourt to Gombe State.
He said they were now paying N520, 000 per truck as against the former N320,000 and selling 50kg bag of NPK fertiliser for N8,500 as against the N7,000 in 2018.
In Bauchi State, the Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Dr Yahaya Yusuf said farmers in the state never witnessed scarcity of fertiliser for the 2019 planting season.
He said that unlike the previous years when the commodity was allocated to groups and individuals, this time it was allocated through various farmers associations.