By Peter Uwumarogie
Gombe, July 10, 2020 Rice farmers in Gombe State have decried the high cost of agricultural inputs in the 2020 wet season farming in the state.
Some of the farmers who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Friday said that the situation would impact greatly on the price of the produce after harvest.
Alhaji Musa Arab said the high cost of fertiliser and other inputs was frustrating him as a rice farmer
“As a rice farmer, I am foreseeing food crisis. We are ready to farm but there are no inputs, especially fertiliser and pesticides.
“We have planted rice but nowhere to get fertiliser to apply because of cost.
“We can’t cultivate rice without fertiliser. Like now I need at least 30 bags of fertiliser to apply in my rice farm which is over N500, 000 because a bag is going for nearly N20, 000.
“So where will I get the money and how much will I spend on the farm and how much am I getting?
“The cost of farming now is very high. In fact this is the highest in my several years of farming and there is no way it is not going to affect the price of rice,’’ he said.
He added that the state government had not given the right assistance to rice farmers to help encourage them to produce more to avert the impending food crisis in the state.
“We are hearing on radio that the state government has launched the sales of subsidised fertilisers but I can tell you that the real farmers have not benefitted.
“Farming should not be politicised because if there is food crisis, we all would be affected,’’ Arab said.
Another Rice Farmer, Sanusi Tela from Garin Bako Awak Community in Kaltungo Local Government Area said that it had become difficult for rice farmers to continue their vocation.
“Two years ago, I lost over 148 bags of paddy rice because of disease. I am yet to recover from that loss and usually what we get from this year’s harvest is ploughed back into farming.
“Now I don’t have enough to invest and no assistance whatsoever. Nobody comes to us to check on us as farmers.
“The high cost of fertiliser and other inputs has made farming extremely difficult for us.
“ I could only cultivate a small piece of land because of the high cost of inputs,’’ he said.
He added that he was not sure of getting good returns if he were to invest more.
Malam Jauro Aliyu, another rice farmer from same community, said he had to jettison rice cultivation for sesame which needed little or no fertiliser as a result of high cost of inputs for rice farming.
Other farmers who spoke with NAN raised similar concerns while stressing that there might be shortage of paddy rice in the state for processing after harvest.