Price of fertiliser in Katsina State is gradually rising amid growing demand for the commodity in the last few weeks.
Naturally, the demand for fertiliser, especially Urea, in the state reaches its peak from the middle of July to August every year when farmers are finishing the first phase of their farming activities.
Aminu Ashiru, a fertiliser retailer in Funtua, said in the last two weeks there was scarcity of Urea in the market.
Ashiru said, “Lack of vehicles to transport the goods from Port Harcourt and the increasing demand for the commodity have resulted in scarcity and increase in its price.”
He further said, just like last year, many farmers cultivated rice and maize this year which might be the reason for the high demand of the input.
Mallam Isah Abdullahi, a farmer in Funtua, said most farmers started on a good note courtesy of the Anchor Borrower Scheme (ABS) of the Federal Government.
He said, “Many of us that enlisted in the scheme have gotten loans for pesticides, seeds and fertiliser which we used this farming season. There are farmers who did not enlist in the scheme but bought the inputs at cheap rates from the non-regular farmers who enlisted,” he claimed.
He added that some of the beneficiaries sold their fertiliser at N5,500 per bag to either farmers or retailers who would re-sell it at not less than N6,500 in the open market.
Abdullahi said NPK 15:15:15 was massively used by farmers in the first and second rounds of application, and as the tradition demands, farmers used only Urea in their last round of application.
This reporter observed that at the beginning of this year’s farming season, a bag of Urea (Notore & Indorama) was sold at not more than N5,800, while NPK, irrespective of its company, was sold at N6,200.
However, recently, a bag of Urea was sold at N7,000 to N7,300, while NPK was sold at N6,800.
In some parts of Funtua, Danja and Bakori, NPK, under the Presidential Initiative, fertiliser was supposed to be sold at N5,500, but was instead sold at N6,000, or even more.
One of the fertiliser retailers in the area, Mal. Muhammad Umar, attributed the development to transportation and sometimes insufficient capital. “Government gives each bag at N5,000, expecting us to sell at N5,500 and make a profit of N500 from each bag, but what many people do not understand is that we take the responsibility of transportation, loading and off-loading.
This year, our supply is coming from Kaduna, not Funtua, and for every truck we pay N120,000 and N9,000 for transportation and offloading respectively,” he explained.
He added that most of the dealers depended on bank loans which they repaid with heavy interest hence the price increase of the government’s fertiliser.