Prices of some food items in some states of the North-East have dropped slightly as farmers anticipate bumper harvest beginning from this year and 2018, a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has indicated.
Reports from Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Jigawa have revealed that no ‘major’ calamities were recorded during the cropping season, as such, most crops have fared well.
A check by NAN in Maiduguri markets showed that100 kg bag of rice sells for between N28, 000 and N31, 000 as against its previous price of N34, 500.
A measure of the commodity now costs N900 as against the old price of N1,100, respectively.
Similarly, the price of a measure of maize dropped from N450 to N380; beans from N650 to N550 and millet from N550 to N500.
Traders interviewed attributed the drop in prices to anticipated good harvest.
Ali Muhammad, a rice dealer, said prices were dropping slightly on daily basis in view of the expectation of bumper harvest.
Mr. Muhammad also attributed the situation to increase in the supply of local produce into the markets.
“There is significant increase in the number of farmers who cultivated their farmlands this season.
“Prices will drop further as supply improves,” he said, adding that the market condition had been stable in the past weeks.
Also commenting, Ya-Ana Kachalla, a peanut grower, said that the massive mobilisation of farmers to plant crops in liberated communities, had forced a drop in price of grains in the state.
Mr. Kachalla said that the federal government and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA) had supported farmers in liberated communities to return to their farms.
She added that the farmers were encouraged to cultivate rice, maize, millet, cowpea and beans.
NAN recalls that the Federal Government had distributed fertiliser, seeds and inputs to 5, 000 rice farmers, while FAO extended similar gesture to about 1.2 million farmers in the North-East.
In Gombe, the prices of grains dropped significantly due to the commencement of harvest.
Shehu Abdullahi, a grain merchant in Gombe, told NAN that the price of a 100kg bag of maize had dropped from the previous N17, 000 to N10,000, just as similar drop in price of millet, sorghum and rice, was being anticipated as harvest progressed.
Gambo Abubakar, the Secretary, Gombe State chapter of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said he was optimistic that farmers in the state would record bumper harvest this year.
In Bauchi, however, NAN checks revealed that foodstuffs like maize, Guinea corn, rice and beans, maintained their old prices of N220, N250, N450 and N400 per measure as harvest of new crops had yet to commence.
The Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture, Bala Lukshi, said that most of the staple crops being cultivated in the state were yet to be harvested.
He explained that farmers in the state would commence harvest late September when the crops would have matured.
Also in Adamawa, Muhammadu Algarara, the state Chairman, Grains Dealers Association, said that in spite of the commencement of harvest, farm produce had maintained their old prices.
Mr. Algarara said 100 kg bag of maize and millet sold for N16,000 and N17,000, while a measure of local rice cost N450.
Maiungwa Jaga, the Chairman of AFAN, Jigawa chapter, said farmers in the state were anticipating bumper harvest this year, with prices of some food items already crashing.
Mr. Jaga told NAN that the cluster farming programme of the state government, which focused on rice, wheat, millet, Guinea corn, maize, millet, beans, groundnut, sesame and tomatoes cultivation, had recorded success.
According to him, support that came through the programme motivated farmers to shift attention from subsistence to commercial farming.
Hauwa Abdullahi, a market woman in Dutse, said that there was a slight drop in prices of foodstuff in the market.
Mrs. Abdullahi stated that the prices of bag of maize, beans and millet had dropped from N17,000; N30,000 and N18,000, to N12,000; N25,000 and N12,000 respectively.
She said that further fall in prices was expected as harvest seasoned reached its peak.