Sharp fertiliser price hike: Farmers cry foul

Sharp fertiliser price hike: Farmers cry foul

By Caroline Chiimba

Farmers have lamented over fertiliser prices that continue to rise unabated, casting a serious shadow on the 2022 cereal harvests and food security in the country.

This comes amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict that has driven up the already high global agricultural commodity prices.

In a recent situation update, the World Food Programme (WFP) said the price of a 50kg bag of AN fertiliser increased by 71% to an average of US$94 by the end of June 2022 compared to US$55 during the previous cropping season.

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“…high fertilizer costs are likely to affect yields and therefore the future availability of food,” read the WPF and FAO report.

In an interview with the Agric, Food and Beverages (AFB) magazine Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) secretary general Paul Zakariya expressed displeasure at the uncharacterised fertiliser price hikes citing that if compromises productivity and maximum ability for farmers.

“The surest way of booting farmers out of business is by compromising grower viability. When agricultural inputs are priced way above reasonable levels against depressed producer prices, we would have spelt doom to all primary producers,” he said.

“Although it is known that fertilizer prices have gone up globally, local suppliers are adding salt to the injury by overpricing this commodity and thereby profiteering in the process.

“Forced to the wall, farmers have no option but to look for alternatives. Downsizing and resorting to traditional farming systems may be a viable option for smallholder farmers while other categories may look at directly bringing the product into the country and completely do away with local suppliers and middlemen.”

This comes at the backdrop of FEWS NET predictions on Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook for February to September 2022 which pointed out that above normal prices and likely shortages of fertilizer are expected to negatively impact winter cropping and preparations for the 2022/23 cropping season both at large-scale commercial and smallholder subsistence levels.


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