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Shortage Of Fertile Land, Fertilizers Hurting Women Farmers In Niger State - Agriculture - Nairaland

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Shortage Of Fertile Land, Fertilizers Hurting Women Farmers In Niger State by Shehuyinka: 11:25am On Jun 23, 2021
Plans to stave off hunger in Niger State by increasing crop yields are in jeopardy as the hectares of land used in planting across the state are gradually losing nutrients due to the inability of farmers to replenish the soil. Justina Asishana speaks with smallholder women farmers in the state regarding their challenges in assessing inputs, including fertiliser, to improve their yield.

Amina Garba has been farming groundnut and yam in Tayi B in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State for over 20 years. But in all these years, she has not got any form of fertilizer, either for free or at a subsidized rate from the Niger State government.

Her yearly yield is thus very poor as she makes barely half of the expectation she aims to meet, a reason she attributes to lack of fertilizer and other inputs used in farming.

“Our lands are old and tired. Every year, we farm on these land and we do not have fertilizers or other chemicals to put into the land to make it fertile and healthy. We have not got any fertilizer from the government. Even the one said to be at a reduced rate, we do not get it. And we do not have money to buy fertilizer because of how high it costs,” Garba says.

Fertilizers are substances that add nutrients to the soil to promote soil fertility and increase plant growth. The three most important fertilizers include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The latter two have been available for centuries, but getting nitrogen in a form that plants could absorb is scarce, and the lack of nitrogen has led to low crop yields for centuries.

Fertilizers replace the nutrients that crops remove from the soil. Without the addition of fertilizers, crop yields and agricultural productivity would be significantly reduced. To grow healthy crops full of nutrients, farmers need to ensure they have healthy soil.

Without fertilizers, nature struggles to replenish the nutrients in the soil. When crops are harvested, important nutrients are removed from the soil, because they follow the crop and end up at the dinner table. If the soil is not replenished with nutrients through fertilizing, crop yields will deteriorate over time.

The International Fertilizer Association (IFA) estimates that 85 per cent of the soils globally are deficient in nitrogen, 73 per cent are deficient in phosphorus, while 55 per cent lack potassium.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where hunger and starvation have long been a threat, lack of fertilizer is a primary reason agricultural yields lag the rest of the world, especially as the combination of high prices and shortages forces some farmers to revert to older methods of fertilization.

Amina is not alone in the difficulty women farmers face to get fertilizers across the state despite the huge sum of money budgeted and expended for fertilizer procurement and distribution in Niger State.

In Bosso Local Government Area, Rose Joseph explains that whilst groundnut does not need much fertilizer, yam does. She also bewails to the reporter how her yams, when harvested, come out below the average size. This does not allow her to sell at a price she can make a profit.

“Last year, I did 500 heaps of yams but could only get back 300 heaps of good yams, making me lose 200 heaps. The yam got spoilt because there was no fertilizer. We do not get fertilizer here because the government does not give it to us and we do not have money to buy it. What we do when we plant is that we just put our seeds on the ground and hope it comes out good.”

She says that because of poor yield, she cannot send her child to a good school inside the city because her husband is also a farmer and they face the same difficulty in the farming business.

Rabiatu Abdulmalik, who is also in Bosso Local Government Area, says she has been farming for about 25 years, noting that their hectares of land have gone old as there is no fertilizer or money to buy fertilizer.

“We do but use fertilizer, we plant our crops like that. If we plant it, God will bring it out well for us.”

READ MORE HERE: https://www.icirnigeria.org/shortage-of-fertile-land-fertilizer-hurting-women-farmers-in-niger-state/

Re: Shortage Of Fertile Land, Fertilizers Hurting Women Farmers In Niger State by Kehfie(f): 9:54pm On Jun 24, 2021
The women should be empowered to raise local birds or noilers. They can learn to use poultry or other animal manure for basal fertiliser application. This is more sustainable in the long run and will improve soil fertility as the years go on. Don't be dependent on government for anything.

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