Some vegetable farmers in Lagos have appealed to the State Government to provide fertiliser for them at subsidised rates to ensure a bumper harvest.
The farmers told newsmen in Lagos that lack of access to fertiliser during the previous planting season contributed to shortage and high cost of vegetables in markets.
Mr Abdullahi Azzare, who cultivates a variety of vegetables on three hectares on Iba-LASU Road, said that a bag of 50kg of fertiliser now sold for N7,500.
He said that the price was too high for most subsistence farmers in the state.
Azzare said that not less than 23 bags of 50kg fertiliser would be required to ensure a good harvest from his farm.
According to him, many farmers have resorted to the use of organic manure from animal waste to enrich the soil to enable them to break even.
“The organic manure application is cumbersome and requires much labour, unlike the NPK inorganic fertiliser application that even gives better yield.
“Many of us did not plant this period because of our inability to get inputs at a reduced price; that is a threat to food security in the near future,” he said.
Azzarr added that if the government could help by bringing the price down, more farmers would cultivate during the late planting season and ensure availability of vegetables all year round.
Mr Danbaba Dogo, whose farm is within the Nigerian Army Barracks, Ojo, said that fertiliser was needed for all year round farming.
Dogo, who said that he hired 15 labourers to assist him in his two hectares, said that fertiliser was essential to enable him to engage them all year round and make a profit.
“I want the government to sell fertiliser to us. I have been going to the government warehouse at Ojo Agriculture Inputs office for the product but there is none there.
“The last time we got fertiliser there was two years ago at N5,000 per bag. It is much better than the rate at the open market,” he said.
The farmer said that availability of the product would encourage many of his colleagues to cultivate more, gainfully engage more people and make vegetables cheaper in the market.
Also, Mrs Ann Uzoukwu, who plants vegetables in a farm within the Lagos State University, Ojo, said the yield was not enough to meet the demand of the school community.
“If I could have access to fertiliser I would cultivate more land to enable me to service the university community and its environs.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Bisi Lawal, a manager at the state agriculture inputs office, said that the establishment was still expecting the supply of the product for the farmers.