Onions: How heavy rainfall, flood, cost of fertilizer led to high cost of new ‘gold’

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The high cost of onions in Nigeria has been attributed to various factors which affected the production of the vegetable in 2020.

The commodity according to LEAKBLAST findings in Bauchi, has gone beyond the reach of the people despite being cultivated in parts of the state in commercial quantity.

A survey conducted at some markets in Bauchi metropolis revealed that unlike last year, four small sizes of onion are today sold at N200.

A bag of onions is sold at N75,000 at the popular Muda Lawal Market, which supplies other markets in the metropolis, compared to the N8,000 it was sold for before Christmas 2019.

Speaking on the development in an interview with LEAKBLAST, the Chairman of the onions, pepper and tomatoes traders at the market, Alhaji Maigambai attributed the high cost of the commodity to heavy rainfalls and the high cost of fertilizer.

Maigambai informed that the production of onions was hampered by heavy rainfalls witnessed in Bauchi State and most parts of the North this year, saying that onions do not like too much water.

According to him, “The high cost of onions in Nigeria today is as a result of some factors. One of such is the high rainfalls witnessed this year in the state and in fact, the North in general.

“Onions do not like high rains or too much water to grow. Many onion farmers’ yield this year is affected by the rains. Some farmers that used to harvest like 100 bags of onions ended up harvesting 20, 30 bags.”

LEAKBLAST reports that heavy rainfalls this year led to floodings in many parts of the state, which washed away many farmlands.

The state government had informed that flood disasters in the state this year led to the destruction of 3,500 houses and over 2,190 farmlands worth N950 million in 16 out of the 20 local government areas of the state.

Maigambai said onions farming needs the application of fertilizer to boost yield but most farmers could not afford the price of fertilizer, which he said grew astronomically this farming season.

According to the trader association chairman, the price of a bag of fertilizer increased from N5,000 to N19,000 and “you have to apply five to 10 bags of fertilizer to the farm before harvest.”

Maigambai said the price of onions was relatively stable in the past two years until last Christmas when the price went up a little before it now skyrocketed to its current price, saying that, “today onion is gold, going by its price.”

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“In the last one year to two years ago onion was sold for N8,000 per bag. But during Christmas, it was sold between N12,000 and N15,000 but today a bag of onions cost from N60,000 to N70,000 in Tafawa Balewa and Gashua, where we get our supplies from. Here in Muda Lawal market, we sell at the rate of N75,000 per bag,” Maigambai informed.

According to him, the prices of peppers have also gone up “pepper that was sold before at N3,000 per basket is now sold at between N11,000 and N13,000.

While noting that the state governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed is trying very hard to ensure that farmers have enough fertilizer to use in their farms at affordable rates, the chairman called on the government to intervene by helping farmers with fertilizer or loans.

“If not farmers will not be able to farm in the future without the help of the government, then farming will be very, very difficult,” Maigambai declared.

He, however, expressed hope that Governor Mohammed would equally give agriculture priority attention to ensure food security in the state.

“We are hoping that by the next farming season, the governor will be more focused on the issue of farming as he is very much serious with education. As he declared a state of emergency on education, we are hoping he does the same on the issue of farming,” he said.

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