Before the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria, agriculture was the major source of revenue because government provided an enabling environment where farm produce would be sold at reasonable prices which serve as a morale booster to farmers. Some of the crops cultivated in Nigeria are exported to other countries and Nigeria earns huge amount of money from the export.
Agriculture therefore has contributed immensely to the economic growth of Nigeria as it contributes around 20.85% to Nigeria Gross Domestic Product. Cereal companies and animal feeds industries depend on farm produce for their raw materials. However the yields of the crops depended on the fertility of the soil.
Majority of inhabitants in the Northeast of Nigeria are peasant farmers who depend largely on farming for consumption and marketing. Maize, millet, groundnuts, soya beans, cotton, sorghum and cowpea, among others, are cultivated in large quantity in the Northeast. The zone has become a major supply of these farm produce to other parts of the country as a raw material for agro allied companies or for consumption because the farmlands are fertile and others use organic manure on their farms.
However, the over use of farmlands for many years has made the soil lose their natural nutrients and modern fertiliser has to be applied before a farmer will get good yield.
Farmers in the Northeast who started recovering from trauma and destruction on their farms by Boko Haram insurgents were astonished to hear that the federal government has banned the sale and distribution of NPK and Urea fertilizers in the Northeast, the most needed fertilisers by farmers. Government took the decision in good faith so as to halt the heinous activities of Boko Haram because the insurgents use NPK and Urea fertilisers in making bombs.
The decision taken by government is surely to safeguard the lives and properties of the citizenry especially those in the Northeast who continue to loss their lives. Government should have come out with an alternative to these fertilisers so that farmers could have access to the commodity.
In the meantime, farmers can use animal dung on their farms which was used by our forefathers so that more yield would be expected.
The repercussions of the ban are enormous as it has made some farmers to abandon farming activities this year while those that farm will record low yield because the soil has lost its nutrients
Mass Communication Department,
University of Maiduguri