Prolonged rainfall in 2010 is responsible for the food price hikes currently being experienced, Mrs Sarah Chunwang, the Chairperson, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Plateau chapter, said on Wednesday.
Chunwang told newsmen in Jos that the persistent rainfall affected produce such as hungry rice (locally called acha), rice, beans, soyabeans, potatoes and vegetables.
“The development led to poor harvest resulting to hikes in their prices,” Chunwang said.
Chuwang particularly noted that onion had gone “far out of the reach of the middle class”.
She also said that potatoes, usually cheap in Plateau, had become expensive due to moth disease that affected the farms.
“Our input is not commensurate with our harvest. That is why most farm produce are on the high side,” she said.
According to her, accessing credit facilities is a major challenge for both small and medium-scale farmers, adding that it is another factor contributing to food price hikes.
“Most banks are not willing to assist farmers; those who are willing, have very high interest rates and the repayment plan not conducive” she said.
Even when farmers record bumper harvest, preservation constitutes a major challenge, she said.
“That is why farmers are forced to sell at once and at cheaper prices in its season, only to create a shortage that would force up the prices when the produce is out of season,’’ the AFAN chairman explained.
She advised farmers to register with the association to enable them to benefit from new farming techniques and methods that would help boost food production.