Ginger farmers in Kaduna State are lamenting bitterly over what they said is a calculated attempt by marketers to milk them dry.
They said while ginger is doing well at the international market, the price at home this year is about 55% lower than what obtained last year.
Some of the farmers who spoke with this reporter in Kaduna, last week, said they were unable to sell what they have in stock and that will affect this year’s production.
Monday Adukwa, secretary of the Ginger Farmers Association in Kagarko Local Government Area of the state, has been in ginger production for over 35 years.
He told Daily Trust that the challenges they have with ginger farming mainly have to do with the market.
“We produce but when it comes to market, somebody (referring to marketers) out there decides the price for us. As I am talking to you, the price of ginger in the international market is between N55,000 and N65,000 per bag.” But when it comes to local market, the marketers buy at not more than N7,000 at the moment.
Right from the beginning of the year, the price of ginger crashed to between N3,000 and N5,000,” he said.
Mr Adukwa noted that the price of ginger last year and this year was incomparable. He said last year, ginger was sold between N15,000 and N19,000 per bag, while this year the price has literally collapsed.
This he stressed, has affected him negatively because he was unable to even pay his children’s school fees.
The 47-year-old father of four said three of the children are in higher institutions and one in secondary school, adding that through ginger farming, he generates the income to pay their fees.
At the moment, he has over 100 bags of ginger yet to be sold.
Bala Illiya, a 38-year old graduate of accounting was emotional while responding to questions from this reporter. He stressed that he took to ginger farming full time four years ago but the erratic price reminds him of the problem with the nation’s weak agric policies.
For him, the sharp drop in price was a conspiracy by marketers to thwart the efforts of farmers particularly in southern Kaduna – a claim Daily Trust cannot independently confirm.
These marketers, he said, were not farmers but decide what price ginger should be sold at, adding “we are helpless.”
“Go to our areas there is ginger everywhere because the price is too low for us to sell. If you sell at this current price, you are doomed. Thank God ginger is not something that spoils easly,” he said.
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Two farmers who wouldn’t want their names mentioned said the Kaduna State Government supported most crops but did not consider promoting ginger to attract investment.
They argued that it was a deliberate attempt. One of the farmers who is a graduate of Agric Engineering believed that ginger production is caught up in the politics of Southern and Northern Kaduna.
The farmers also believed that lack of processing companies in the country, weak farmers’ associations and unorganized market system have affected ginger for many years.
They said government could easily attract private sector participation adding that Nigerian ginger is a spice that is the best in the world and in huge demand.
However, the falling market price at home is what the farmers do not understand and are seeking answers to.