Prices of farm produce, particularly maize, sorghum and beans, have in the last five months continued to fall in markets in Katsina when compared with markets in other states, Daily Trust reports.
Traditionally, after the euphoria of harvest, prices of food produce begin to rise, especially in March, April and May.
A grains trader at Kafur market in Funtua, Malam Usman Abdullahi, said one should not forget that Funtua Zone in Katsina State is referred to as the maize-producing zone of the state which has ensured that supply of the produce remained constant all through the year.
“In the entire North West, only Kaduna State surpasses Funtua in maize production. That is why the price of the produce will always be lower compared to other markets in the region or the country in general.
“Now, a bag is sold at N8,000 here, but in Katsina metropolis, Maiaduwa or Charanchi, within the same state, it is sold above N9,000,” said Abdullahi.
He added that there was bumper harvest of maize, sorghum, rice and beans in the last farming season.
“Every farming season has certain crops that farmers concentrate on based on their market demand and price, as well as availability of fertilizer and other inputs at affordable prices.
“There was large-scale production of maize, beans, rice and sorghum last season, and God so kind, there was bumper harvest of all of them; hence the sustained market supply of the produce at low prices compared with other places,” he said.
A beans trader at Bakori market, Suleiman Abdullahi, attributed the low prices of the produce in the area to the concentration of three large grains markets in the zone.
Abdullahi said, “The popular Dandume, Kafur and Bakori grains markets are located close to the zone and their market days hold in five out of seven days of the week. Farmers feed the markets with produce and depending on what the merchants pay.”
Abdullahi added that most of the markets that sold the produce at higher rates made their purchase from Katsina metropolis markets.
“Merchants come from Abuja, Sokoto and even Benue to purchase maize, beans and sorghum which they sell at higher prices in their markets,” he said.
Considering that major buyers of maize are poultry feed factories, this reporter gathered from a poultry farmer, Abubakar Muhammad, that the demand from the sector had significantly reduced because large poultry farms now produced their maize with which they produce feeds locally to minimise cost.
Muhammad said, “Since 2017 when the prices of poultry feeds skyrocketed, many large poultry farms engaged in the production of feeds locally to minimise cost. This has drastically reduced the market demand for maize; even though there are some feed factories that still depend on the grains markets for their supplies.”
Daily Trust discovered that in Katsina, the price of 100kg bag of maize now fluctuates between N7,500 and N8,500 depending on variety and grade, while in Abuja and Benue, it is sold at between N12,000 and N14,000.
Sorghum is sold at between N13,000 and N14,000 in Abuja and Benue markets, while it is sold at N8,000 in Katsina markets. The price of beans crashed from N20,000 to between N14,000 and N17,000.
Source: Daily Trust