Dark horizon for farmers as fertilizer's prices soar high

Shock as this Is What Awaits Farmers In 2022

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2021 was not that good year for farmers as they faced a high cost of inputs and extreme weather changes. The oversupply of agricultural produce and low purchasing power saw a lot of farmers make losses from their farming. Perhaps most farmers are wondering if 2022 would be a different year where the cost would be low and prices of produces would be higher than the cost of production.

Unfortunately, farmers should get prepared for a tougher year. Below are the five challenges farmers should get prepared to face in 2022.

Effects of climate change

Kenya experienced prolonged drought in most part of 2021, forage was scarce and the cost of feeds went high driving most farmers out of business. A lot of farmers quit dairy farming and poultry farming in 2021 than any year in history due to the cost of feeds. Opposite to this, farmers should expect excess rainfall in 2022. Expect flooding, landslides, and hail storms.

Therefore while planning for a new crop, budget on the costs of extreme weather changes or even postpone it. We expect a high preference for pests and diseases which may increase the cost of production. Implementing early prevention and control measures against pests and diseases can help in lowering the costs.

High cost of fertilizers and fuel

Arable agricultural soils in Kenya are depleted of their key nutrient; Nitrogen (N). Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). The depletion has made production purely dependent on the use of artificial fertilizers. The rise of fertilizers prices and their scarcity associated with the cost of fuel has continued to increase the cost of production.

What awaits farmers in 2022
Fertilizer application

The fact that most farmers may opt to use manure which is a slow source of nutrients or not to use any means that farmers should expect low produce at the end of the harvest regardless of the crop done.

Inflation

The inflation rate in Kenya rose to 5.73% by end of December according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of statistics. The increase in the cost of basic food staff and fuel means an increase in the cost of labor as employees demand more to sustain their livelihood. Given that 2022 is an election year, the rate may increase due to uncertainties associated with elections in Kenya. Farmers should prepare for the high cost of labor. Ā 

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High cost of animal feeds

Kenya depends solely on imports of raw material for animal feeds to satisfy the great demand. Most of these imports come from eastern African countries that have a low cost of production making their products affordable. Unfortunately, most of these countries are increasing their exports duties to fill their budget deficits.

This increase in duties continues to increase the general cost of the feeds. The worst-case scenario is that the costs may even double in 2022. The hope for farmers here purely relies on the government to lower import duties and other taxes associated with feeds inputs. Failure to which, farmers will continue to pay more.

Low prices for farm produce

Even though prices of most basic foodstuff continue to increase, the cost of production is still higher than the selling price. As the economy revives and adapts to the effects of covid-19, we are still yet to see government injections to caution farmers against these shocks of Covid-19. Until then, farmers have to devise a new way of lowering the cost of production to stay afloat.

Producing high-value crops at minimal cost combined with diversification and innovative value addition techniques may help farmers reach break-even points or profit. Itā€™s sad that profit is not a guarantee in 2022 but have hope and have faith. Study the market wisely and products wisely.

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