Story of Global Conflict, the Price Hike of Fertilizer and the Future of Malt Barley Productivity at Koma Kara Kebele by Ibrahim 09 April 2022

posted in: IFC Project - Ethiopia | 0

The current conflict between Russia and Ukraine has brought wide-ranging and far-reaching economic, political and social challenges. Due to this conflict, there occurred an unprecedented rise in the price of fuel, military tension at the global level, shortage of food, cyberwar, political rivalry, social upheavals, and others. Having these global scenarios in my mind, I have tried to scrutinize their impact at the local level (Koma Kara Kebele).

Accordingly, to my observation, I identified (1) a rise in the price of crops and (2) a shocking increase in the price of fertilizers. They are very exemplary cases and let’s discuss them separately.

  1. Price Hike of Fertilisers

I was told by some farmers that there is a very shocking increase in the price of fertilizer (agricultural inputs). Last year, the price was 1200 ETB (23.25 USD). It almost doubled a month ago and the price was 2100 ETB (40.7 USD). Currently, the price of fertilizers has skyrocketed, reaching 4800 ETB (93 USD). Consequently, farmers are very much worried about the affordability of the price and availability/adequacy of the supply of fertilizers. They told me that the supply is very scanty and the farmers are very pessimistic in that they are not sure whether they should use fertilizers or not. Some of them have plowed their land and have gotten their land prepared for summer production (malt barley production that starts from now onwards). 

  1. The skyrocketing price of malt barley and other crops

Both from our diary surveys and Crop monitoring, we can easily understand the increase in the price of malt barely. During the first time of harvest (4 months ago), the price used to be 3500 – 3700 ETB (67.8 USD – 71.7 USD). After a month, the price had risen to 3800 ETB (73.6 USD), then 3900 ETB (75.6 USD). Then after a month, it reached 4000 ETB (77.5 USD). Within a fraction of days, it became 4250 ETB (82.3 USD). Currently, the price of malt barley has suddenly risen up to 4600 – 4800 ETB (89.1 USD – 93 USD). Moreover, the variation in the figure/price is the difference in the price mentioned by farmers and traders where the latter resells the produce after adding some amounts (dividends). Farmers have also mentioned that they fear the hike in the price of malt barley would eventually affect their livelihood and agricultural practices, posing a multitude of economic crises and social upheavals.

The future of malt Barley production at Koma Kara Kebele

The two scenarios mentioned above typically explain the far-reaching impact of the global conflict that is occurring between Russia and Ukraine. Due to an unexpected increase in the price of fertilizers and agricultural crops, the living standards of rural communities/farmers are highly threatened. I was told that farmers are expected to pay for:

  1. Fertilizers in high amount 
  2. Tractors for plowing their land (the price of fuel has already increased and that makes the cost of rent for tractors highly increase), 
  3. Agro-chemicals
  4. Land renting that costs around 30,000 ETB (581.2 USD) per 1 hectare
  5. Domestic consumption and buying some other crops
  6. Other living costs that have become expensive.

The above scenarios generally imply the unprecedented socio-economic and agricultural challenges that are forthcoming and the inevitableness of an upcoming downgrade in agricultural production in general. Thus, the fact that these farmers have been facing a multitude of challenges and their fear of upcoming scenarios altogether, could force us all to question the future of malt Barley productivity at Koma Kara Kebele and beyond. Time will tell us all this sooner or later; 

But, for farmers, global conflict and price increases in fuel and agricultural crops are not just global issues, rather they have local reflections and bring up farmers’ experiences.