The research was carried out in Ikere Local Government Area and data was also collected from some produce marketers such as Ehomike Food Venture, the Martye Green World venture, Ighile Mojo Farm, Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc and Visco Farm Shop. From the result gathered, it shows that there is need for government to ensure constant deregulation of fuel to every states and local government of the federation, regulating the rate of increasing fuel and to arrest all forms and conditions that could easily lead to fuel scarcity which will have negative effects on farm produce. Finally, result gotten also shows that individual have to desist from all forms of fuel hoarding and vandalization of fuel pipes could threaten the availability of fuel in t he circulation which could at least bring untold hardship on the society by way of increasing price of food as a result of high cost of production and transportation from where it was produced to the market. It was recommended that, government should monitor marketers from diverting fuel met for our country to other countries and also government should built more refineries to ensure surplus of fuel in circulation.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The aim of this project is to in-deptly looked into the adverse effect of fuel scarcity on farm produce as a case study in Ikere Local Government Area with a view to make known much to individual and the government on how much this development has taken it heavy toll on farm produce in both marketing and cultivation as well as how this trend can be put under control. Until the early 70’s the main stay of Nigeria economy was Agriculture. Then the country (Nigeria) was fame for her proficiency in the production and exportation of groundnut, oil palm, cocoa beans, pepper, sugar cane, kola nut, bitter kola, cassava and so many other produce. These produce were known to be the only source of income to Nigeria.
Not until 15th January (1958) when oil was discovered in Nigeria specifically Okolobiri in Bayelsa state, this discovering of oil in commercial quantity brought about radical change in the economy of the nation (Nigeria) all other sectors seemed to have gone into extinction, indeed were abandoned therefore making the country to become totally dependent on crude oil for foreign exchange earnings, not agriculture anymore. But with about 166.2 million people in Nigeria today, it’s certain that man must eat, clothes himself and will also need to satisfy one or more needs from farm products. For agriculturalist to carter for these numbers by producing food for sales, and reserve for the next planting seasons, the practice of producing food in bulk in agriculture must change from mere subsistence farming system to mechanization. The term mechanization means the practice of agriculture by way of using modern machines to facilitate farm works and to maximize product within a short period of time.
It’s not gainsay to say that modern farm machines depends on fuel to function because our modern global food system is highly oil dependent even though petroleum is getting higher daily and becoming less and less affordable. And it’s also all true that virtually every operation in agriculture totally depends on machines.
According to normal .J. (2000) in a book titled “Eating oil” he said that the modern commercial farm miracle that feed all of us and much of the rest of the world is completely depend on the flow, processing and distribution of oil.
He further added oil refined for gasoline and diesel is critical to run the tractors, combines and other farm vehicles and equipment that plant, spray the herbicides and pesticides and harvest/ transport food and seed, and more also, it’s all true virtually every operation carry out in nowadays agricultural practice depends on machines beginning from bush clearing, wood feeling, soil plugging, harrowing, fertilizer application, harvesting, application of pesticides, grading of products transportation and so many others areas. If these aforementioned areas suffered west back as a result of fuel scarcity, you will agree with me that at the of the day, nothing will be done to produce food or farm product that will be equal to carter for the upsurge population, or if fuel that is supposed to be available and affordable to power these areas. Earlier mentioned is not easily gotten, or gotten at a very high cost, it’s certain that the little that will be produce at the end of the day as a result of fuel scarcity will now take it tolls on the selling price. Even the farmers that does rely on his strength to produce food for sale will equally have his own share of fuel scarcity as it will not go down well with the price of food production haven’t spent much money on transportation fro farm to the market is expected that this development will hike up the price of produce supplied to the market and this will in no doubt bring.
What is scarcity? According to Adams Smith (1989) define scarcity as the limited supply resources which are used to the satisfaction of unlimited want. With this, fuel scarcity can be defined as a limited supply of fuel which is used for the satisfaction of unlimited want.
According to Lionel Robbins (1990) scarcity as the fundamental economic problems of having seemingly unlimited human want in a world of limited resources. The event of 2nd January, 2012 substantiate the claim that fuel scarcity in no doubt is one of the greatest factor that triggered off the inflation of farm produce/products in the market today, following the pronouncement of the federal government of Nigeria that oil subsidy has been removed thereby bringing the price of fuel of 97 naira a liter as against the former pump price of 65 naira a liter. Few days after subsidy has been removed the price of produce/products skyrocket in which live, chicken that was sold between 1,500-2000, now goes for between 3,000-4,500 live goats that was used to be sold 7,000-8,500 is now sold for between 15,000-18000 while a bag of rice that was formally sold for between 6,000-7,500 now goes for between 12,000-14,000 likewise many other farm produce/products had witnessed tremendous change in price up till now, all that goes up, refuses to come down, and if the prove of fuel keep going up in the name manner, you will find out that almost all farm and agricultural produce/products will be price out of the reach of the common man and if nothing is done to check this situation on ground, certain the common man on the street and the entire society will soon be engulfed in hardship.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In recent time, fuel scarcity has become a strong determinant of the price of produce/products of agriculture in the market, with this, it is important that the government should take a proactive measure in tackling fuel scarcity. Also, many people thing that it is because many young people has refuse to go into farming that is solely responsible for the daily increase in the price of food and other agricultural related products but this research seek to find out the adverse effect of fuel scarcity on agricultural products/produce and to suggest possible ways of profiling solutions on it.
The researcher intend to identify some areas that the government should keenly look into in order to avoid fuel scarcity, such as constant deregulation of fuel products to every state steadily so as to make the product available and affordable for farmer who use fuel for carrying out farming activities, to severely fight against the division of fuel products by fuel marketer and to set out a severe penalty against those who indulge in vandalizing fuel pipe line, which reduces the target of the nation and to also put in place measure to avoid people working in oil producing company from going on strike.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Could there be a specific time of adverse effect on agricultural produce/products as a result of fuel scarcity?
- Does fuel scarcity affect the production of agricultural produce/products?
- Does fuel scarcity reduce the amount of farm produce?
- Does increase of transportation of food contributes to increase in selling price of food?
- Does modern agricultural practice depend on fuel?
- Does fuel scarcity increase the price of food?
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to identify the problems associated with the increase in the price of agricultural produce/products in the market, its also met to identify ways to reduces this trend.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study or research will be of immense benefit to the government because if there is fuel scarcity. It then means that there will be increase in price of foods produce/products in the agricultural sector.
The study is hope to provide insight to the government as to why they should stop increasing the price of fuel, when the cost of fuel is low, the cost of production and transportation will also be low and these can lead to low price of agricultural commodities been transported.
More also, it is hoped that information gathered from this research will propel the government to ensure constant deregulation of fuel, stop increasing fuel, waging war against oil bunker and fuel hoarders, and to explore every means to ensure availability of fuel.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Agriculture: Simple refers to the practice of tilling the soil for the purpose of growing crops and the rearing of animals for man’s use.
Scarcity: Means short supply of certain resources relating of demand at a given price.
Mechanization: Mean the practice of agriculture by using modern machines to carry out farm operation to increase production and maximize profit.
Agricultural Produce: Refers to raw materials gotten from the farm (at it raw stage, not gone through secondary stage).
Agricultural Products: Means agricultural produce that have passed through the raw stage to a second.
Hike: Means increase in cost of something.
Hoard: Means to secretly store a valuable products or money for further use.