Politics

FG Will Crash Food Prices In Six Months — Agric Minister

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The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, Wednesday, announced that prices of food commodities will crash by December 2024.

Recall that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had pegged the May 2024 food inflation at 40.66 per cent despite farming incentives, rolled out to support farmers in the dry and rainy season.

Kyari in a post on his official X handle formerly Twitter said the measures were a series of strategic policies aimed at addressing the high food prices currently affecting the nation.

Recall that the minister announced the suspension of duties, tariffs and taxes for the importation of some food items through land and sea borders, a move he said was a result of the president’s directive to address food insecurity.

Detailing further the six measures to be rolled out to achieve the president’s directive, Kyari said the government would grant a 150-day duty-free import window for food commodities as well as suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities through land and sea borders.

These commodities, he added, include maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas, noting that imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP).

He added, “The federal government will import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize. These semi-processed commodities will be supplied to small-scale processors and millers across the country.

“There will be engagement with relevant stakeholders to set a GMP and purchase surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve, ramp-up of production for the 2024/2025 farming cycle through continued support to smallholder farmers during the ongoing wet season farming through existing government initiatives; strengthening and accelerating dry season farming nationwide; embarking on aggressive agricultural mechanization to reduce drudgery, lower production costs, and boost productivity;collaborating with sub-national entities to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation.”

He also said the ministry would be working closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities under river basin authorities across the federation as well as developing strategic engagement for youth and women for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and pepper to increase production volume, stabilize prices, and address food shortages.

According to him, the ministry would also be fast-tracking ongoing engagements with the Nigerian military to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme and encouraging other para-military establishments to utilize available arable lands for cultivation.

Kyari noted that in the next 14 days, in close collaboration with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the Economic Management Team (EMT), the ministry will convene with respective agencies to finalize the implementation frameworks.