• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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CBN allocates ₦100bn of fertilizers to tackle food inflation

Olayemi Cardoso blames foreign education, healthcare for naira’s slide

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday, allocated a total of 2.15 million bags of fertilizers, worth over N100 billion to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

This according to Olayemi Cardoso, the governor of CBN, is aimed at enhancing the nation’s food production capacity and security, curbing inflation and ultimately ensuring price stability.

Read also:Tackling Food Price Inflation, The need for a coordinated response by state governors

Cardoso disclosed this during his visit to Abubakar Kyari, the minister of Agriculture and Food Security in Abuja.

He said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria places a significant emphasis on maintaining price stability as one of its primary mandates and food prices is a crucial component of inflation, especially considering that a substantial portion of household expenditure in Nigeria is allocated towards food and non-alcoholic beverages.

“This reinforces the critical need to address food inflation as a pivotal aspect of managing overall headline inflation rates.”

He noted that while the CBN has been implementing several measures to curb inflation, in the short term, the inflationary pressures have remained predominantly driven by escalating food prices.

Read also:We are moving to end food crisis, hardship in Nigeria — Governors

He explained that while transient inflationary pressures may persist, the government anticipate substantial alleviation by the third quarter of 2024.

“This is precisely why we convene today to strengthen our collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture with a shared objective of mitigating the surge in food prices. In alignment with our strategic shift towards focusing on our fundamental mandate, the CBN has veered away from direct quasi-fiscal interventions and transitioned towards leveraging conventional monetary policy tools for executing monetary policies.

“In this light, we aim to extend our support and foster closer ties with ministries, departments and agencies that bear the mandate and expertise to undertake these critical initiatives.

“Consequently, we aim to enhance our partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, thereby bolstering your endeavours to enhance food productivity and security, and ultimately, curbing food inflation and fortifying our pursuit of price stability.

“In pursuit of these goals, we are delighted to announce the allocation of 2.15 million bags of fertilizer valued at over N100 billion, which we’re humbly handing over to the Ministry of Agriculture.”

Read also:High food prices direct consequence of insecurity – Pat Utomi

In his remarks, Abubakar Kyari noted that the agriculture sector had recently been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding, climate change as well and the Naira redesign policy, which according to had adversely affected farmers at the grassroots.

“So those effects and some conflicts here and insecurity there, really impacted on the agricultural production. But I’m happy to say that most of those things that I mentioned are on the decline, insecurity is on the decline. Also, we are beginning to mitigate against climate change by incentivizing farming activities in agriculture.

“Fertilizer constitutes the majority cost value in terms of inputs in any agricultural production. So we are very happy and we are extremely grateful for this gesture. And we have right now a program called ‘the National Agricultural Growth Scheme’ that has been supported by the African Development Bank to give a 50 per cent subsidy of all inputs to our farmers.

“But with Mr. President’s intervention. We have gone a bit further again, to support farmers in terms of the other percentage.”

The Minister speaking further, stressed the need to boost repairs of irrigation infrastructure to support the ll-year farming system in the country.

Abubakar Bagudu, the minister of budget and economic planning in his remarks, noted that Nigeria was not alone in the issue of high food prices, which according to him is escalating due to the high cost of energy.

He commended the efforts of the CBN, stating that the efforts at addressing sustainable food challenges in the country must be encouraged.

“We are competing with other countries in the world and agriculture is the most distorted in international trade, and because of that, a collaboration between institutions is necessary,” he said.

Speaking further, Bagudu acknowledged that in the 2024 budget, agriculture received close to N1 trillion, stating that the significant increase in budgetary allocation is consistent with the renewed hope agenda of President Tinubu.