• Thursday, July 25, 2024
businessday logo


Buhari orders release of 40,000 tones of grains from strategic reserves

Buhari approves Seplat Energy’s acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday directed the federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to release about 40,000 metric tones of grains, to cushion the effect of hunger in Nigeria

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abubakar Mohammed, told State Journalists, that the grains will be sold to Nigerians to force down prices of essential food items.

Nigeria’s food inflation recently rise by 1.62% on month-on-month basis, settling at 15.6%, as prices of essential food commodities increased.
The nation’s worsening security challenges have also further cast doubt over food production, as most farmers are afraid to go to farm, for fear of being kidnapped

The Minister who stated that he was summoned by the President over the rising economic challenges, added that the President “actually directed and approved the release of grains from our Strategic grain reserves by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to him, “ this is to cushion the effect of some of the issues we are facing with high prices of commodities across the country and also to cushion these festivities; Ramadan, Easter, Salah so that there will be a little cushion for the people during these festivities”

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has also been mandated to do the distribution of the grains that is coming from our Strategic Grains Reserve, as directed by Mr. President.

He disclosed that the government will release about 12,000 metric tons in the first instance, while another 10,000 metric tons will be handed over to the Humanitarian Ministry

Read also: How Buhari turned deaf ears when opportunities knocked

“Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will continue. So, I think in all there should be over 40,000 metric tons that will be released as we start the release of the grains”
The Minister agreed that “insecurity might affect a bit of agriculture, however, as you can see, there’s really no sharp drop in productivity in agricultural production. There’s still food, and people are still cultivating in all parts of the country.”

He however assured that government is doing everything humanly possible to make sure that production continues in other parts and even areas where there are issues.

“The government is doing whatever it takes. Like in the Ministry of Agriculture, we have Agro Rangers who sometimes provide some kind of security cover that will make sure food production does not stop. I can assure you that we don’t have problems with food production at this point.
Speaking on the effect of the Russian/Ukraine conflict on wheat supply, Mohammed described it as “an issue of concern, adding that “As a result of that Mr. President has directed that we sit and discuss and not just the Ministry of Agriculture, but NALDA, NCFI, all of those that are concerned, the Central Bank.

“We have met about two to three times to discuss the issue of Ukraine. Yes, indeed, Nigeria imports grains and other agricultural input from Ukraine, we are making sure that we look inwards and outwards to make sure this conflict does not affect our agricultural sector.

He stated that the country is already looking Inwards, looking at fabrication of certain equipment that we can do.
“Also surveying and looking for areas that we can even produce our own fertilizer because we have the mineral deposits that are precursors to fertilizer production and also other places where we can import, apart from Ukraine

“ The most important thing is to up our own agricultural production and this is without saying that no administration in recent times that has given the agriculture sector such an attention and funding as the current administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.
He assured that the grains will be equitably distributed to avoid the hoarding.

“If you remember very well, during the COVID pandemic, Mr. President also directed and approved the release of grains, the grains were released and distributed.
“So those structures of distribution, both from the Humanitarian and the Ministry of Agriculture, the same structures that we used. However, whatever you do, you take a look, is there any area for improvement? Is there any area that you can change, restructure? We’ll take that into consideration and distribute the grains as has been done in the past?”