• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

FG alludes to looming food scarcity

… orders free distribution of 42,000 metric tons of grains

The federal government has raised concerns over the continued shortage of food supply in the country, announcing the readiness of the government to freely distribute a total of 42,000 metric tons of assorted grains to Nigerians, in response to the rising food crisis in the country.

Abubakar Kyari, the minister of Agriculture stated this during a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He explained that to address the food shortage in the country, efforts were ongoing to ramp up production of food, adding that there are plans to incentivize farming activities in the country.

According to Kyari, the government has began talks with the farmer’s Association to ramp up food production, with plans to offtake the produce and distribute to the needy across the country.

“So we are asking them to produce and handover to government, so that government can give out to the population. So that is, we are still working out the modalities of when and how we’re going to do that. As soon as that is done, I assure you that we roll out the program.

“Food security covers three issues, affordability, availability and accessibility and anyone of three is impacted then there is an issue of scarcity. In this case, like you already pointed out, you will see food in the market but those that are playing in this field, knows the window of food scarcity.

“Before, naturally, we all know that by March/April, just before the wet season, usually food prices go up, but what we find out this time around is that it’s happening in January and February, which means that the issue of supply and demand is taking place.

“The affordability aspect is the greatest challenge that we find ourselves today and the risk is that food is available in the market, but it is just not affordable.

“So these are the intervention, the government is trying to come in and then the number one is to make food available, which is through production and also the offtake of the rice. So major point today is affordability and then scarcirty is looming with the way it is going,” he said.

Speaking further, the minister noted that the government has directed the release of 42,000 tons of grains to be delivered freely to those who need it the most. “We have met with NEMA. We have met with the DSS to give us the index to gather intelligence report for where and when they are needed the most.

“We have 53,000 metric tons of grains in our reserve across the countries. We have requested to receive 42,000 metric tons, and for very good reason and we will keep 11,000 metric tons for any eventuality. So the 42,000 is in the process of releasing and we have already started talking with NEMA to see how we can get them out to where they are needed,” he said.

In his remarks, Mohammed Idris, the minister of Information and National Orientation said that ministerial briefing was in furtherance of the ministry’s mandate to manage and enhance the image and reputation of the people and government of Nigeria through a public information system that facilitates access by citizens to timely information.

He explained that the Ministerial Press Briefing Series (MPBS) was in line with the restore trust and amplify policies and programmes’ pillars of the Ministry.

According to him, the government is determined to restore trust, confidence and credibility to public communications, by engaging in a timely, proactive and consistent fashion with stakeholders, across government, private sector and international communities.

He said, “At the Ministry, we are highlighting and amplifying the policies, programs and achievements of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration, and the positive impact of these policies and programs in the lives of the Nigerian people. We are also working to showcase inspiring stories and narratives from and about this blessed and beautiful country that we call home.

“We are implementing a series of national campaigns to achieve a reorientation of attitudes, values and ethics in Nigeria. We have already started work in this regard, and very soon we will launch Nigeria’s new National Values Charter, which will outline the rights and responsibilities that government and citizens have towards each other, and form the foundation for these national reorientation campaigns.

“This is the first in the series, there will be many more of this Briefings that will take place, periodically, in the months and years ahead. We will continue to strive to refine and to improve our engagement with you, the members of the fourth estate of the realm, and with the Nigerian people,” he said.