• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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FG to distribute 42,000 metric tonnes of grains

Multi-billion dollar export market, local demand, make Nigerian grains promising

The Federal Government has raised concerns over the continued shortage of food in the country, announcing the readiness of the government to freely distribute 42,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains to Nigerians, in response to the rising food crisis.

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 the production of food, just as he affirmed plans to incentivise farming activities in the country.

According to Kyari, the government has begun talks with the farmer associations to ramp up food production, with plans to off-take the produce and distribute to the needy across the country.

“We are asking them to produce and hand over to the government so that we can give out to the population. 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 programme.

“Food security covers three issues: affordability, availability and accessibility, and when any one of these is impacted, then there is an issue of scarcity. In this case, as already pointed out, you will see food in the market but those that are playing in this field know the window of 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 interventions, the government is trying to come in and then the number one is to make food available, which is through production and also the off-take of the rice. The major point today is affordability, and then scarcity 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 tonnes of grains to be delivered freely to those who need them the most. “We have met with NEMA. We have met with the DSS to give us the index to gather intelligence reports for where and when they are needed the most.

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

Mohammed Idris, the minister of information and national orientation, said that the 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.