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Food Prices To Crash In 180 Days, Says Agric Minister

 Daud Olatunji

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, has announced a comprehensive plan to crash food prices within 180 days. 

Kyari unveiled these measures on his X (formerly Twitter) handle, outlining a series of strategic actions aimed at stabilizing the nation’s food market.

Kyari stated, “Our administration has unveiled a series of strategic measures aimed at addressing the high food prices currently affecting our nation. 

“These measures will be implemented over the next 180 days.

“The outlined measures include the suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes on the importation of certain food commodities through land and sea borders. Commodities such as maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas will benefit from this policy, aimed at easing the cost burden on consumers.”

In addition to the tax suspension, Kyari reiterated the introduction of a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) for imported food commodities. 

Addressing concerns about the genetic composition and quality of these imports, he assured that strict standards will be upheld to ensure the safety and quality of food items for consumption.

“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,” Kyari revealed.

To further bolster food security, the government plans to engage with relevant stakeholders to set a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) and purchase surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve.

 This move is expected to stabilize prices and ensure the availability of essential food items.

Kyari outlined an ambitious plan to ramp up agricultural production for the 2024/2025 farming cycle.

 The government will continue supporting small holder farmers during the ongoing wet season farming through existing initiatives and will strengthen and accelerate dry season farming nationwide.

“Embarking on aggressive agricultural mechanisation to reduce drudgery, lower production costs, and boost productivity,” Kyari stated.

He added that the move  includes collaborating with sub-national entities to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation. 

According to him, the government will also work closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities across the federation.

He stated further that, recognizing the crucial role of youth and women in agriculture, the government plans to develop strategic engagements for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and pepper. 

He said the  initiative aims to increase production volume, stabilise prices, and address food shortages. 

He added that  ongoing engagements with the Nigerian Military will be fast-tracked to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme, with encouragement for other paramilitary establishments to utilize available arable lands for cultivation.

He said “ this committee will develop and implement policies prioritizing livestock development in alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan. Furthermore, a Ministry of Livestock Development has been created to support these efforts. 

“The government will also scale up the Home Garden Initiative, supported by the Office of the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Kyari emphasised that the success of these measures hinges on the cooperation and collaboration of all relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and stakeholders. 

He said  “over the next 14 days, the government will convene with respective agencies to finalise the implementation frameworks in close collaboration with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the Economic Management Team (EMT).

“As our nation confronts this critical food security challenge, I reiterate President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to achieving food security and ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry,” Kyari declared.

 “My team and I will work swiftly and diligently to actualize these crucial policies, ensuring food security for everyone in the immediate term while continuing our strategies for long-term interventions to address underlying causes and ensure sustainable and resilient food systems in Nigeria.”

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