Skyrocketing Prices Of Food: AFAN Calls For Decisive Action Ahead Of Harvest Season

-By our correspondent.

The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has asked the Federal government of Nigeria {FGN} to take decisive actions that would forestall the looming food crises and bring down the current high prices of food items in markets across the country.

President of AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, who made the call in a statement urged the government to urgently resuscitate the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA); the Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP), and intervene to restore the Strategic Grains Reserve (SGR) between October and November, 2021.

The statement read in part; ”The looming distortion in the food system by skyrocketing prices of food items can be tamed by taking decisive action in 8 weeks when the new harvest will start entering our traditional food markets such as DAWANAU, SAMINAKA, GIWA, DANDUME,SHEME and several others across the country.”

“This week has witnessed a marginal drop in food prices because early maturing crops have started hitting the market and the trend is likely to continue until it reaches a crescendo at the end of September and Mid-October. The right time to intervene by the FMARD through the SGR is at this point by resuscitating the GMP and transparently placing supply contracts.

We must set up a separate produce purchasing committee comprising of upright individuals to work with the SGR to transparently perform this exercise. The SGR should be freed from any encumbrance occasioned by the concession done in 2016/17/18 which left it with a mere 400,000 storage capacity out of its bandied 1.3million capacity attained between 2008/2010. “

“Whatever is strategically reserved can then be released in the first and Second quarters of 2022 to mitigate any inflationary trends and this intervention can be done again during the same period in the last quarter of 2022 for the year 2023!

The farmers will get a good price to be able to sustainably produce, the consumers will have fairly affordable prices and Nigeria will ultimately have sustainable food sufficiency and the much desired FOOD SECURITY to bring about sustainable development which will eventually lead to attainment of the 17 SDG goals in the medium term as well as the ultimate Agenda 2050”

“We can achieve these lofty ideals by doing the following:

  1. Harmonize all the initiatives by the CBN, NALDA, FMARD and all cross-cutting efforts like the PFI (Presidential Fertilizer Initiative), FSC (Food Security Council), NEC (National Economic Council) etc. in the Agriculture Space.
  2. Mr. President should assent to the NFRA and NADF Bills being processed by NASS as soon as they are presented.
  3. Reappraise the FMARD by appointing competent persons to drive it.
  4. Appoint a Special Adviser, who knows what to do about Food Security to work directly with the Food Security Council.

The current administration has taken very far reaching initiatives to make Agriculture work in Nigeria and it must be commended and eulogized appreciably. One can list, albeit off the cuff, the CBN Anchor Borrower Scheme, the assent to several bills such as the Seed Act 2019, the PVP Act 2021 among several others and the list is really endless!

The obvious threat factor to the attainment of food sufficiency, however for now, is probity, competence and knowing what to do in the management of the entire food system and this calls for reinvigorating it by appointing capable and competent hands with integrity.”

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