With current strategic measures, food prices ‘ll crash in 180 days – FG

The federal government Wednesday assured that food prices will crash in 180 days from now.

The government also reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to allow a 150-day duty-free importation of food items as one of the measures to cushion the current economic hardship.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Senator Abubakar Kyari announced this Wednesday on his X handle.

Specifically, he said the federal government will, among other measures, import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize.

“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;

“150-Day Duty-Free Import Window for Food Commodities; Suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities through land and sea borders. These commodities include maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas.

“Imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP). We understand concerns about the quality of these imports, especially regarding their genetic composition. The government assures that all standards will be maintained to ensure the safety and quality of food items for consumption,” Kyari said.

Writing further, the minister said: “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.

“Engagement with relevant stakeholders to set a GMP and purchase surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve; Ramp-Up of Production for the 2024/2025 Farming Cycle; Continued support to smallholder farmers during the ongoing wet season farming through existing government initiatives; Strengthening and accelerating dry season farming nationwide;

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

“Collaborating with sub-national entities to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation; Working closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities under river basin authorities across the federation.

“Developing strategic engagement for youth and women for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and pepper to increase production volume, stabilize prices, and address food shortages; Fast-tracking ongoing engagements with the Nigerian Military to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme and encouraging other para-military establishments to utilize available arable lands for cultivation.

“Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee; This committee has been inaugurated on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, to develop and implement policies prioritizing livestock development in alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan, and a ministry of Livestock Development has been created.”

On ways of enhancing nutrition security, the minister said this will include “Promoting the production of fortified food commodities. Supporting the scale-up of the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, he also explained that, “Over the next 14 days, in close collaboration with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the Economic Management Team (EMT), we will convene with respective agencies to finalize the implementation frameworks. We will ensure that information is publicly available to facilitate the participation of all relevant stakeholders across the country.”

….Assures success

“The success of these measures hinges on the cooperation and collaboration of all relevant MDAs and stakeholders.

“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.

“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,” the minister further stated.