Food shortage could hit Nigeria next year following the unprecedented increase in the demand for the country’s food at the global market.
The presidency raised the alarm that Nigeria’s cereals and grains, were being exported to foreign countries with check.
Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, said the many middle men were smuggling food out of Nigeria through the neighbouring countries.
“Huge demand for our grains in the global market is creating an excellent environment for the mindless export of Nigerian grains.
“Unless this is curtailed, Nigerian markets will be bereft of food by January next year,’’ he warned.
The Ministry of Agriculture had advised the president on the need to draw the attention of all Nigerians to this issue, he said.
The situation could to shortage of grains in the country by January.
“Over the past year, providence has blessed Nigeria with bountiful harvest of grains, more than enough to feed the country and to export to other countries. At present, there is a high demand for grains from Nigeria, from African countries as distant as Libya and Algeria, and from places as far away as Brazil.
“However, the ministry of agriculture has raised concerns about a massive rate of exportation, which could lead to shortage of grains in Nigeria by January,” he said.
He explained that Nigeria currently enjoyed a free market situation. “President Muhammadu Buhari is not in any way opposed to or intent on tampering with that.
“On the other hand, exporters also have moral obligation to make their produce available to Nigerians who live within our country’s borders, to ensure that our citizens have access to food.”
No fewer than 500 trucks laden with grain leave Nigerian markets every week, headed for countries outside our borders.
The major markets involved in this exportation are the Dawanau market in Kano, Naigatari in Jigawa, Bama in Borno, and Ilela in Sokoto, as well as three other main markets in Kebbi State.
He further explained that President Buhari had, on various occasions, reiterated his plan for Nigeria to become a food-producing giant, self-sufficient to the point of depending very little on imported food.