By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
The Presidency in Abuja has lamented that the recent upsurge in food prices was gravitating to food crisis that could threaten Nigeria’s food security.
The Presidency also said that though many factors were responsible for the increasing food prices, information from stakeholders within the agricultural sector showed that there was a decline in recent days.
Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who raised the alarm on the hike in food prices in his remarks at the National Food Security Council meeting at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, said that his office on Wednesday, met with agricultural commodity association, to ascertain the root causes of the recent spike in food prices.
He also said that the meeting was to adopt a strategy that could bring a solution to the potential crisis.
Prof. Gambari expressed the optimism that with determination, coordination and hard work, the administration would weather the storm and ensure stability and improvement.
According to him, “The recent surge of national food prices is gradually evolving into a food crisis with the ability to threaten the nation’s food security.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), my office as the secretariat of the National Food Security Council, met with the all Agricultural Commodity Association, to ascertain the root causes of the recent spike in food prices and craft mitigating strategies to what could be a potential crisis.
“Although various concerns were raised of the root cause of increase in commodity cost, we have been informed that prices are actually on the decline as new grains have been introduced to the market.
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“For example, new maize which was previously sold for N25,000 per bag is now being sold between N12,000 and N17,000 and it is expected to fall between N7,000 and N8,000 per bad by November 2020.
“According to the various leaders of agricultural commodity association, the price decline has also been experienced in millet, beans and sorghum. The hike therefore is to be seen as a transient situation.”
He said, “However, it is important to note that the most prevailing concern of the various leaders of the agricultural commodity association, was their demand that there should be better coordination, synergy and cooperation across the sector.
“This has been largely accounted for the gross misinformation and nationwide speculation which is being experienced.
“Not disregarding the impact of other value triggers such as the cyclical-off season period phenomenon, the COVID-19 pandemic and infrastructure challenges, the importance of collaboration can still not be overemphasized.
“As I welcome all participants to this crucial gathering, I urge that we all work hand in hand to ensure the protection of our nation’s food basket.
“Agriculture is a major priority for this administration and the crucial driver for the development of the nation. Therefore, the growth of the sector leaves no room for complacency and there is still a long arduous road to go before achieving those goals.
“However, with determination, coordination and hard work, we have the capacity and will therefore demonstrate the wherewithal to our exceed our expectation.”
The meeting was attended by President Buhari, six governors each from the six geopolitical zone, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and some key government functionaries.