President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.
This was made known by the President during his nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary on Friday in Abuja.
Buhari pointed out that the Federal Government had made plans to end the disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities, as well as ensure that food prices are affordable for Nigerians.
What President Buhari is saying about food prices
President Buhari expressed regrets that despite significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agriculture value-chain, food prices had continued to rise.
He said the ministry should also work with the Nigerian Commodity Exchange and the National Assembly to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency to boost food production and address artificial food shortages created by middlemen.
“The agricultural sector remains key to our economic diversification efforts as the sector has been a consistent driver of the non-oil sector, contributing 22.35 per cent and 23.78 per cent to overall GDP in the first and second quarter of 2021.
“We have seen significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agricultural value-chain and these have continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up, due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.
“To address this, I am hereby directing the ministry of agriculture and rural development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies, the Nigerian Commodity Exchange and the National Assembly to find a lasting solution to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities,” the president said.
Buhari also noted that to further boost food production, the Federal Government has completed new dams and are in the process of rehabilitating some river basin development authorities to boost groundwater supply for rain-fed agriculture as well as surface water for irrigation agriculture.
He revealed that the water projects, completed between 2015 to 2020 had improved Nigerians’ access to potable water to 71% within the time period.
What you should know
Food prices have been on the increase across the country, contributing significantly to the high inflation witnessed across the country. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report, Nigeria’s food inflation was 21.83% for the month of June, down from 22.28%.