NIGERIA – The Federal Government has ordered the release of 102,000 metric tonnes of rice, maize millet and garri amid the rising food prices in Nigeria.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen, shortly after meeting with the Presidential Committee on Food Emergency in Abuja.

He said that these were immediate measures taken by the Federal Government to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians who are made to bear the brunt of high prices of food in the market.

As part of the food consignment, 42,000 tonnes includes maize, millet and garri from the federal government and 60,000 tonnes of rice released by the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria.

Mr Idris also said that the ministry of agriculture and food security would further invest massively in the farming process to boost production and ensure the country’s food potential is fully exploited.

He said that the government would appeal to persons or groups to stop hoarding these products in order to maximise profit to the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.

“Government, of course, is also looking at all those who are hoarding these commodities because, actually, these commodities are available in the stores of many traders.

“Government is appealing to them that they should open up these doors and make these commodities available in the interest of our nation.”

Concerns about food insecurity have been longstanding in Nigeria but worsened after President Tinubu’s move to remove the fuel subsidy, which had been in place for decades, and kept the price of petroleum products low.

According to sources, the removal has led to increases of up to 200% in the prices of petroleum which consequently has led to an escalation of prices of foodstuff.

This prompted the president, last year, to declare a state of food emergency to ensure sustainable food security.

A joint study by Consumers International and Consumer Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation (CADEF) recently  revealed worrying trends in Nigeria’s food pricing landscape.

The research spanned six geopolitical zones, focusing on fluctuations in food prices, especially staple items like yam, garri, rice, beans, chicken, and groundnut oil between the months of November and December 2023.

The study noted significant differences in price changes across the value chain, with consumers facing much higher increases compared to farmers.

According to the study, November and December brought forth noteworthy shifts in the percentage changes across the value chain for key commodities including beans, maize, and yam.

Reacting to the findings of the study, the Executive Director of the Consumer Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation (CADEF), Prof. Chiso Okafor, stressed the need for regulatory intervention to ensure fair pricing in food markets, adding that the findings underscore the urgent need for authorities to investigate and address any unfair practices that may be contributing to the burden on consumers and farmers

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