The All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has called for urgent action to forestall the looming food crisis and bring down the skyrocketing prices of food items ahead of the 2021 harvest season.
Arc. Kabir Ibrahim who made the call in a statement on Friday also called for Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) and National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to be resuscitated while intervening to restock the Strategic Grains Reserve (SGR) between October and November this year.
He noted that the looming distortion in the food system by skyrocketing prices of food items could be tamed by taking decisive action in eight weeks when the new harvest would start entering the traditional food markets such as Dawanau, Saminaka, Giwa, Dandume, Sheme and several others across the country.
According to him, “This week has witnessed a marginal drop in food prices because early maturing crops have started hitting the market and the trend is likely to continue until it reaches a crescendo at the end of September and Mid-October.
“The right time to intervene by the FMARD through the SGR is at this point by resuscitating the GMP and transparently placing supply contracts. We must set up a separate produce purchasing committee comprising of upright individuals to work with the SGR to transparently perform this exercise.
“The SGR should be freed from any encumbrance occasioned by the concession done in 2016, 2017 and 2018 which left it with a mere 400,000 storage capacity out of its bandied 1.3million capacity attained between 2008/2010.
“Whatever is strategically reserved can then be released in the first and second quarters of 2022 to mitigate any inflationary trends and this intervention can be done again during the same period in the last quarter of 2022 for the year 2023.
“The farmers will get a good price to be able to sustainably produce, the consumers will have fairly affordable prices and Nigeria will ultimately have sustainable food sufficiency and the much desired food security to bring about sustainable development which will eventually lead to attainment of the 17 SDG goals in the medium term as well as the ultimate Agenda 2050”, he submitted.
He observed that these could be achieved by harmonizing all the initiatives by the CBN, NALDA, FMARD and all cross-cutting efforts like the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), Food Security Council (FSC), National Economic Council (NEC) among others in the Agriculture space.
He continued, “Mr. President should assent to the NFRA and NADF Bills being processed by NASS as soon as they are presented, reappraise the FMARD by appointing competent persons to drive it as well as appoint a Special Adviser who knows what to do on Food Security to work directly with the Food Security Council.”
Arc. Kabir maintained that the current administration had taken very far reaching initiatives to make Agriculture work in Nigeria adding that it must be commended and eulogized appreciably.
“One can list, albeit off the cuff, the CBN Anchor Borrower Scheme, the assent to several bills such as the Seed Act 2019, the PVP Act 2021 among several others and the list is really endless.
“The obvious threat factor to the attainment of food sufficiency, however for now, is probity, competence and knowing what to do in the management of the entire food system and this calls for reinvigorating it by appointing capable and competent hands with integrity”, he said.
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