The minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that the federal government was considering opening the country’s grain reserves in the next two weeks as part of measures aimed at cushioning high prices.
This is even as he expressed worry over the rising cost of food prices in the country. Ogbeh, who stated this in a chat with journalists in Abuja also admitted that prices of grains like maize, sorghum and millet were beginning to drop.
According to him, “maize has dropped from N180,000 per ton to N140,000 and in Kaduna farmers are willing to sell at N135,000.”
Ogbeh, who also debunked rumours of an impending food shortage explained that new rounds of grains were being harvested in about four states.
He explained that the stocks from the previous harvest were still with the millers’ warehouses adding that wheat also was being harvested.
“Despite the quantities of food that West African countries have carried from Nigeria, there are still a lot in the store unfortunately the prices are still high,” he said.
The minister noted that the farmers have expressed their resentment with government over plans by the federal government to cut food prices, accusing the government of spoiling there business as this was the first time they would be making high profit from farming.
He opined that there was the need for synergy and reasonable balance between the farmers’ profit and city dwellers’ survival. Earlier the minister had said the $4.5 billion that should come to the agriculture sector from the Chinese government as grant to Nigeria must be approached with caution.
Recall that “As a way of strengthening the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the Republic of China, President Mohammed Buhari in April 2016 visited China and the Chinese President, Mr Xi Jinping, promised to grant Nigeria a loan for infrastructural development.”
The minister however said “the loan by way of machinery for mechanised agriculture may not be grabbed without some kinds of due diligence