The Nigerian government has announced decisive measures to combat the detrimental practice of hoarding essential food items, pledging to penalise offenders. This move comes in response to the disruptive impact of hoarding on food prices across the nation.
Hoarding involves the accumulation of food commodities, particularly grains, from markets nationwide, resulting in artificial scarcity and subsequent price hikes.
During a visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, in Abuja, Nasarawa State Governor, Mr. Abdullahi Sule, unveiled the government’s strategy to address the pressing issue. Governor Sule highlighted the government’s exploration of solutions, including tapping into the strategic grain reserve, to alleviate the burden of soaring food costs exacerbated by hoarding practices.
”With the renewed hope agenda as well as a request from the Minister of Agriculture, we will double it, if for instance, we have been providing 13,000 bags of fertiliser to the farmers we will increase it to 26,000 bags of fertiliser,” Governor Sule remarked.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by farmers amidst the high cost of living, Governor Sule reiterated, ”Because of the high cost of living, farmers are having more challenges, and the government is in the position to provide support, so we will continue to support smallholder farmers to improve production and reduce pressure on the foreign exchange.
To alleviate the strain of escalating food prices, Governor Sule emphasised the examination of strategic grain reserves, underscoring the need to deter hoarding practices. He cited discussions with the National Security Adviser, indicating the President’s keen interest in curbing food hoarding and enforcing penalties on offenders.
Governor Sule highlighted Nasarawa State’s steadfast support for farmers engaged in dry-season farming over the past four and a half years, affirming the government’s continued assistance to bolster production and ease foreign exchange pressures.
Earlier, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, expressed confidence in Nasarawa State’s readiness to participate in dry-season farming activities. He lauded the state’s prominence in grains, legumes, and root crop cultivation, highlighting the presence of major rice millers within its borders.
Furthermore, the minister urged Nasarawa State to prepare for enhanced support for farmers during this period, citing the recent establishment of a solar cell production plant by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in Gora, Nasarawa State. This development is anticipated to facilitate solar-powered irrigation and mechanisation in agricultural production, with Governor Sule encouraged to champion such initiatives given his engineering background.