FG unveils bold 180-day plan to crash food prices, ensure food security

In a groundbreaking announcement set to transform Nigeria’s food landscape, the Federal Government has unveiled a series of strategic measures aimed at crashing food prices within the next 180 days.

This ambitious plan, designed to ensure food security and economic stability, was detailed in a social media statement by Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security.

Kyari’s announcement, which echoed a statement briefly shared earlier in the week by President Bola Tinubu’s media aide, Bayo Onanuga, outlines several key initiatives poised to bring immediate relief to Nigerians grappling with soaring food costs.

150-Day Duty-Free Import Window for Food Commodities

One of the most significant measures is a 150-day suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes on critical food commodities like maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas. This move, applicable to imports through both land and sea borders, aims to flood the market with affordable food items. To maintain quality and safety, these imports will adhere to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP).

“We understand concerns about the quality of these imports, especially regarding their genetic composition. The government assures that all standards will be maintained to ensure the safety and quality of food items for consumption,” Kyari emphasized.

Importation of Essential Commodities

To further support local food production, the government plans to import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and maize. These semi-processed commodities will be distributed across the country, bolstering the efforts of small-scale processors and millers.

Strategic Food Reserve and Stakeholder Engagement

The government is also gearing up to engage stakeholders in setting a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) and purchasing surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve. This initiative is expected to stabilize prices and ensure a steady food supply.

Boosting Production for the 2024/2025 Farming Cycle

The comprehensive plan includes continued support for smallholder farmers, accelerated dry season farming, and aggressive agricultural mechanization to reduce costs and increase productivity. Other measures involve identifying and cultivating irrigable lands, rehabilitating irrigation facilities, and promoting greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops like tomatoes and pepper to stabilize prices and address shortages.

Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation

An Implementation Committee, inaugurated on July 9, 2024, will drive livestock development in line with the National Livestock Transformation Plan. A new Ministry of Livestock Development has also been created to prioritize this sector.

Enhancing Nutrition Security

The government is set to promote the production of fortified food commodities and support the scale-up of the Home Garden Initiative spearheaded by the Office of the First Lady.

In collaboration with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the Economic Management Team (EMT), the government will finalize the implementation frameworks over the next 14 days.

“We will ensure that information is publicly available to facilitate the participation of all relevant stakeholders across the country,” Kyari stated.

He called for cooperation and collaboration among all relevant MDAs and stakeholders, emphasizing President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to achieving food security.

“As our nation confronts this critical food security challenge, I reiterate President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to achieving food security and ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry,” Kyari declared.

This comprehensive strategy is set to provide immediate relief from high food prices while laying the groundwork for a more secure and resilient food system in Nigeria.

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