Food importation will erode gains made in rice, maize, wheat production in Nigeria – Farmers Association 

NAIRAMETRICS

The National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Arc. Kabir Ibrahim has stated that the duty-free importation for food items will lead to the erosion of gains made in local production of maize, rice and wheat.  

He disclosed this in a chat with Nairametrics on Tuesday where he stated that the situation with food security today requires some form of trade liberalisation and imports but should not exceed the stipulated 150 days period. 

However, he noted that rice importation would be very painful to Nigerians who have invested heavily in rice production and processing.  

Furthermore, he called on governments to invest through the provision of subsidies on inputs such as machines, fertilizers and chemicals in order to have a sustainable food system in the country.  

He stated, “The gains made in internal sufficiency will certainly be lost in some of the three competencies mentioned viz; rice, maize and wheat.”  

“Nigeria and Nigerians have made sizable investments in rice production and processing such that it is going to be very painful if this was done if absolutely necessary. As a matter of fact the wheat and maize issues if properly interrogated are easier to handle because some limited importation has always been there.” 

“In order to really have a sustainable  food system Nigeria should simply encourage and intensify production, processing, distribution and marketing of competences in which have proven comparative advantage by providing sustainable subsidy to inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals and mechanization.” 

“We have no objection to controlled importation within a limited period to cushion the effect of hardship among our citizens but it should not be allowed beyond the agreed period of 5 months or 150 days as well as the agreed quarries of 500,000MT.” 

Backstory  

Yesterday, the federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security announced plans to begin duty-free importation of select food commodities such as rice, maize and wheat to increase food supply to Nigerians and replenish the strategic grain reserve of the government.  

  • Furthermore, the federal government will engage stakeholders to establish a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) for commodities. They will also ramp up production, particularly among smallholder farmers, in the 2024/2025 farming season and promote the production of fortified food commodities, among other initiatives. 
  • Nigeria is facing one of the worst food crises in a generation, with food inflation surpassing 40% in May 2024. Data from the NBS shows that the prices of staple foods such as rice, maize, wheat, bread, and beans have more than doubled on average over the past year.  
  • Projections from international development organizations, including the World Bank, FAO, and World Food Program (WFP), indicate that around 16% of Nigerians will experience severe hunger in 2024 due to the ongoing food crisis. 

THIS STORY FIRST APPEARED IN NAIRAMETRICS

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