Boosting Food Production
THE National Bureau of Statistics in its Consumer Price Index recently revealed that inflation rate hit 11.61 per cent in October from 11.24 in September, increasing by 0.37 per cent, the highest increase in eight months.
THE average prices on a monthly basis rose by 1.04 per cent in both food (13.5 per cent) and non-food (8.9 per cent) items.
AS if to underscore this fact, the Minister for State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, said recently that the closure of Nigerian borders has so energised rice farmers in the country that they are smiling to banks with impressive sales.
IT is clear that traders dealing in food products are having a good time due to the border closure. Unfortunately, while they are recording great sales, the ordinary man on the street is left to groan under the sharply increased prices of food products.
SOME lament that the border closure was undertaken to boost food production and crash prices of food items, but instead of achieving these objectives, it has created further problems, with farmers cashing in on the situation to increase the prices of their produce and exploit the common man.
IN fairness to the farmers, they are not to blame for their activities, because it has been clear to all that Nigerians would be put under some pressure with the border closure, because importation of some agricultural products have been prevented availability challenges would be created by the policy, and farmers would take advantage of the situation.
BESIDES, the unexpected nature of the border closure gave traders and farmers little time to prepare for the economic shock that followed.
STILL, the government believes the country is producing enough rice locally, hence it was quick to embark on border closure, only to discover a different situation currently.
WE The Hope therefore call on the federal government to do something in the short term to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses, especially as unscrupulous farmers are cashing on the present situation to exploit hapless Nigerians it’s becoming increasingly difficult to access local rice, a product supposedly thought available.
WE suggest that government can intervene by strengthening the existing marketing boards and making them viable as a way to stabilize prices.
IT could also embark on the repair of rural roads to reduce the cost of transportation of food products from the rural areas so as to make food more available for all.
APART from repairing rural roads, government should do all within its reach to facilitate agricultural production by identifying the basic needs of rural communities and encouraging youths to go into farming.
WE suggest that the government should set aside funds for agricultural based institutions make farm implements available and affordable to encourage people who want to go into farming.
WE also suggest that government should invest in seedlings and implements. This gesture will definitely lead to higher yields and encourage people to go into farming.