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Grains scarcity worsens

…buyers scramble for products

By Fatima Muraina

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Nigerian traders and firms dealing in grains purchase and processing have raised the alarm over scarcity of the products.

Investigation by The Hope also revealed that scrambling by  the traders and buyers for the products explains its attendant hike in prices.

The Hope reliably gathered that, grains such as maize, beans, wheat, soya beans and others, have become scarce and hot cakes in the markets.

It was gathered that most hit by the scarcity are poultry farmers, many of whom are closing down their farms while others are struggling to survive.

Stakeholders hinted that a mudu of beans, maize and other grains might go for as high as N10,000 except government intervenes as quickly as possible.

While calling for the urgent intervention from government at all levels, the stakeholders noted that such an intervention might be in the areas of provision of land and inputs, land clearing, provision of grants and soft loan facilities and security of farmlands.

 Ondo State Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Gbenga Ayodele, alleged the high cost of grains and their scarcity to lack of government assistance for farmers, high cost of inputs and seedlings which are beyond the reach of the farmers, cost of production and worst of all, the herdsmen murderous activities that have chased away farmers from their farmlands.

Ayodele explained that the little rice they are currently producing are self sponsored, and is always being bought off by the Northern Governors who now resell to people in Ondo State.

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He said government should be more proactive in assisting farmers in the areas of land acquisition, provision of inputs and improved seedlings as well as work more on farm security.

The RIFAN chairman added that government should re-introduce the “Buy Back” policy, and resell cheaper to the masses, just as he stressed the need for enacting a law to control prices of food such that every trader will sell same price at all designated selling points.

“Government at all levels should take action now. We need Federal and State intervention. We should be our own brothers’ keepers because we are now on operation feed yourself and not the nation again,” he stated.

Equally, the chairman, Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN), Evangelist Apata Patrick, advised the people not to be discouraged but encourage themselves in production by planting a seed to help the future because government cannot handle the situation alone.

He urged residents of the state to utilise any available land for food production to avoid the dilemma of non availability of food, which he said, might be suicidal.

Patrick who stressed the urgent need for government intervention said such intervention could be in land clearing and putting in place security to encourage the people.

He said government should also help in making a favourable policy for the farmers and citizens as well as help subsidise the agricultural inputs through Commodity Associations, and availability of soft loan facilities.

According to him, climatic change which created fears in farmers for the uncertainty, transportation cost, and exchange rate instability are also parts of the challenges.

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 Ondo State President of Farmers Congress who doubles as the State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Mr Abayomi Monilari, attributed the high cost and scarcity of the products to  the law of demand and supply, adding that farmers have been displaced due to insecurity occasioned by insurgency and activities of Fulani herdsmen.

Monilari, a rice farmer, also traced the scarcity to non availability of farm implements and high cost of agro chemicals, inputs, noting that farmers are financially incapable of producing in commercial quantity leading to production shortage.

” Agriculture is more than speaking grammar, it’s practical. Our government should be more proactive and practical.

Let farmers’ bodies be involved in food production, and make provision for mechanised farming  and subsidise all agricultural inputs to make a headway.

” If Mr President wants his policy to materialise, he should deal with the real farmers and not the political farmers,” Monilari emphasised.

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