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FG releases 42,000mt of grains free to vurnarable Nigerians

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By Victoria Onehi

The Federal Government has announced it will release 42,000 metric tonnes of grains free to vurnarable Nigerians.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari disclosed this at a ministerial press briefing on Wednesday,initiated by Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris in Abuja.

According to the Minister, the grains will be given free nationwide to the needy and vulnerable.

The Minister said: “We are aware that food security is national security. We are trying to crash the prices of foods to make these available and affordable.

“Our interventions will be targeted at the needy in all parts of the country.”

Earlier, on February 8, 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000MT of maize, millet and other commodities from the national strategic reserves in order to address the rising cost of food in Nigeria.

Giving the breakdown of the distribution, Kyari said 1,200 trailers of food, which is an equivalent of 42,000mt, would be distributed through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

He said the ministry was still working out the modalities for the distribution, which will involve the State Security Service (SSS).

He added: “We have met with NEMA and the SSS to give us the index on where it is necessary based on intelligence report. We want to target those areas where vulnerable Nigerians are.

“The intervention is apt and will be targeted at the needy. We are partnering with other agencies to ensure that this food intervention gets to the needy.

“Food is available as can be seen in the markets but the high cost has become a source of concern for government given its impact on the populace.”

The Minister further revealed that the government would be supporting 500,000 farmers to cultivate and produce one million metric tonnes of rice.

He said this would increase Nigeria’s rice production from the current seven/eight million tonnes annually to a new level, adding that the government would offtake the 60,000 metric tonnes of rice being produced by millers.

Speaking on other developments being engineered by the Ministry under this administration,Kyari said there will be recapitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture. “Already, there is a provision for the National Agriculture Fund.

“We have also given the go-ahead to further subsidise fertilisers. We intend to do a comprehensive data capture of farmers. We are also trying to capture the geo-locations of farms.

“We want to do this because a lot of the data was not verified. There were non-farmers and political farmers in our database.”

Speaking on the  involvement of the governors in ensuring food security accross the country, Kyari said: “I have seen a lot of commitment to food security from the present governors.”

On plans to establish commodity boards, Kyari said: “I am in support because these boards will take charge of what is needed for the country.

“What we need is that we must secure the country first before any surplus is exported.”

Kyari said the proposed commodity boards will take charge of the food supply chain.

The Minister of information and National and Orientation of Nigeria, Idris Malagii described the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security as critical to the economy and the development of the nation.

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