The Federal Government has adopted measures to bring down prices of food items in the country, Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh has said.
The minister stated that “There is really no starvation in the land.”
The minister disclosed this to State House correspondents on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said the task force set up by the FEC last week to look at the issue of hike in food prices submitted an interim report yesterday.
Ogbeh, who noted that the committee’s work was almost concluded, said it identified the causes of food price increases.
According to him, “The good thing is that there is no real shortage of food. There is food, but the prices are a bit too high and Nigerians are groaning under the pain.”
He said the committee found out that the cost of transportation “is becoming extremely high, especially because most of our transpiration is by road and diesel prices have gone up and trucks are finding it difficult to move from place to place at old prices.”
The minister said the government, therefore, considered as an alternative, using railway wagons along the current railway network.
“As we did before when we moved cattle from North West to Lagos, we brought down the cost and avoided the multiple taxation on transporters by local governments which delay movement. We’ve decided to work with the state governments and the police to reduce delays,” he said.
He said the government would also adopt the Ivory Coast’s system in which “trucks carrying foods are given labels. In fact, in Ivory Coast, they cannot be stopped for more than 10 minutes anywhere. Even if something serious has happened, the security agencies will follow them to their destinations and come back to investigate whatever has happened.”
He added: “Finally, we shall be looking into our reserves if in the next few days, the situation persists, to see what we can bring out to lower the prices because another bumper harvest will be coming up again at the end of March.”