‘Why food prices are very high’

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(Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)

Experts in the agricultural sector have identified rising spate of insecurity, misdirection of government funds and poor implementation of interventions by the Federal Government as the leading causes of hike in food prices.

Other causes identified include multiple level of taxation through inter-state food transportation from both the federal, state and local government authorities.

Also, some farmers who crave to be anonymous while speaking to The Guardian said often, they had to bribe bandits and herdsmen in their locality so as to enable them to access their farmlands unhindered.

One of the farmers said: “The hike in prices of food is not our making. At every level of production, we have to bribe the bandits so as to have a hitch-free farming and harvesting.”

He said “to take beans,” for instance, “we have to settle both bandits and security officials while transporting the produce. All this will go into cost of production which we transfer to the end consumer.”

President of Small-Scale Women’s Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), Mary Afan, also affirmed insecurity, saying most farmers could no longer farm in the hinterland and all efforts to engage the police to provide them with security had proven abortive.

The National President of All Farmers Progressive Association, Ogbo Joseph Douglas, lamented that food prices were going beyond the reach of the common man and even farmers themselves could not afford food because they could not produce all crops.

Ogbo said: “That is why most of what the government is doing is not commensurate with expectations. If what the government is spending on agriculture is reaching the farmers, food prices should have gone down by now.

“How do you explain a module of beans that sold for N250 last year, but now goes for N1000, or a module of garri that was selling for N100, but now sold for N500. Even a module of cassava flour sold for N60, but now sells for N400.”

He said if the rising food prices was not dealt with, the government should prepare for #’EndHunger’ protest, which he said would be worse than the #EndSARs protest.

He, however, stressed the need to that ensure farmers return to the farm with mechanised implements to enable them to cultivate large hectares of farmland.

He said: “I on my own can provide verifiable five million farmers and before giving money to such people, we will know how to monitor them to pay back.”

He said CBN had been lamenting that farmers were not paying back their loans because it loans were getting into the hands of wrong farmers who did not invest the money in agriculture, saying the government should channel such money to core farmers.



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Source: The Guardian

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