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FG may open grain reserve by March to cushion food prices



The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that the Federal Government might open the national grain reserve in the next two weeks if the rising food prices do not abate.
The minister, who disclosed this yesterday while speaking to journalists in Abuja, however, pointed out that food prices are beginning to drop in the market.
He said price of maize, sorghum and millet are beginning to drop, noting that maize has dropped from N180, 000 per ton to N140, 000 and in Kaduna, farmers were willing to sell at N135, 000.
Ogbeh disclosed that the Federal Government has also began to move soya beans through rail coaches from Katsina to Lagos, adding that the railway is cheaper and there are no problems of taxes or break down of trucks as when transported by road.
He said there are no fears about food shortage in the country, but added that though the country has some food stored in the silos, a new round of grains were being harvested in about four states.
Ogbeh explained that the stocks from the previous harvest were still with the millers’ warehouses, while wheat are being harvested.
He stated that despite the quantities of food that West African countries have carried from Nigeria, there are still a lot in the store, but he bemoaned the high the prices.
The minister noted that farmers have expressed resentment over plans by the Federal Government to cut food prices, accusing the government of spoiling their business, saying it is the first time they would be making high profit from farming.

He stressed the need for synergy and reasonable balance between the farmers’ profit and city dwellers survival.Ogbe, however, lamented the attack of maize by armyworm disease spreading across Africa, which has destroyed farms in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola.
He explained that the ministry has been trying to deal with the disease, adding that the usual spraying of insecticide cannot kill the disease, which bores into the plant.

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Chief Audu Ogbeh
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