Food importation will jeopardise progress made in local production – AFAN

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

The National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Arc. Kabir Ibrahim has said that duty-free imports of food commodities will erode local production advances in maize, rice, and wheat.

This was disclosed by Ibrahim on Tuesday, stating that the situation with food security today requires some form of trade liberalisation and imports but should not exceed the stipulated 150 days period, according to Nairametrics.

He noted that rice importation would be extremely unpleasant for Nigerians who have invested considerably in rice farming and processing.

Furthermore, he urged governments to invest in the country’s food system by providing subsidies for inputs such as machinery, fertilizers, and chemicals.

“The gains made in internal sufficiency will certainly be lost in some of the three competencies mentioned viz; rice, maize and wheat.

“Nigeria and Nigerians have made sizable investments in rice production and processing such that it is going to be very painful if this was done if absolutely necessary. As a matter of fact the wheat and maize issues if properly interrogated are easier to handle because some limited importation has always been there.

“In order to really have a sustainable food system Nigeria should simply encourage and intensify production, processing, distribution and marketing of competences in which have proven comparative advantage by providing sustainable subsidy to inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals and mechanization.”

He continued “We have no objection to controlled importation within a limited period to cushion the effect of hardship among our citizens but it should not be allowed beyond the agreed period of 5 months or 150 days as well as the agreed quarries of 500,000MT.”

The federal government stated yesterday that it will commence duty-free imports of select food commodities such as rice, maize, and wheat to enhance food supplies to Nigerians and replenish the government’s strategic grain reserve.

Furthermore, the federal government will work with stakeholders to establish a guaranteed minimum price (GMP) for commodities. They will also increase production, particularly among smallholder farmers, in the 2024/2025 farming season and encourage the manufacture of fortified food commodities, among other efforts.

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