Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Colleges, and Institutions, Hon. Mannir Babba Dan-Agundi, has explained the reasons for the skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs in the country.
He spoke to journalists at the sidelines of a three-day training in new agricultural value chain opportunities in poultry, cassava, and agro-processing, organised by the Federal College of Agricultural Produce Technology, Kano in collaboration with Shabewa Nigeria Ltd, held in Abuja.
He attributed the hike to COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity, government policies, and lack of extension services.
He said, “there are many reasons. First and foremost, we’re in the era of poverty, it is not only peculiar to Nigeria, the cause of skyrocketing prices are many but one will be COVID-19.
“This COVID-19 era has contributed a lot, then insecurity has contributed a lot. Then also, some of the government policies.
“Like I always say, the interventions government is giving, especially the CBN interventions and the way it is done in this country still need to be addressed again.
“I have seen the President and I made this point to Mr. President, that we must have synergy between agencies of government, Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Ministry of Water Resources.”
He further stated that it is not a business that everybody should do what he likes, adding that there must be a deliberate policy to bring them together to do the right thing, ensure that proper monitoring and evaluation is done.
“I am a farmer, very big time. But I don’t even know how to access the CBN loan. So, these are some of the challenges but you can see some other people find a way to access it. So this is the way I think, why food prices are going up.
“And then the other thing, the issue of extension in the country. We don’t have an extension service, then we don’t have mechanisation. I have just been able to produce about 100 hectares of maize and rice, but as I’m talking to you, I am finding it difficult to harvest up to about half of what I cultivated,” he added.
The lawmaker further stated that the country was doing farmers injustice by not exploiting the value chain in agriculture.
He stated that the country was losing billions of dollars that could have been gotten from the agricultural value chain.