The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, has announced immediate measures to address the high cost of food in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, made the announcement on his official X account, stating that there will be a 150-day duty-free import window for food commodities.

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This window will include the suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities through land and sea borders. The targeted commodities include maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas.

“Our administration has unveiled a series of strategic measures aimed at addressing the high food prices currently affecting our nation. These measures will be implemented over the next 180 days,” Kyari said.

To achieve its objective, the Minister said that the imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP). “We understand concerns about the quality of these imports, especially regarding their genetic composition.

The government assures that all standards will be maintained to ensure the safety and quality of food items for consumption,” Kyari added.

The Federal Government will import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize. These semi-processed commodities will be supplied to small-scale processors and millers across the country.

Additionally, engagement with relevant stakeholders will set a GMP and purchase surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve, ramping up production for the 2024/2025 farming cycle.

The Minister also mentioned continued support for smallholder farmers during the ongoing wet season farming through existing government initiatives, strengthening and accelerating dry season farming nationwide, and embarking on aggressive agricultural mechanization to reduce drudgery, lower production costs, and boost productivity.

The government plans to collaborate with sub-national entities to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation, working closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities under river basin authorities across the federation.

To further boost food production, the government is developing strategic engagement for youth and women for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and peppers.

This aims to increase production volume, stabilize prices, and address food shortages. Ongoing engagements with the Nigerian Military are also being fast-tracked to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme, encouraging other paramilitary establishments to utilize available arable lands for cultivation.

Kyari noted that the Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee has been inaugurated to develop and implement policies prioritizing livestock development in alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan, with a newly created Ministry of Livestock Development.

Furthermore, steps have been taken to enhance nutrition security by promoting the production of fortified food commodities and supporting the scale-up of the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of the First Lady of Nigeria.

“The success of these measures hinges on the cooperation and collaboration of all relevant MDAs and stakeholders. As our nation confronts this critical food security challenge, I reiterate President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to achieving food security and ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry.

My team and I will work swiftly and diligently to actualize these crucial policies, ensuring food security for everyone in the immediate term while continuing our strategies for long-term interventions to address underlying causes and ensure sustainable and resilient food systems in Nigeria,” the Minister added.