President Muhammadu Buhari says middlemen in Nigeria’s Agric sector are to be blamed for the hike in the prices of food items.
While alleging that the nation’s food capacity had increased despite the farmer-herder crises that had upset food supply, Buhari said the high prices of food was caused by middlemen who “buy and hoard these essential commodities for profiteering.”
Buhari in his speech stressed that the agricultural sector remains the key to the country’s economic diversification, adding that agriculture is a consistent driver of the non-oil sector.
“The agricultural sector remains key to our economic diversification efforts as the sector has been a consistent driver of the non-oil sector contributing 22.35% and 23.78% to the overall GDP in the first and second quarter of 2021,” the president said.
“We have seen significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agricultural value chain. And these have continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.
“To address this, I am hereby directing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies, the Nigerian commodity exchange, and the national assembly to find a lasting solution to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities.”
In July 2021, the president blamed middlemen for the hike in food prices and he has maintained this stance on other occasions.