Tinubu directs release of 102,000 metric tons of food items

President Bola Tinubu has directed the immediate release of over 100,000 metric tons of assorted food items from the strategic reserve and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria as a short term response to rising food shortage in the country.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this to journalists at the State House after a meeting of the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention on Thursday.

Idris also informed the government has proposed to embark on importation of whatever shortfalls that may be experienced after the release of the food commodities.

The Minister also said the government will mete out appropriate measures on food hoarders adding that emergency situations require emergency measures to ensure food is available to Nigerians.

“Today’s meeting was again on the issue of difficulty, like I said two days ago, of putting food on the table of most Nigerians, and has come up with a number of measures to ensure that food becomes more readily available to Nigerians. ⁣

“The first one is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has been directed to release about 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, garri and other commodities in their strategic reserve so that these items will be made available to Nigerians; 42000 metric tons immediately. ⁣

“The second one is that we have held meetings with the rice Millers Association of Nigeria, those who are responsible for producing this rice and we have asked them to open up their stores.

“They’ve told us that they can guarantee about 60,000 metric tons of rice. This will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigerians the next one month to six weeks, perhaps up to two months 60,000 metric tons. They’ve agreed that they will make that available to Nigerians to bring it out to the market so that food can be made available. ⁣

“Now the whole idea of this is to crash the cost of these food items and these are measures that will happen immediately. ⁣

“42,000 metric tons from the strategic government reserve, about 60,000 metric tons of rice from the rice Millers Association, they have them in all their storage facilities and government in conjunction with them after this exhaustive meeting, has directed that they also bring this out immediately so that you food, I mean the price of rice will come down significantly. ⁣

“Now the third item is that the government is also looking at the possibility, if it becomes absolutely necessary, as an interim measure on the short run, to also import some of these commodities immediately so that these commodities can be made available to Nigerians immediately within the next couple of weeks,” he said

He went further to disclose that for the long term, the President has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to work with farmers and invest heavily in the production of various food crops in the upcoming farming season.

Asked if the committee discussed the prices at which they will be sold, Idris said: “Yes, the government has looked at that and what I can tell you is that whatever the government will do to ensure that this food is made available to Nigerians at an affordable cost, the government will do that. ⁣

“Well, you cannot hold the nation to ransom. You cannot have these commodities and you’re hoarding them in your stores when we all need them. We are in an emergency situation and we’ll take emergency measures to make sure that this food is available to Nigerians.⁣

“Well, people always talk about that even some commodities that do not have direct dollar denomination are always quoted in dollar. That is unfortunate. We ask that Nigerians need to be more patriotic. Be our brother’s keepers and sell this thing at a margin, but at a margin that is not also killing to Nigerians.”

<<The Nation>>