Nigeria’s President orders release of metric tons of grains to tackle looming food crisis

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, and other commodities in strategic reserves to address the rising cost of food in the country. 

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris revealed this at the State House in Abuja after a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention.

Idris said the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has also committed to releasing about 60,000 metric tons of rice to the markets.

His words “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; 42,000 metric tons immediately.”

He continued “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. They will make that available to Nigerians; to bring out to the market to make food available.”

He also said there is an option of importing these grains “if it becomes necessary, as an interim measure”.

His comment comes on the same day that the Speaker of the House of Representatives Tajudeen Abbas pleaded with Nigerians over the cost of living, saying the lawmakers feel their pains.

The Speaker adds to the growing list of government officials who have repeatedly urged Nigerians to be patient over the reforms which Tinubu says will bring in more foreign investment to Africa’s largest economy.

But the short-term impact is hitting Nigerians hard: Inflation was at 28.92 percent in December, with food costs at 33.93 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The naira currency has fallen swiftly against the US dollar since the government ended a multi-tier exchange rate system and freed up the local currency.

Before the reforms, the naira was trading at around 450 to the dollar, but on Monday it was trading at 1,400 to the greenback, according to the central bank.

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