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Presidency explains delay in distribution of food items

The Presidency has said the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is in the final stages of releasing 42,000 metric tonnes (MT) of assorted food…

The Presidency has said the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is in the final stages of releasing 42,000 metric tonnes (MT) of assorted food commodities to support vulnerable Nigerians.

The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, who disclosed this on Friday, said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is currently bagging the grains, in seven locations of strategic reserve with newly ordered bags.

“Nigerians will not need to pay for the grain bags, as they are free. This will be complemented by the 60,000 metric tonnes of milled rice to be purchased by the Federal Government from the Mega Rice Millers,” he said.

Speaking on the issue, the Minister of Agriculture, Abubakar Kyari, said the announcement of the impending releases of food commodities from the strategic reserve has resulted in a significant drop in commodity prices throughout the country’s major grain markets.

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Onanuga said the federal government is ramping up food production by boosting dry-season farming under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme Agro-Pocket (NAGS-AP) project.

The first phase of the dry season farming, the statement noted, was launched in November 2023.

According to the government, the focus will be on the cultivation of wheat across 15 wheat-producing states, spanning 118,657 hectares and involving 107,429 farmers.

Kyari said the fields are green and harvest will commence in a matter of weeks.

“There are fantastic reports of the growth of wheat from Jigawa State, which is now targeting harvest from about 50,000 hectares, 10,000 hectares more than initially allotted under the programme,” Kyari said.

He said phase 2 of the dry season farming, covering rice, maize, and cassava, is also expected to commence soon across all 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT.

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