As the impact of subsidy removal continues to bite hard in every sector, an agribusiness firm, Eden Group, yesterday partnered with Abuja Cooperative Federation to give hope to Nigerians on affordable food items to reduce impact of the removal of subsidy. This was made known by Chairman Eden Group, Dr Ashimashiga Michael, during a courtesy visit to the President of Abuja Cooperative Federation and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, National Cooperative Financing Agency of Nigeria, Emmanuel Atama, in Abuja. Michael said that the an Initiative called ‘Operation Feed the Nation’ is the brain behind the partnership that would ameliorate plight of Nigerians bearing brunt of impact on hike of food prices. According to him, under the Operation Feed the Nation project, food items would be sold to both government and private registered cooperative societies across the nation and pay instalmentally via their cooperatives.
He said “this product is to help and then liaise with this cooperative that we have paid a working visit to them to show them our products and services so that they can in turn, reach out to all the cooperative, who are recognised units in every sector and take some of these products given to the staff or registered members and then they pay for them gradually. A lot of issues has been going on concerning the subsidy removal which is the major problem Nigerians are facing right now, most especially the civil servants, the minimum wage cannot take them anywhere. This initiative will go a long way to reduce the effects of high cost of food, especially now with the subsidy removal, which the President has already given his stance on and I am sure it is the basic way to make this country move forward.
“We have our farmers, we have the food on ground, why should somebody spend so much money in buying food at once while other responsibilities are available, we believe all those things are what will bring unrest to people when the full fuel subsidy will be implemented. We decided that since we have the capacity, let us package our products and give to individuals, cooperative organisations and civil servants, and private organisations who have their employees under cooperative, so as not to default payment while paying in installments.” Meanwhile, he (Michael) further explained that the cooperative will pay 20 per cent, which is N11,500 of the total package for seven food items at the cost of N55,000 per registered member of the cooperative society at the package delivery, while the remaining 80 per cent, which is N44,400 will spread for five months at 8,840 monthly payment, and he added that members can also go for half the package which cost N28,000.
The President of Abuja Cooperative Federation and CEO National Cooperative Financing Agency of Nigeria, Emmanuel Atama, in a remark, commended the initiative and added that it will also enable Nigerians access organic food. Atama also assured the Eden Group of keying into the initiative and innovation, which he described as cooperative instrumentality towards eliminating hunger in line with goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. “It is a welcomed initiative, it is an opportunity to empower the masses with access to food, which means hunger is eliminated. This product has come to address the issue of hunger, and eliminate poverty in the sense that It will create jobs and opportunities for those who are involved within the value chain”, he said.