Despite food scarcity and rising prices in the country, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, maintained on Monday that the country has enough food to feed all Nigerians. Speaking in Abuja while presenting the ministry’s scorecard for 2015-2023, the minister however blamed the rising cost of basic food stuffs in the country on inflation and the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic that forced many countries including Nigeria to shut down key economic activities for many months. The minister said that while it was not peculiar to Nigeria to import certain categories of foods, the federal ministry of agriculture would continue to produce food to take care of its large population in line with the mandate to do so and improve rural development.
He also blamed the jerk in the prices of fertilizer on inflation and the inability of the producers of raw materials to do so due to the disruption caused by Covid-19. “The minister said: “We have enough food to take care of Nigerians. We are producing food across the country and we will continue to do so to feed Nigerians in line with our mandate and expedite the transformation of the rural communities of Nigeria. The fact that some categories of food are imported by Nigeria is not an indication that we have food shortages. The high cost of food that we experience in the country is as a result of rising inflation, which is not peculiar to Nigeria but due to the Covid-19 pandemic that forced many sectors of economic production to be shut down for many months. As it is today, many parts of the world, including our own country are yet to fully recover from the negative effects of the pandemic, which has triggered inflation and high food costs across the world,” he said. The minister also blamed the high cost of food in the country on smuggling, adding that efforts were being made to checkmate that.
Dr. Abubakar also boasted that the ministry had improved the quantity of food, fish and animal production and increased the capacity of food storage facilities to hold more food for Nigerians in case of emergency.nResponding to a journalist’s question on herders’ attacks on farmlands, the minister said he was unsure of pastoralists intentionally unleash their cattle, assuring that the federal government had begun moves to put an end to such conflicts. According to Abubakar, one of the measures to checkmate herders’/farmers’ conflicts is the introduction of the National Livestock Development Programme and the proposal to have ranching and grazing reserves across the country.. The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who coordinated the briefing, said that despite the rising of fertilizer globally, Nigeria has been able to stabilize the cost of providing the vital input to farmers by increasing the number of blending plants in the country. At the press conference, the minister issued a travel advisory to its citizens travelling to the United States and Europe.
Mohammed said that the advisory was prompted by attack on Nigerians in London and the stealing of their belongings, including passports and money in some cities of Europe and America. Mohammed said: “It has come to the attention of the government that Nigerian travelers to the United States and some countries in Europe are having their belongings, especially, money and international passports, stolen at an increasingly high