I Am Sorry That Food Prices Are Still High, Ogbeh Apologises

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development , Chief Audu Ogbeh
Yesterday, apologised to Nigerians for the continual high cost of food
commodities in the markets.

The Minister gave the apology while addressing Journalist on the
forthcoming National Conference of the Transformation of Nigerian
Livestock Industry to commence in Abuja from September 12-14 at the
International Conference Centre.

According to Ogbeh “To Nigerians again,I am sorry that food Prices are
still high, we are not happy about that,

“But we are not going to turn around and bully the farmers. We will
persuade them and as we give them more inputs we hope things will
stabilise so that non farmers too can eat well, because we don’t want
any Nigerian hungry just because he or she is an end user of farm
product” he said

The Minister said he has been appealing to middlemen and
transporters,noting he has seen practical examples of why prices are
so high.

He recalled that while in Ekiti,they had stopped where he priced yam
weighing almost 3kg for N300, only to price a similar tuber in Lagos
for N1500.

“The transporter will tell you the roads are so bad,he loses
tires,people harass them on the way and so on, but that is not enough
to add N1200 “I am appealing to farmers and middlemen saying let us
all enjoy the surplus so that no sector puts pressure on others living
in the cities”he said

Chief Ogbeh said “Some body has advocated we impose price control but
said,”there is no way we can pass a law saying a tuber of yam must
cost a certain amount the long term programme is to increase
production”

“The current prices are going to stimulate investment and more
participation,it is very difficult to do price control in a free
economy,you cant,if you attempt it,you are looking for trouble”

Speaking on the coming Conference scheduled to hold September the
Minister said” This conference has become very critical in order to
address the myriad of issues affecting the livestock sub sector which
includes the recurring and frequent crop farmers/ pastoralists
conflicts, cattle banditry resulting in wanton loss of lives,
properties and depletion of our national herd.

“Equally worrisome is the inability to tap into the abundant
potentials in the sector hence the sub-sector has not been fully
explored in terms of supplying the animal protein needs of Nigerians,
poverty alleviation, revenue generation and foreign exchange for the
country” he said

He noted that in line with the Federal government’s desire to
diversify the economy through agriculture and addressing some of the
institutional constraints within the agricultural sector.

He said” the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) known as the Green
Alternative was launched. The APP revolves round ” Building
agribusiness economy capable of delivering sustained prosperity by
meeting domestic food security goals,generating exports and supporting
sustainable income and job growth”

Ogbeh noted that the sub-sector is bedeviled by many constraints which
include low productive breeds of livestock,conflicts between Nomadic
pastoral/trans-humance system due to feed and fodder insecurity,income
loss among others.

He said the conference is aimed at addressing key thematic areas
including access to land and land tenure security, infrastructure,
access to finance and markets. M

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