Piqued at the high food prices in the market despite increased food production, Senate Committee on Agriculture has called for the establishment of Agricultural Commodity Exchange Board to regulate market food prices.
Nassarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who also joined the call at the celebration of the World Food Day called for a structured mechanism that would discourage arbitrary increase in the prices of food.
Speaking during the 10th edition of the yearly agricultural show, organized by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN), in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in Nasarawa State, Senate Committee Chairman on Agriculture, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu noted that the establishment of the Commodity board would ensure price stability of agricultural commodities and reduce post-harvest losses.
The Senator who highlighted contributions of smallholder farmers to food security in the country, said President Muhammadu Buhari has succeeded in the advocacy, towards repositioning the agricultural sector, as the Buhari administration has created needed attention in the sector, except for the pricing gap which he noted needed intervention.
He explained that the commodity price index would check likely excess of agriculture commodity, stressing that since the sector has gained so much attention, farmers often produce particular commodity considered as highly lucrative.
His words: “Since abolition of agriculture commodity board, there has been a large vacuum. So there is need for the federal government to address the issue of pricing index and reintroduce the agriculture commodity board.”
“We still need a major step taken by the federal government. Nigerians have responded to the call to go revisit agriculture but there is need for commodity pricing. When the farmers see that a particular commodity is high, they will rush to it and there will be glut,” he added.
Almakura lamented the setbacks witnessed by the sector since the discovery of oil, stressing that the current administration has done so much to revive the sector. According to him, the sector has significantly contributed to the economy especially from second quarter of the 2016 to the current quarter.
The Governor added that the sector is capable of reducing hunger, creating jobs and developing the economy. “The value of our export in the first two quarters of this year surpasses that of 2016. That was a tremendous achievement by this administration. Despite our landmark achievement in this sector, we must be careful and be watchful on the prices of food in this country remains very high.”
Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief AuduOgbeh, restated commitment of the Federal Government to increasing food production.Ogbeh, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Bukar Hassan, lauded the foundation for creating needed awareness on agricultural innovations in the country.