From Mustapha Adamu, Kano
It is no longer news that prices of food stuffs such as rice, maize, groundnut, beans, millet, guinea corn, wheat, soya beans, among other farm produced locally are on the increase inching gradually beyond the reach of the common man.
Our correspondent who visited the Dawanau popular food stuff market in Kano State observed that prices of locally produced food items skyrocketed not because of the forex scarcity but other reasons which many Nigerians have not come to realize.
In the popular Dawanau market, the Hub of food stuff in West Africa, Peoples Daily spoke to the Public Relation Officer of the Dawanau International Grains Market in Kano, Ibrahim Muhammad Mota who said that foreign currencies do not play any role in their business, dispelling the rumour that the present hike in prices of food stuff was as a result of the forex crisis.
He hinted that their activities in the market is seasonal as the production of the food stuff, meaning that there are certain periods where the products sells much when they are abundantly produced, while there is scarcity, because the production is periodical, making the market activities less busy and causes the rise in their prices.
” As everybody know, this is the market that deals with local farm produce, but let me categorically tell you that we are not dealing with foreign currencies in our business. What I believe is that activities in this market is seasonal, just as the production of the food stuff is seasonal or periodical.”
Mota pointed out that there were three major problems that caused the current local food crisis, heightening insecurity, insufficient rainfall last year as well as inadequate farming activities this year.
According to him, the problem of insecurity occasioned by the activities of insurgents in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States in the northeast region had barred farming in the area, thereby causing a great setback in food production in the whole country as the three states were major food producers that feed the country.
“If you are talking about the states that give huge contribution in food production in Nigeria, you must mention Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States in the northeast region. They produce the food that the country depends on. But as a result of security challenges in the area, they cannot go to farm and this created a major setback in food production,” Said Mota.
The PRO added that most farmers in other areas of the north last season had inadequate farm produce as a result of insufficient rainfall, adding that the season was short-lived that the plants did not get sufficient water to yield.
This, according to him, made many farmers to harvest less than half of what they used to get in a season and that caused scarcity of the products in the market. He added that the current situation
was as a result of the farmers, fear of the calamity that befell on them last season, might resurfaced, thus, resorted not to plant much
“These compounding problems are the cause of this food crisis. Let’s take maize for instance, it was sold at N5,000- N6,000 per bag before the farmers faced that problem. But as they harvested their produce at a loss as a result of insufficient rainfall, they deemed it wise not to farm much this year for fear of recurrence. These three problems are the cause of this lingering food crisis in this year that is about to end.” He added
Mato noted that Nigerians have witnessed the worst period of food crisis in forty years ago, saying ” this problems is as a result of the federal government’s directive to ban rice importation through the border as well as President Buhari’s plans to encourage local food production in a bid to make us economically self-dependent.”
But an anonymous source in the market told Peoples Daily that the current food crisis is as a result of government’s failure to provide adequate fertiliser to the farmers.
According to the source, the government this year did not provide or rather subsidise fertiliser to farmers so as to help them produce sufficient food for the populace.
” This problem is caused by the federal government. The fertiliser that used to be adequately provided to farmers has not been provided this time around. This forced the farmers to increase the price of the farm produce because they were left to buy the fertiliser on their own. Let me tell you that the government this year did provide meagre quantity of fertiliser compared to previous years. This is the cause of this food crisis,” he said.
Meanwhile, the market’s image maker assured the people that the price of the food stuff has began to crash as the new produce are coming to the market.
He maintained that as the peace is being restored in the crisis ravaged areas, farmers have commenced farming in some safer areas.