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FG To Stop Foreigners Purchasing Agric Commodities At Farm Gates

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The Federal Government has begun moves to implement a Memo on the Promotion of Agri-Business in Nigeria through Right Farm Gate Pricing and Ban of Foreigners from Purchasing Agricultural Commodities at the Farm Gates, earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otumba Adeniyi Adebayo, who inaugurated an inter-ministerial standing committee on Tuesday, in Abuja, to oversee the implementation of the memo, disclosed that the document had been jointly presented by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on March 9, 2022, for approval by the Federal Executive Council.

Adebayo noted that the move was part of the government’s efforts to provide the enabling environment for the commodity subsector to thrive.

The minister said the memo is “aimed at addressing the challenges impeding the development of the agricultural commodity subsector of the economy, curtailing unfair trade malpractices and exploitation of Nigerian farmers by foreigners and promoting competitive premium pricing as the impetus for increased productivity in the commodity subsector amongst others.”

He decried the exploitation of farmers by foreigners who come to Nigeria to mop up agricultural commodities at the farm gates and in turn offer farmers prices below market value.

“This situation has indeed led to the failure of many contractual agreements between farmers and indigenous off-takers. It has also affected the production capacity of our local factories due to the fact that foreigners buy off supplies and deprive the factories of required stocks.

“The current practice of direct purchases of agricultural commodities at unfair prices by foreigners at our farm-gates poses serious dangers which include: reduction in farmers’ income, declining productivity in the agricultural sector, unemployment and insecurity,” he said.

He charged the committee to come up with appropriate implementation mechanism and guidelines for implementing the approved FEC Memo as well as liaise with States, Local Governments and other relevant stakeholders nationwide to enforce the ban and compliance.

Other terms of reference for the committee include: “To facilitate the establishment of enforcement organs in the States and Local Governments; To facilitate the signing of Executive Order by Mr. President, specifying penalties and fines for violators.

“To liaise with the State Governments for the establishment of commodity aggregation centres for export in some strategic locations nationwide and “To carry out the periodic assessment (quarterly) on the implementation and Honourable Minister,” he said.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Evelyn Ngige, represented by the Director, Human Resource Management in the Ministry, Mr Yisau Adepoju, said the committee is saddled with the duty of ensuring 100 per cent implementation of the approved memo.

Ngige noted that part of the mandate of the ministry is to formulate and implement policies and programmes to attract investment, boost industrialization, increase trade and export, and develop enterprises with a view to promoting economic growth, creating jobs and generate wealth.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that wealth from crude oil is not sustainable given the fact that the oil wells will certainly dry up someday. Nigeria is naturally endowed with vast and fertile arable lands suitable for the production of many commodities”, she said.

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