Some agriculture stakeholders have called for the elimination of middlemen activities across all crop value-chain to curb hike in food prices.
The experts made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos in response to the Presidential Independence Day broadcast.
Dr Tunji Iyiola, a fellow at the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on the agriculture and his solution to the food inflation.
“The president’s affirmation that agriculture is the major non-oil earner for Nigeria is very right. Seriously Nigeria is very big on agriculture.
“Being an agriculturist himself as a livestock farmer, the president knows what it entails to invest in agriculture.
“The broadcast from the president on the agriculture sector is a statement in the right direction.
“The solution the president is proffering will go a long way to reduce the effects of this hoarding by middlemen,” Iyiola said.
“If we consider the number of people that engaged in agriculture in Nigeria, we should not have issues with food,” he said.
On his part, Mr Segun Atho, the Deputy National President of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), called for total elimination of middlemen in order to regulate the price of food in the country.
The government should ensure monitoring and evaluation of policies as regards the agriculture sector to aid food price balance.
“As inferred by the president, the minister of agriculture and rural development needs to work with the Nigerian Commodity Exchange to stop food hoarding in the country.
“The agriculture ministry should liaise more with real farmers and not political farmers in order to tackle the food inflation in Nigeria.
“Indeed the middlemen are the ones causing the hike in food prices and not the farmers or producers. It is the middlemen that are playing these pranks on us
“When they purchase for instance a basket of tomatoes for N2000 in Kano, they will sell at N12,000 at Mile 12 in Lagos, do transportation really cost that much? No.
“It is the farmers who are suffering while the middlemen eat the larger portion.
“If we can eliminate the middlemen and the government uptake our produce, food prices will be regulated.
“If the government does off-taking of agro-produce as done in other countries, then the price of food will come down,” Atho told NAN.