Food shortage could hit Nigeria January next year following the unprecedented increase in the demand for the country’s food at the global market.
The federal government raised the alarm that Nigeria’s grains and cereals were being exported to foreign countries with a check.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mr. Garba Shehu said the many middlemen were smuggling food out of Nigeria through the neighbouring countries.
“Huge demand for our grains in the global market is creating an excellent environment for the mindless export of Nigerian grains.
“Unless this is curtailed, Nigerian markets will be bereft of food by January next year,’’ he warned.
The Ministry of Agriculture had advised the president on the need to draw the attention of all Nigerians to this issue, he noted.
The situation could to the shortage of grains in the country by January next year.
“Over the past year, providence has blessed Nigeria with a bountiful harvest of grains, more than enough to feed the country and to export to other countries. At present, there is a high demand for grains from Nigeria, from African countries as distant as Algeria and Libya, and from places as far away as Brazil.
“The ministry of agriculture, however, raised concerns about a massive rate of exportation, which could lead to a shortage of grains in Nigeria by January,” he said.
Mr. Garba explained that Nigeria currently enjoyed a free market situation. “President Muhammadu Buhari is not in any way opposed to or intent on tampering with that.
“On the other hand, exporters also have the moral obligation to make their produce available to Nigerians who live within our country’s borders, to ensure that our citizens have access to food.”
No fewer than 500 trucks laden with grain leave Nigerian markets every week, headed for countries outside the country.
The major markets involved in this exportation are the Naigatari in Jigawa, Dawanau market in Kano, Bama in Borno, and Ilela in Sokoto, as well as three other main markets in Kebbi State.
Furthermore, Mr. Garba explained that President Buhari had, on various occasions, reiterated his plan for Nigeria to become a food-producing giant, self-sufficient to the point of depending very little on imported food.