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Nigerian minister blames COVID-19, Russia/Ukraine war for rising food prices, excludes insecurity

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Agric minister Dr. Mohammad Abubakar

The Minister of Agriculture, Mohammad Abubakar, said bandit attacks on farmers haven’t affected the level of food production in the country, and blamed COVID-19 on the rising cost of food.

Abubakar stated that the attacks on farmers have prevented access to farms in the north-west and north-central regions in Nigeria, but the government had deployed security agents, known as Agro-Rangers, to improve security.

There have been speculations that the rising insecurity bordering on bandit attacks in Nigeria has increased prices of food stuff, however, Abubakar said food inflation is driven by the COVID-19 outbreak and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

He said the insecurity is a concern for the government, but production has not dropped to any significant level. The minister disclosed this on Thursday during a ministerial briefing.

“Truly, if they cannot completely access farms all over the country, you will expect a drop in production, but right now we are doing everything possible to make sure both production is maintained through that security provision.”

Read also: Russia/Ukraine war: AfDB budgets $1bn for 40m farmers in Nigeria, Africa

The Minister explained that, “When COVID came, it affected a lot of things including food production and the after effect of that is what we are still facing and that will lag for some time before it is stabilised. I believe the price of rice has dropped a little bit and we are still working on it.

“The whole world is currently reeling out of COVID and now battling the consequences of the war in Ukraine and Russia, but things will stabilise and the ministry of agriculture is doing everything possible in terms of addressing the problem; we are not relenting, so that the prices will come down faster.”

The minister’s submission comes against several reports of how farmers have been prevented from accessing their farmlands, especially in several states in the north, due to bandits’ attacks.

In many instances, farmers have had to pay the bandits to be able to access their farms as the criminals also forcefully collect farm products as payment during harvests.

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