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The Presidency has raised the alarm that
Nigeria, currently Africa’s largest producer of cereals and grains,
risks famine from early next year following a huge demand in the global
market targeting the nation’s surplus production

The Senior Special Assistant to President
Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said this
while featuring on radio programme in Kano yesterday.

The presidential aide told Pyramid Radio that the huge demand for
Nigeria’s grains in the global market was creating “an excellent
environment for the mindless export of Nigerian grains across our
borders and unless this curtailed, Nigerian markets will be bereft of
food January next year.”

He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture had advised Buhari on the need
to draw the attention of all Nigerians to this issue “which, if not
addressed promptly, could lead to a shortage of grains in our country by

Shehu stated: “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 Libya and
Algeria, and from places as far away as Brazil.

“However, the Ministry of Agriculture has raised concerns about a
massive rate of exportation, which could lead to a shortage of grains in
Nigeria January.”

Shehu, who said Nigeria currently enjoys what he called a free market
situation, stressed that “President Muhammadu Buhari is not in any way
opposed to or intent on tampering with that.”

He said exporters, on the other hand, also have a moral obligation to
make their produce available to Nigerians who live within the country’s
borders “to ensure that our citizens have access to food.”

According to him, the Ministry of agricultuAe estimates that no fewer
than 500 trucks laden with grain leave Nigerian markets every week
headed for countries outside the borders.

He said the major markets involved in this exportation were the Dawanau
Market in Kano, Naigatari Market in Jigawa, Bama Market in Borno and
Ilela Market in Sokoto as well as three other main markets in Kebbi

He said President Buhari had on various occasions reiterated his
administration’s plan for Nigeria to become “a food-producing giant,
self-sufficient to the point of depending very little on imported food.

“This noble plan could easily be defeated the pull of the foreign
market if food continues to leave our shores to feed people elsewhere. 
If care is not taken, Nigeria could face a famine January,” he

“Building our country into the edifice we envision it to be will require
sacrifice and strategy from every single Nigerian. Let us remember
that charity begins at home.”

On what the government is doing to avert the frightening situation,
Shehu said Buhari had asked the Ministry of Agriculture to present a
quick plan for the purchase of surplus grains to be stored in warehouses
across the country to save for the rainy day.

He said the president, however, stressed the need for moral pressure on
exporters traditional and religious authorities to curtail the
depletion of the home market.
Source: Pyramid Radio

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