By Bright Bassey
The Nigerian government says the country might experience food shortage in 2017, owing to increased smuggling to foreign countries.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, said there are many middle men smuggling food out of the country through neighbouring countries.
“Huge demand for our grains in the global market is creating an excellent environment for the mindless export of Nigerian grains.
“Over the past year, providence has blessed Nigeria with 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.
The Ministry of Agriculture had advised the president on the need to draw the attention of all Nigerians to this issue, as this could lead to food shortage in the country by January, he said.
“However, the ministry of agriculture has raised concerns about a massive rate of exportation, which could lead to shortage of grains in Nigeria by January,”
“On the other hand, exporters also have 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.” He said
Major markets involved in this trade are the Dawanau market in Kano, Naigatari in Jigawa, Bama in Borno and Ilela in Sokoto alongside three other main markets in Kebbi State.
At least, 500 trucks leave Nigeria every week with grains to be exported to other countries outside our borders.
Shehu explained the President, Muhammadu Buhari had emphasized on several occasions his plans for Nigeria to become self-sufficient depending less on imported food.