The grain intervention deficit of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is now 3.4 million metric tonnes, figures released by the FMARD showed on Friday.
Figures released by the ministry through its Director of Information, Theodore Ogaziechi, showed that the organisation now had a grain intervention deficit of 3.4 million metric tonnes.
The ministry stated, “The grain intervention capacity of the FMARD is just a mere 100,000 metric tonnes, which is a far cry from the recommended 3.5 million metric tonnes grain storage for a Nigerian population of about 200 millon by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations.”
It explained that recently, the FMARD responded to an urgent directive by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
It said based on the directive, the FMARD released in the first instance 70,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
It said the grains were from the strategic grain reserve and served as palliatives to assuage the sufferings of vulnerable Nigerians resulting from the COVID-19 lockdown.
It said, “In the second instance, another 5,000 metric tonnes of maize was further released to the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria for feeds production in order to preserve the poultry livestock.
Also, there were further releases to Internally Displaced Persons in camps. These releases led to the depletion of the strategic grain reserve which for any right thinking person signifies grave danger for the nation.”
The ministry, however, stated that the depletion of the grain reserve informed the urgent request by the FMARD for replenishment in September 2020, which approval only came in the first quarter of 2021.