FG Suspend Food Import Duties, Partners with States on Agriculture

Senator Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security
Senator Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Securitygoogle

The Federal Government has announced a 150-day duty-free import window for key food commodities, including maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas, in an effort to address rising food inflation and make these essential items more affordable for Nigerians.

The government has suspended duties, tariffs, and taxes on the importation of these food commodities through land and sea borders. This measure is expected to reduce the demand for foreign exchange by food importers, who spent $2.13 billion on food imports in 2023.

In addition to the private sector imports, the Federal Government will also import 250,000 metric tons each of wheat and maize, with the aim of supplying these semi-processed commodities to small-scale processors and millers across the country.

The government will also engage stakeholders to set a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) for food commodities and replenish the National Strategic Food Reserve by mopping up surplus supplies.

Furthermore, the government plans to ramp up domestic food production for the 2024/2025 farming cycle through various initiatives, including supporting smallholder farmers, expanding dry season farming, improving agricultural mechanization, and collaborating with state governments to increase cultivated land area.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, acknowledged the concerns about the quality of imported food commodities, but assured that the government's position "exemplifies standards that would not compromise the safety of the various food items for consumption."

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