FG to curtail unfair trade malpractices, exploitation of Nigerian farmers by foreigners

The Federal Government has moved to ensure that Nigerian farmers get value for their agricultural products.

Speaking while inaugurating an inter-Ministerial Standing Committee in Abuja on Tuesday to oversee the implementation of Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval on commodity pricing at the Farm Gates, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo pledged that government is working to ensure agricultural commodities in the country are not undervalued.

He said the move was “aimed at addressing the challenges impeding the development of the agricultural commodity subsector of the economy, curtailing unfair trade malpractices and exploitation of Nigerian farmers by foreigners and promoting competitive premium pricing as impetus for increased productivity in the commodity subsector amongst others.”

The Minister lamented that farmers in Nigeria were being exploited by foreigners who come into the country to mop up agricultural commodities at the farm gates and in turn offer farmers prices below market value.

“This situation has indeed led to the failure of many contractual agreements between farmers and indigenous off-takers. It has also affected the production capacity of our local factories due to the fact that foreigners buy off supplies and deprive the factories of required stocks.

“The current practice of direct purchases of agricultural commodities at unfair prices by foreigners at our farm-gates poses serious dangers which include: reduction in farmers’ income, declining productivity in the agricultural sector, unemployment and insecurity,” he said.

He said, “A number of activities have been outlined for implementation and the Committee is expected to ensure that they are properly articulated and implemented for the growth and development of our economy.”

Adebayo charged the committee to come up with appropriate implementation mechanisms and guidelines for implementing the approved FEC memo as well as liaise with states, local governments and other relevant stakeholders nation-wide to enforce the ban and compliance.

Other terms of reference for the committee include; “To facilitate establishment of enforcement organs in the states and local governments; to facilitate signing of Executive Order by Mr President, specifying penalties and fines for violators; to liaise with the state governments for establishment of commodity aggregation centres for export in some strategic locations nation-wide and; to carry out periodic assessment (quarterly) on the implementation.”

In his address, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Suleman Audu, expressed the readiness and willingness of the committee to provide the required leadership and coordination to ensure efficient implementation of its mandate.

Audu, who appreciated the government for the confidence reposed in them, pledged on behalf of the committee members not to disappoint the government on the very important assignment.

He said the assignment has come just in time when the present administration has reiterated its focus on the development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.

“Indeed, the full implementation of the FEC approval on Promotion of Agribusiness in Nigeria through Right Farm Gate Pricing and Ban of Foreigners/Representatives from Purchasing Agricultural Commodities at the Farm Gates will no doubt ensure that farmers get commensurate value for their hard-work, eliminate the threats to sustenance of the nation’s non-oil export, particularly in the agric-commodity sub-sector and strengthen government’s efforts at diversifying the economy away from oil and gas.

“I hereby express my readiness and willingness to provide the required leadership and coordination to ensure efficient implementation of the mandate of the Committee. I pledge on behalf of the committee members that we will not disappoint you on this assignment,” he stated.


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