The Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, and his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, on Tuesday said bulk purchase of food items as palliatives for the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the high cost of food in the country.
The governors spoke alongside their Plateau State counterpart, Simon Lalong, during an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting of the National Food Security Council held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was presided over by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.
Badaru explained that the Coalition Against Covid-19, the Federal Government and state governments were all involved in the bulk purchase of food items to distribute as palliatives leading to hike in prices.
He said, “I am worried about people talking about expensive food. This is a cycle.
“For all of us that understand farming cycle, we know that May, June, July always produce, food get expensive because all the stocks have started going down.
“Even farmers that keep some to consume have probably exhausted them and have to go to the market and buy. So, the demand is becoming higher.
“This is also exacerbated because there is bulk buying. CACOVID, states bought a lot to distribute as palliatives; Federal Government is also buying.
“All of us are buying at the same time at the same market, and you know when there is chunk of demand at the same time, things will naturally go up and that brings about the hike in price and coupled with the fact that it is an off-season period.”
Bagudu, who is the vice chairman of the council agreed with Badaru.
He however claimed that prices have started coming down.
The governor, however, said despite the flood in parts of the country, there would be no food crisis.
Bagudu said in 2018, N23bn was spent to support farmers in 14 states, as well as another N8bn to support some states that were affected by conflict.
He also said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has ordered the reduction of the cost of fertiliser from N5,500 to N5,000 per bag.