By Rita Iliya
Niger Government on Thursday, says it is seeking N2.5 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to purchase grains for sale to the people of the state at subsidised prices.
Alhaj Kabiru Abbas, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said this when addressing newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting in Minna.
Abbas said the attention of government had been drawn to the high cost of food items in the market due to the influx of buyers from other states.
He said the when buyers purchased the grains at cheaper rates; they usually sell the commodity at high prices.
“A bag of grain sold at N10, 000 per bag now goes for N13, 000.
“This is because of the activities of middlemen who purchase them at cheaper rates, stock them to cause artificial scarcity and sell at high prices.
“The N2.5 billion loan will be used to purchase grains in large quantity and sell to our people at cheaper rates to reduce hardship,” Abbas said.
He said the state government would also purchase 30,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer from the Federal Government intervention programmes for farmers to increase food production.
Abbas said Federal Government would sell to the state government at N5, 000 while the state government would sell the commodity to farmers at the rate of N5,500.
According to the Commissioner, the effort will protect farmers from loss of farm produce and stabilise market price.
“Our farmers will be able to produce more food, beat inflation and scarcity of food items.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Idris Azozo, said the state government had resolved to partner with AG Gold Trust Company to reticulate water supply to Minna and Suleja.
Azozo said that a committee had been set up to come up with a way forward on how Minna and Suleja would enjoy constant water supply for the next 30 years.