Rising from its inaugural meeting on Friday, members of the Federal Government’s Task Force on Food Security constituted by the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, identified factors like the poor state of rural roads; multiple taxes on highways; and inadequate distribution networks, as drivers of high transportation and consequently food costs in the country.
The meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo focused on gaining a full understanding of factors that contribute to unduly high food prices, especially at urban markets throughout the country.
Members, according to Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, also considered ways and means of urgently ameliorating the situation, particularly by addressing issues of affordability and availability.
In particular, they identified some key staple foods and the factors that were most likely driving high food prices in some parts of the country, despite bumper harvests at many farms.
Consequently, the task force urged the Federal Government to intervene by resolving such bottlenecks, besides the need to “clarify that the assignment of the Task Force is not about government intervening directly in the market for staple foods either though purchases or price fixing.
“The Task Force will be coordinating various MDAs and working closely with the private sector to explore ways and means of overcoming some of the supply bottlenecks in the short term, while also reinforcing on-going medium and long-term solutions including improving supplies and providing better storage,” the statement added.
A more technical sub-group of the Task Force is now drawing up a draft plan of action for further consideration.