By Ginika Okoye
Abuja – The Federal Government says it is committed to putting an end to the price peg disagreement between wheat farmers and flour millers across the country.
Speaking in an interview in Abuja on Wednesday, Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said the disagreement was affecting wheat production across the country.
Ogbeh said that government was working with various research institutes in the country to ensure improvement in the quality of local wheat seeds used by farmers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) and Flour Millers Association in 2016 agreed to fix a price of N140,000 per tonne of wheat.
The minister said that providing improved seeds for farmers would boost production and crash down the price of the produce.
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“That disagreement has been going on for a while but we are sorting it out. We met not too long ago in my office and we are insisting that all the local wheat millers buy the local price but then, they tell you that the international price is lower than our price.
“And then the farmers are saying we are not giving them all the seeds they need. So, the first thing we are doing this year is to improve our seeds and reduce the price of seeds to the farmers.
“Once we can do that, we meet again until we tie up an agreement. It will take a while, maybe in another year or so, we will have an agreement between both.
“Everybody wants to make some profit and we don’t want anybody to lose. On the other hand, we don’t want to impose price control because it doesn’t work.
“Once you start that, you are looking for trouble and we don’t have all the money in the world to go into subsidy but definitely, an agreement would be reached shortly.’’
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NAN recalls that the National President of WFAN, Alhaji Salim Muhammad, had called on the Federal Government to review the price peg of N140, 000 per tonne of wheat, saying that the cost of production was higher than the price.
Also, Alhaji Farouk Rabiu, the Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Kano State had described the price peg on wheat as `oppressing’, adding that many farmers had been forced out of business as result of the development. (NAN)