The federal government has agreed to pay the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers in Nigeria (AUFCDN) N4.75billion as the union suspends its North-South food blockade.
The announcement was made by the AUFCDN President, Muhammad Tahir in Abuja after a meeting with federal authorities, represented by Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello.
The union had initiated an indefinite strike two weeks ago, in protest against the loss of lives and properties in the region from insecurity.
This follows the violent ethnic clashes witnessed recently between the Fulanis and Yorubas in Shasha market in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital and other parts of the Southwest.
Two weeks back, multiple reports said that trailers full of cows, tomatoes, and other farm produce had been prevented from leaving a border town in Niger State to the southern part of the country.
The Farmers have continually accused herders of destroying their farmlands and produce thus leading to the blockage.
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, blamed institutional failure for the blockade of foodstuff supply and transportation to Southern Nigeria as the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, AUFCDN, embarked on the protest over factors militating against their business.
Many reactions have stirred from the actions and many Nigerians have been asking 5 major questions:
Who are the beneficiaries of the 4.75 billion naira approved by FG, as payment to the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers in Nigeria (AUFCDN)
Why the haste to approve such a huge sum? (4.75 billion naira)
3 Who are the members of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers in Nigeria (AUFCDN)
Why are they all from the North?
Is the south not producing foodstuffs in Nigeria?
While these questions remain unanswered, many are relieved that the ban has been lifted because there was a major price hike in major commodities like tomatoes, yam, pepper etc; these price hikes ranged between 500-700% increase just within a week of the blockage.
In the North, however, the prices dropped dramatically leading to major losses amongst the northerners.
During the food blockade by Northern farmers:
— In Kaduna: A "waste bin" basket of tomatoes crashed from 8K to N150. Yet no buyers. [PunchNg]
— In Kano (Gun-Dutse): a bag of Onions from N35k to N7k. [DailyTrust]
— In Minna(Garatu): Kwarai of feet size yam tubers from 45k to 18k
—In Jos (Barkin Ladi, Anpam West), a bag of Irish potatoes from N17K to N9k. [UnityFm Jos]
—In Kano: farmers went to the extent of unsuccessfully trying to use the airport to move food down south. [Nairaland]
—In Abuja: the DSS was inviting herders to settle the issue (DailyTrust)
The food blockage has shined the spotlight on the fact that Southern Nigeria is very much behind when it comes to food production in Nigeria and has sparked an uprising amongst Southerners who have raised interest in investing in Agriculture/food production in Nigeria
Many southerners agree that the south must seek alternative food supply or intensify farming on a commercial scale.