President Muhammadu Buhari has again blamed middlemen for the hike in the prices of food items.

Buhari said middlemen are responsible for food shortages on Friday during his nationwide address to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence .

The president said middlemen have created “artificial shortages” through the hoarding of essential commodities for profiteering.

Buhari said the agricultural sector remains the key to the country’s economic diversification, adding that agriculture is a consistent driver of the non-oil sector.

“The agricultural sector remains key to our economic diversification efforts as the sector has been a consistent driver of the non-oil sector contributing 22.35% and 23.78% to the overall GDP in the first and second quarter of 2021,” the president said.

“We have seen significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agricultural value chain. And these have even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, as our food capacity has increased, have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.

“To address this, I am hereby directing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies, the Nigerian commodity exchange, and the national assembly to find a lasting solution to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities.”

In July 2021, the president blamed middlemen for the hike in food prices and he has maintained this stance on other occasions.

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