FG To Deploy Trains For Food Transportation

Minister for Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh
Minister for Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh

The federal government has adopted measures aimed at reducing the price offood items in the country; chief of which would be the deployment of trains in transportation of farm products.

Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, made this known on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, chaired by acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

It would be recalled that the FEC had set up a task force to look into the rising cost of food in the country and advise the government within seven days on how best to address the issue.

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The Agric minister said that the task force submitted an interim report to the council on Wednesday which showed that the hike in cost of food is“not due to shortage but high cost of transportation”.

Ogbeh noted that food items are generally moved across Nigeria using heavy duty vehicles and the high cost of diesel automatically led to increase in food prices.

As a result, the minister said the government has therefore resolved to“start using railway wagons to transport food items.”

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He said that a similar strategy where trains were used to transport cattle from the north to Lagos had proven successful and brought about a drop in price, adding that it will be replicated in food distribution.

“We will also work with state governments to reduce delays experienced by trucks along the roads through all sorts of taxes by local governments,” Ogbeh said.

The Minister of Agriculture also disclosed that government has decided to adopt the “Ivory Coast model” whereby trucks that are used for the distribution of food items are given special labels to facilitate easy movement.

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