The federal Government has inaugurated a technical committee to ban the purchase of Agri-commodities directly from the farmers by foreigners and other agents in Nigeria who work with them.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo who Inaugurated the committee Tuesday in Abuja said the initiative is aimed at the promotion of agribusiness in Nigeria through right farm gate pricing while also banning foreigners and their representatives from purchasing agricultural products directly from farmers.

Adebayo said the potentials of the Non-Oil sector has enormous potential that is capable or diversifying the economy for employment generation, poverty reduction and food security.

He said, ” the exploitation of farmers by foreigners who come to Nigeria to mop up agricultural commodities at the farm gates and in turn offer farmers prices below market value has become a national problem.

“This situation has indeed led to the failure of many contractual agreements between farmers and indigenous off-takers. It has also affected the production capacity of our local factories due to the fact that foreigners buy off supplies and deprive the factories of required stocks.

“The current practice of direct purchases of agricultural commodities at unfair prices by foreigners at our farm-gates poses serious dangers which include: reduction in farmers’ income, declining productivity in the agricultural sector, unemployment and insecurity, Adebayo said.

Also speaking at the inauguration, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Evelyn Ngige who was represented the Director, Huma Resource Management, Yisau Adepoju said the ministry has been pressing towards its mandate of developing the Non-Oil sub-sector of the nation’s economy.

“Despite the odds, I want to assure you that the Ministry is committed to the promotion and development of the agric-commodity subsector which is evident In what we are doing here today.

“I would also like to inform you that the Ministry has put in place a number of programmes and initiatives to reposition the subsector such as the campaign on patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products, Nigeria Agri-business and Agro-industry Development Initiative (NAADI), Domestication of lobal GAP, E-Commerce and the Commerce 160 Initiative, amongst others,” She said.

Dr Ngige further expressed optimism that this will reduce the illegal and on-towards activities of foreigners and their compatriots in the country.

“As the Implementation Committee for the approved FEC memo is being inaugurated today, I believe that the non-transparent and exploitative marketing practices of foreigners and their representatives in the country will be checkmated. It will go a long way at ensuring that players along the commodity value chain, officially farmers, receive premium prices and income for their output,”, Dr. Evelyn Ngige said.

Responding on behalf of the committee, the Chairman, who is also the Director, Commodities and Export Department, Mr Suleiman Audu pledge to provide the leadership necessary to achieve the mandate.

“Indeed, the full implementation of FEC approval on promotion of agribusiness in Nigeria through right farm gate pricing and the ban of foreigners/representatives from purchasing agricultural commodities at farm gate will no doubt ensure that farmers get commensurate value for their hard work, eliminate the threat to sustenance of the nation’s Non-Oil export, particularly in the agric-commodity sub-sector and strengthens Government’s efforts at diversifying the economy away from oil and gas,” Audu said.

He further expressed his readiness and willingness to provide the required Leadership and cooperation to ensure efficient implementation of the mandate of the committee.

About 16 inter-ministerial committees were inaugurated by the Minister, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.