A disturbing reality of the current economic predicament is the high cost of living and the rising expenditure on basic food items. This has made it difficult for people to purchase them.
IT is disturbing to watch families groan under the bondage of exorbitant prices of rice, yam, beans, gari, fruits, vegetables and a host of other food items which are locally sourced from places adjudged to possess a comparative advantage in agriculture and food production.
EVEN Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, where prices of food commodities were relatively low in the recent past compared to many state capitals in the country, is also affected by this increase in food prices.
IN the recent past, food production witnessed a boost in Benue State, the nation’s food basket. But things have changed now, as there is scarcity of food and high prices for the food items that are available.
WITHOUT contradictions, prices of foods are low in the rural areas compared to the situation in Makurdi, but inaccessibility of these areas stand in between consumers in the urban locations and the rural farmers
WHILE food supply from other states is a normal routine, indiscriminate levies on traders by the state and local governments has been blamed for exorbitant prices of food commodities in markets in Makurdi.
THERE is therefore a need to check this multiple taxation because it has adversely affected traders of food commodities in Mkaurdi and other parts of the state.
THE Voice therefore calls on local governments as well as the state government to reduce tax on food items to the barest minimum. This would encourage farmers to produce more as well as dealers in food commodities and the consumers.
FINALLY, the Federal Government is called upon to address the spate of pastoralists attacks on rural farmers in Benue State, which has caused the abandonment of farming by vulnerable farmers and also worsened food scarcity, leading to high prices of the commodities.