The Nigerian Commodity Exchange (NCX) has engaged various stakeholders in the nation’s agro-commodities sector, with a view to crashing the soaring prices of food items, across the country.
Mr. Chris Echikwu, the NCX spokesman, said that the move to synergise with relevant agencies to bring down the prices of food items in the country was in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The president had in his Independence Anniversary broadcast on October 1, said that the activities of middlemen and hoarders were responsible for the unprecedented high prices of food items.
Mr. Echikwu said that a team of the Exchange’s experts ld by the Managing Director Mrs. Zaheera Baba-Ari, had met with various farmers and commodity associations in the largest food producing states of Benue, Kogi, Borno, Plateau, Anambra and Gombe, among others.
He said that the team has met commodity merchants from the popular Dawanau market Kano, Maize Association of Nigeria, All Farmers Association of Nigeria and warehouse owners who pledged to key into NCX operations towards actualizing the President’s mandate.
The MD was quoted as NCX was established by government to avail buyers and sellers of Nigerian agro-commodities “an organized trading platform where there will be price discovery and the teeming small holder farmers will be able to warehouse their produce after harvest for sale at a later date when they will get remunerative prices.
“A major objective of the government for setting up NCX is to improve the livelihood of the farmers, increase economic productivity and create employment for Nigerians, especially in the Small & Medium scale enterprises sector, thereby boosting the nation’s GDP.”
Mrs. Baba-Ari added that the consultations were to also attract the patronage of NCX trading floors by commodity traders and consumers in the country, as well as, local and international investors that have a stake in the Nigerian agribusiness sector.
She said “The Exchange is now poised to give them the benefit of an efficient and cost-effective commodity trading platform. NCX would assure the commercially viable procurement of required volumes of high-quality commodities at the best market prices.”
The MD said that the Exchange has deployed a network of warehouses across the six geo-political zones of the country to support procurement of sesame seed, soya beans, maize, sorghum, cashew as well as paddy rice and cow pea, among many other commodities.
She said, “Each of the warehouses is supported by a Quality Assaying laboratory as a means of ascertaining the quality parameters of the agro-commodities being stored for trading.
“You may wish to note that the Exchange has field staff domiciled in selected major commodity markets in all the geo-political zones of the country.
“This operational structure is designed to meet the requirements of exporters and local industries such as food processors who would thus have access to year-round supply of high quality agro-commodities inputs in commercial quantities.
“This setup will also be of special interest to farmers, commodity associations and merchants who would have an efficient platform for the off-take of their inventories. To this end, NCX is going to redouble efforts to establish operational partnerships with relevant actors and groups in this segment of the Nigerian agribusiness value chain across the geo-political zones of the nation.”
The NCX boss called on domestic and international investors with interest in relevant segments of the country’s agro-commodity trading sector to link up with the Exchange to develop their business in Commodity Export, Trading, Warehousing, Collateral Management, Logistics, Financing, among others.”