The price of locally produced rice has witnessed a significant drop after weeks of price hikes following the closure of Nigerian land borders and is set to drop further. A visit to the market across the country shows that several brands of local rice have now flooded major markets in the country helping to drive down prices. As more Nigerians have found out that local rice is now better than before, those using foreign brand bags to trade on Nigeria rice are beginning to use Nigeria brands instead of the foreign brands they were faking before.
In the various markets local rice now sell for as low as N17,000. The federal government working with the Central Bank of Nigeria had promised Nigerians that the price of rice will drop to affordable level before the Christmas season. It will also be recalled that an Enugu-based commercial rice farmer, Mr Ekene Uzodinma, has advised Nigerians against panic buying and hoarding of rice ahead of the Yuletide celebration. Uzodinma, who is the Manager of Excellent Integrated Farms Ltd, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu.
Also The National Food Security Council (NFSC), chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari had said it will make rice available before the Christmas festivity. The Deputy Chairman of the Council, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, had said in Makkah, Saudi Arabia that the price of rice will drop. He said that the Council was aware of the then high prices of rice, assuring Nigerians that rice would be made available at a cheaper rate. According to the governor, government is also aware of the activities of some individuals and groups bent on frustrating the new rice policy. “The good news is that there is a lot of production in the country.
The Nigeria farmers said that all the Millers in Nigeria have enough paddy and farmers are producing and the harvest is coming in strong. He said that Nigeria had abundant rice that could last for about two years, adding, “with that in mind, no one should engage in panic buying in the first place.” Uzodinma said that panic buying and hoarding would naturally cause the price to rise unnecessarily. Some Nigerians are already misled by social media messages that the border closure will lead to scarcity and high cost of rice.
“But that is a fallacy because there is more rice, I mean local rice, that could take the country about two years to consume. You can see that a family that needed only a bag of rice is ordering for 10 or more bags at a time. There are other families that are cashing in on the situation and using the border closure to become rice merchants and hoarding the commodity in order to re-sell it during the Yuletide. However, if Nigerians just buy rice normally, there would be no price increase and the quantity of the commodity will always be sufficient for all,’’ he said. Uzodinma said that rice merchants and middlemen had been busy going into the hinterlands with trailers, buying and transporting local rice to Lagos and other big cities.
The rice farmer further said that the quality of Nigeria’s rice remained the best anywhere in the World. “We have the best quality of rice because of the kind of soil texture in the country.
“The taste of our rice is unique, the nutritional value is very high and it is very beautify as well,’’ he said. Uzodinma called on the youths to take advantage of the recent development to maximise the opportunities and profits in the agricultural sector. I will also want youths in Enugu state to take advantage and participate in the free-of-charge `One Youth, One Hectare’ of farmland project being organised by my NGO, The New Enugu Project,’’ he said.