Price of Rice Gradually Reversing to its Old Order – Nigerians would need to brace up for another round of hardship, with the soaring price of rice, considered as a staple food for households in the country.
Based on feelers from industry analysts, according to the Guardian the price might escalate in few weeks to come and may last till December or beyond if urgent provisions are not made to address the challenges.
Currently, a 50kg of parboiled rice initially sold between N12, 000 and N12, 500 has risen to between N13, 000 and N14, 500, depending on the area, in the last two weeks.
This has not only resulted in panic buying and hoarding, it has also added to stress of already distraught Nigerians, as the price is gradually taking the commodity beyond their reach.
Attesting to this development was the release of several bags of the Lake Rice, penultimate week by the Lagos State government to designated retail outlets; high end markets, super markets, open markets and stores in large quantities across the state, to cushion the effect of the price hike.
According to the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau, through a statement: “The attention of the state government has been drawn to the skyrocketing price of other rice brands in the market and as such it behooves government to ensure all year round availability of Lake rice to residents at affordable prices.”
Shaming the much-hyped success of the Federal Government in achieving a 90 per cent reduction in the importation of rice, The Guardian learnt that importation of rice has not been reduced by 90 per cent because 80 per cent of food consumed locally is still imported, as smugglers have become warlords under the direct nose of government officials.
Based on the Federal Government’s claim, the current yield per hectare of rice has increased from 2.5million tons in 2005; 3.5 tons in 2010 to 5.5 tons in 2018.
Contrary to government’s claims, the country’s import bills keep increasing by the day, thereby reducing the foreign reserves.
The country is ranked the largest producer of rice in West Africa, at the same time she is ranked second largest importer of rice in the world as at 2017, incurring an average import bill of N1b daily on rice import.
According to the import data from a global trade portal, Index Mundi, the country imported 5.6 million tonnes of rice between 2017 and now, at the global price of $410, which amounts to $2.29m.
This is contrary to claims by the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) that Nigeria had saved $800 million from importation of rice.
Experts in the rice industry have attributed this to several factors: low productivity, which triggers scarcity in the market; ban on rice importation; unavailability of local rice as alternatives; and scarcity of paddy rice.
The Managing Director/CEO of Bama Farms, Prince Wale Oyekoya, told The Guardian that he is not surprised by the sudden sharp price rise, said the development was expected because of government’s insincerity about the state of the country’s economy.