The Federal Government has blamed the increasing hike in the price of ‘local’ rice on the sharp and unfair practices of producers.
Alarmed that the indiscriminate price increase was harming the intention of the government to stimulate local production and empower local farmers through border closure and other economic stimulus to the sector, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development stated in Abuja on Friday that he would have to meet with the producers immediately to redress the ugly situation that was harming consumers.
He said, “I am going to engage with them on this; we are going to discuss this and I am going to be thorough on it because I know this business.
“Sometimes people are not honest, before the border closure, rice was sold for between N5,000, N8,000, and N9,000 but shortly after the closure, dealers were selling it for N15,000 to N16,000 and now it has risen to N17,000.
“There were times when they were buying rice at N5,000, N8,000 and most of them if you check they have stock up to eight months.’’
“If such measure is taken, who will lose?
“The millers and people that are employed, that is Nigerians that will lose,” he said
Nanono, however, described border closer as the best measure taken by the Federal Government for the economic development of the country, adding that before the closure of the border, there were 11 integrated milling plants, milling about 28 tonnes to 300 tonnes per day.
“When the border was closed, a company told me that it was having over 600 tonnes in stock and most of these integrated millers are employing between 200 and 350 people directly.”