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Nigeria

Local rice price rise 73% in 12 months – NBS

The increasingly high cost of production, transportation and other factors have caused the price of one kilogramme of local rice to jump by 73.2 per cent in one year.

This happened despite a multi-billion naira funding support of the Central Bank of Nigeria for the nation’s rice value chain aimed at boosting production and stopping the importation of foreign rice.

Rice, a staple food widely consumed in Nigeria, has been rising in price despite its production locally. The commodity now sells for between N55,000 and N60,000 for a 50kg bag, depending on the area of purchase.

Data from the selected food prices watch report of the National Bureau of Statistics analysed by The PUNCH showed that the average price of 1kg of local rise rose by 73.2 per cent from N500.80 to N867.20 between November 2022 and November 2023.

When compared vis-a-vis with the price of 1kg of foreign imported rice, the NBS noted an increase of 61.53 per cent from N704.13 to N1,137, within the same period.

It was also observed that local rice was sold at the highest in Lagos State at the cost of N1,122.42 despite the operation of the 32-tonne per hour Lagos Rice Mill in Imota, which produces the Eko Rice brand and lowest at Kebbi State at the price of N688.

The PUNCH recalls that during the inauguration and at other fora, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu boasted that the mill would address rice importation as it had an annual paddy requirement of over 240,000 tonnes to produce 2.5 million 50kg bags of 50kg per annum.

Commenting on the high price of local rice, the National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kabir Ibrahim, in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, blamed the high price on inflation and its attendant heightened cost of production, adding that logistics, packaging and labour cost also contributed significantly to the rise in the price of local rice.

Kabir, however, disputed the figures projected by the NBS, arguing that it’s unrealistic and not market based.

He said, “The cost of production has always been very high due to various factors. Transportation is a factor and it became a very serious threat to pricing after the removal of the fuel subsidy. If you are buying a bowl of milled rice, the miller has to provide its own power, pay workers’ salaries and discount the cost of his machinery. He has to do packaging alongside transportation costs. so it’s definitely going to be costlier than imported rice that’s not edible in Thailand.

“Two, the farm gauge price is far different from the prices in the market and three markets stand out and should not be used as parameter for pricing. The price you get in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt, they are not good indices. There is already an apathy against imported rice because people have now realised the one with better quality and those countries selling it cheap are doing so just to get rid of it.

“However, I think a 70 per cent increase by the NBS is not realistic and too high. The bureau may be carrying out these information but I tell you the prices are bit cheaper than what is reported. If you go to real markets and ntoit artificial ones. to put things correctly, there is definitely food inflation and it is skyrocketing but if we go by these commodities, we are likely to be lying to our selves and the general public.”

 “The past administration invested a lot in rice production and i think they should be applauded. We used to import rice to the tune of trillions but that has changed,” he added.

In a related development, Nigeria and other countries across the West Africa region are projected to see increased prices of staple foods such as rice, maize, millet, cereals, etc in 2024.

This is according to a report titled “West Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook” published jointly by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, World Food Program, and others.

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