— Due To Higher Production Cost, More Demand
In the face of soaring price of imported rice, the demand and consumption of locally produced rice has increased tremendously in recent time, just as farmers are smiling to the bank, due to the patronage they are enjoying.
A rice farmer in Asaba, Delta State, Mr. Raymos Guanah, who attested to the development, said local rice is now well-processed and cheaper than imported rice, leading to increased demand. “Nigerians are beginning to be more aware that there is so much difference between the locally-produced rice and the imported. Local rice is very nutritious. The rice we produced last year had been bought off and we have nothing left in stock.”
The General Manager Project Coordinator, Olam Rice Farm, Mahesh Ninye, producer of Mama’s pride, said recently that currently the rice demand in the country is about six million metric tonne, while the supply is 3.5, leaving a demand-supply gap of 2.5.
Now in Asaba, a 50kg bag of local rice sells for about N17, 000, almost at the same price with the imported brand, which sells between N17, 500 and N23, 000, depending on the brand.
In Ogun State, a module (Olodo) of Ofada rice, the local specie produced in the Southwest, which contains 10 De-ricas measure, previously sold at N2, 500 three months ago is now N3, 800, directly from the milling machine, while its equivalent of imported rice (Agric), is just between N2, 500 and N2, 750.
In Kebbi State, despite local rice is mainly patronised by locals who use it for Tuwo-a local delicacy, a reliable source confirmed to The Guardian that the local rice is more expensive now, as a module of 1.4kg is sold at N300.
Several factors led to price hike, including, the fact that demand has far outweighed supply.
Other factors are increase in prices of farm inputs; the likes of seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and high cost of diesel used for running of milling machines, among other factors of production.
With these challenges, the farmers do not have any other choice than to increase prices. For instance, a tonne of paddy rice sold for N65, 000 last year has risen to N150, 000.
The Chairman, Kebbi State Rice Farmers Association, Muhammed Augie, also told The Guardian on phone that several factors are contributing to the price increase, saying since the dry season is already here, inability adequate rain affects production, adding that high cost of inputs and other factors too are part of the cause of the price increase.
“This does not only apply to rice farmers, but generally to all farmers because we use fuel for irrigation water and other inputs.”
Both Ninye and Augie agreed that the price of rice may go up by next month, because of high demand, noting that if government had allowed importation in October, the price could have crashed by December to around N15, 000 from the current price, adding that if government allow importation now, it would take another two months to arrive.