There may soon be relief over the present high cost of rice in the country as the growers of the popular stable food have begun major moves to bring down its price.
Rice farmers under the auspices of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria have flagged off the sale of paddy rice for N11,000 per 100kg bag, a situation that will see the price of milled rice go down to N12,000 per 50kg bag.
The national president of the association, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, confirmed to Daily Trust that the RIFAN had started the process that will force the price of milled rice down to N12, 000 per 50kg bag.
This is not the first time the association is making such a move in the country in a bit to curtail the raising price of paddy.
Paddy currently sells for between N18, 000 and N23, 000 per 100 kg, depending on the size of the bag and location across the country.
Mrs Nnenna Ejim, the national women leader of the association, said the association had commenced the sale of paddy at N11, 000 in some locations.
In Taraba State, sources said the association had sold 3,600 tonnes (36,000 bags) collected from members as 30% equity of the 2019/2020 dry season recovery and sold to millers in the state.
The millers, are however, to sell the milled product for N15, 000 per 50kg in the market under the existing Memoranda of Understanding between the farmers and the association.
Some farmers said there might be variation in the prices in some locations because of other factors such as transportation.
Musa Akwaba, who has been a farmer for over 20 years, forecasts crash in the price as many farmers join in the cultivation of the crop.
“Looking at the planting this year, almost every farmer is now planting rice.
“So the possibility of hiking the price may not be there again,” he said.
‘Why rice price is high now’
Experts are of the view that since the federal government closed the borders, some persons have reportedly been engaging in hoarding, buying and storing both paddy and milled rice.
One of them, Mr Toyin Aina, said inadequate paddy was frustrating processors’ efforts to control the price of rice in the market.
“In the market now, the price of N50 kg bag of rice ranges from N18, 000 to N19000 depending on the location, and you cannot blame the processors for that; it is the cost of the paddy they bought among other things,” he said.
But the farmers said if the Anchor Borrower Programme introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria was sustained, the issue of inadequate paddy in the country would be permanently addressed.
The Secretary of the Taraba State chapter of rice farmers Association, Mamman Rabiu, noted: “The essence of Anchor Borrower Programme is to ensure food safety and security.”
A rice miller, Alhaji Nuhu Hamza, said the decision of the farmers to reduce the price of the paddy was a welcome one, but worried if that would be enough for the price of milled rice to crash at the moment.
He said at present, there was no enough paddy for all the processors to buy, making price regulation difficult.