The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has given reasons why imported rice is still cheaper than locally produced rice, despite government efforts.
Mr. Ogbeh, while responding to questions at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja, said one of the major reasons was that most of the imported rice was subsided by the foreign governments. He said most of the imported rice are from Vietnam, India and Thailand. Thailand subsidises the export of rice, the minister said.
He explained that the imported rice arrive at about 9,000 per bag, and are then sold at about N13,000 per bag to consumers unlike the local rice sold at about N16,000 per bag. Mr. Ogbeh also lamented the interest rates for farming loans. “Our interest rates in this country is higher that the interest rate in most parts of the world,” he said.
Another reason for the high cost of local rice, the minister said, is the price of diesel to run generators in the farms. “Diesel went from N180 per litre to N300,” he said. The minister said the federal government was very concerned about the high cost of local rice and he would be having a meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun to discuss rice prices among other matters.
The federal government through its Anchor Borrowers Programme has invested billions of naira in assisting mainly local rice farmers, with rice being the country’s most consumed food. “In the next one month, you’ll have Nigerian rice in the shop at the best price we’ve ever had,” the minister said.