In order to tackle the steady increment in the price of local rice in Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has called on farmers to make local rice more affordable to Nigerians.
During a meeting with rice farmers, millers and processors, the Minister said it became imperative to crash the price of local rice following the persistent increment in the price of the rice, especially during the Christmas period.
Ogbeh said the Federal Government understood many of the challenges being experienced by rice farmers, adding that adequate measures were currently being put in place to address many of these concerns.
“We have been discussing the modalities to put in place to make sure that local rice sells much cheaper and that the prices can fall to the levels of foreign rice and eventually, below the levels of foreign rice.”
The Minister added that the President Buhari-led administration is happy that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has agreed to bring down interest rates on both Agric and manufacturing loans to one digit.
Ogbeh further stressed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA), have collaborated to set up a fund, which is for the purpose of supporting both the farmers, millers and marketers. This, Ogbeh believe will crash the price of rice.
While acknowledging the fact that floods had damaged rice fields, he said the government had taken into account the suggestions made by farmers that it should look for varieties of rice that are flood tolerant.
Recall that Ogbeh had announced the Federal Government’s plan to shut one of the nation’s land borders, over the smuggling of foreign rice into the country.
Ogbeh was quoted to have said the decision would help to consolidate on the gains of government’s fiscal policy, which had reduced rice importation from South-East Asia by more than 95 per cent in the past two years and increased the number of local rice farmers from 5 million to 30 million.