The Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday stated that the price of rice would start to fall from November this year.
Speaking on behalf of the government, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, hinted that since more Nigerians had returned to their various farms, the next harvesting season – next month – would see the price of the commodity crashing.
Ogbeh, who stated that the government could not be involved in the importation of rice as speculated in some quarters, stressed that his ministry would not encourage rice importation because it would be detrimental to local production.
“We will not encourage rice importation and there is no way our ministry or government can be involved in importing rice when we are working hard to be self-sufficient in local production. By November when the full-scale harvest starts, rice prices will fall,” he said.
While addressing members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja, the minister also said the federal government was against rice smuggling.
This is just as he noted that the Seme border had become a notorious route for the smuggling of contraband products into the country.
The federal government had in September warned that the price of rice might hit N40,000 a bag – with the current price around N20,000.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said that the $22bn annual food import bill had led to the astronomical rise in the price of rice and other commodities.
Lokpobiri maintained that if Nigerians failed to produce some of the items being imported before December, the price of rice could skyrocket to N40,000 a bag.