RICE Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, have assured that Nigerians will buy 50 kilogrammes bag of rice at N6, 000 in the next few months.
This was disclosed by the National President of RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo, while answering questions from newsmen after a meeting held with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and the National Rice Millers Association of Nigeria, NRMAN, on Wednesday.
Goronyo stated this on the heels of agreement reached between RIFAN and NRMAN on reduction of price on paddy from N150, 000 to N110, 000 per tonne. Currently, the market price of 50kg bag of rice sells for N16, 000, with the move by the two associations the price per 50kg bag of rice will crash from N16,000 to N13,500 per bag. He said: “Is just the beginning, the real price will even come down because we are expecting a bumper harvest this year and we have sat down with the Millers that will work for the interest of Nigerians. “We are working hard to see that the price of a 50kg bag of rice comes down to N6, 000 and it will be in the next few months.” However, he said the challenge in the rice value chain has been the high cost of production and expressed concern over persistent smuggling activities threatening farmers’ commitment to scaling up production., which he expressed optimism that the government would soon intervene. “Our major challenge is the cost of production and the Minister has promised to bring down the cost of production to the barest minimum.”
Also speaking was the National Chairman of NRMAN, Abubakar Mohammed, said with the agreement reached their decision became imperative necessary due to high prices of local rice, which consumers were no more comfortable with, and now farmers and millers also have become worrisome.
He said: “We have agreed with the farmers on a N13,500 and N13, 000 per bag depending on where you are in the country, we are not making requests, but we have come here to inform the Minister that our agreement with the farmers on the price of paddy, “And this is what we have with the farmers’ association and let the minister know that we agreed on a price of paddy for this year 2017 and 2019 wet season farming. N110, 000 at the farm per tonne, which N13, 000 to N13, 500 will be for a bag. “Before we were buying paddy up to N150, 000 per tonne of paddy, and we were selling our paddy for N16, 000 per bag of 50 kilogrammes. “We want to sell a bag of rice N13, 000 to N13, 500 per bag according to where you are in the country and the paddy cost will be N110, 000 per bag. We have the MoU on that and we start it will be fine for everybody. The government and farmers work with us the processors.”
Meanwhile, in his remarks, the Minister said if the price of rice crashes to N13,500, the smugglers’ margin will reduce drastically. He said the government will continue to procure farm machines to assist the rice farmers to ease the stress of rice production, and consequently further crash the prices of rice in the market. “The biggest enemy of the Nigerian rice farmers and processors are the smugglers, if the price of rice falls to N13,500, smugglers margin becomes too small and we hope that the measures we are going to take can end smuggling of rice and many other things. “I assure you government will continue to procure and support rice farmers so that you can keep to the price you have agreed of a N110,000”, he said.