It costs exactly the same amount a civil servant, especially the one that works with the Federal Government, earn in Nigeria (18,000 Naira to buy a bag of rice. 

It is ridiculous and farmers are trying to ensure that this cost comes down to enable workers enjoy rice and then still use their meagre salary for something else. 

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has highlighted a few things it would do to change the tide and it is hopeful of bringing the price for a bag of rice down to 8,000 Naira.

Unveiling its achievements and plans for further development of rice production in Nigeria on Wednesday, RIFAN National President, Aminu Goronyo, told reporters in Abuja that the current rice revolution had gingered the association to work towards the “Next Level’’.

Goronyo said that Nigeria had a huge potential of producing rice in commercial quantity to meet the growing demands of citizens.

He attributed the possibility of rice sufficiency to the Federal Government’s support for rice farmers and the collaborations with the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) as well as the Nigerian Customs Service and other agencies.

The president of the association said the agenda, tagged; “Next Level’’ was as a result of various interventions of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and innovative policies on rice production, which facilitated RIFAN’s operations and led to the remarkable improvements.

He said records available indicated that Nigeria had already saved more than $600 million from the importation of rice alone from Thailand and other countries since Nigeria’s domestic mass production flooded the markets under the ABP.

Goronyo said under the Next Level, RIFAN would harness the huge potential of producing rice in commercial quantity and make Nigeria the “Rice hub of Africa.

“RIFAN will reverse the current price of 18,000 Naira per 50kg of rice to between 8,000 Naira and 9,000 Naira to ensure exportation and capturing of the African rice market.

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He, however, noted that several efforts had been put in place to reduce the price of rice, including collaborations with the Competitive African Rice Initiative, Research Institutes; as well as other African countries, to boost rice production and export in Africa.

According to Goronyo, the target price will further drop with expected bumper harvests of rice; while RIFAN also negotiates with millers on pricing of the commodity.

“Many entrepreneurs and some African countries, which had recognised the efforts of RIFAN to champion rice development initiatives in Nigeria and Africa at large, are now willing to be part of the rice revolution,’’ he said.

The RIFAN President said that under the rice revolution, major rice producing states like Katsina, Niger, Anambra, Kebbi, Cross River, Kano, Benue, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Plateau, Kaduna and Zamfara, were now set with modern processing equipment to boost local production and curtail imports.

While these claims of rice sufficiency and drop in importation has been peddled by the government, a market survey still showed that less of locally processed rice were available in the market. 

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