Rice sellers worry as price increases in Lagos

Some rice sellers in Lagos State have expressed worry at the increase in the cost of the commodity, with many of them blaming it on inadequate supply.

The traders spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

Mrs Oluwasikemi Ohundayo, a trader at the Igando Market, said that ban on the importation of rice, though meant to develop local rice production, was biting hard on Nigerians.

“The road is not free again because of border closure, and I believe the government did it to develop our own rice production capacity, but we do not have enough farmers.

“A lot of people are after white-collar jobs; even those that studied agriculture in schools are not ready to be farmers,” she said.

She expressed optimism that local rice production would increase, and the cost of the commodity reduce.

Mrs Funmi Akinnawo, who sells rice at the Isheri area of the state, also told NAN that the ban on rice importation was still affecting the availability of the commodity.

“Many people are still buying foreign rice; they do not really believe in Nigerian rice, there are complaints that no matter how they clean it, there are still stones,” she said.

The trader urged the Federal Government to ensure improvement in the quality of Nigerian rice as well as ensure increased farming and supply.

A foodstuff trader at Iyana-Ipaja, Mr Bello Garuba, told NAN: “A bag of local short-grain rice is sold for N23, 000, foreign short-grain rice, N32,000 or N33,000, while long-grain foreign rice sells for N28, 000 per bag.

“We have many Nigerian companies that produce rice now yet the price has not come down,” Garuba said.

Mr John Nwabueze, a resident of Alimosho in Lagos State, also noted that many Nigerians preferred foreign rice to local rice.

He noted that although foreign rice was banned, it was still being smuggled into the country and many Nigerians went for it in spite of the cost.

According to him, short-grain foreign rice preferred by many people is now scarce.

“The high demand for short-grain foreign rice has caused a hike in the price,” Nwabueze said.

Investigations by NAN reveal that a 50kg bag of local rice sells for between N24, 000 and N25, 000, a 50kg bag of short-grain foreign rice sells for between N32, 000 and N36, 000.

Long-grain foreign rice sells for N28, 000 per 50kg bag.

In December 2021, short-grain foreign rice sold for N24,000, and long-grain, between N26,000 and N27,000; while local rice sold for N23,000.

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