- Rice Farmers Smiling to Bank as Demand for Local Brands Surge
Local rice farmers and millers are smiling to the bank as border closure bolstered demand for local rice, research has shown.
The inability of importers and smugglers to access the Nigerian market following the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to close the nation’s land borders has led to the surge in the price of foreign rice and eventually forced many Nigerians to shift preference to more pocket-friendly local rice.
“A whole lot of rice farmers are increasing their production areas because there is a huge market for paddy since the border closure,” Aminu Goronyo, national president, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria.
The price of local rice has declined by 19 percent in the last 10 days due to the unusual heavy harvest by farmers struggling to meet growing demand.
“This is because millers are patronising rice farmers now and off-taking all that the farmers produce immediately,” stated Goronyo.
According to Goronyo, prior to border closure, farmers were holding more than 20,000 tons of paddy as millers were not buying due to weak demand. Largely because of Nigerians preference for imported rice.
However, the surge in the price of foreign rice after land borders were closed has paved way for paddy. While the price of a 50kg local rice like Mama Pride, Umza, Classic, Mama Choice, Lake Rice, Three Brothers, Al Hamsad, among others, that rose as high as N24,000 has started moderating in the last 10 days and currently selling for N19,500.
The Chairman of Integrated Rice Processors Association of Nigeria, Mohammed Abubakar, said: “Yes, the prices of rice went up immediately after the border closure. The prices have peaked and are now coming down.”
“We would be able to meet demand and Nigerians have no need to worry about Christmas demand. Our members are already increasing their capacity,” Abubakar added.
Farmers are now shifting to rice cultivation because of the growing demand for local rice.
Muhammed Augie, chairman, Rice Farmers Association, Kebbi chapter, said: “Since the surge in prices, farmers who have abandoned growing rice have returned and even other farmers are shifting to rice cultivation because the market is there.”
“A bag of paddy rice now costs N8,500 as against N10,000 sold two weeks ago. This is because we are growing more and the harvesting season just commenced,” Augie said.