Nigeria Needs N330.2bn Rice To Meet Demand

Nigeria is to spend N330.2 billion ($917million) on the importation of 2.2million metric tons of rice before the end of the year in order to meet local demand. Already, the country has saved $862.5 million from the importation of the grain between 2014 and 2016, following the reduction in the imports from 2.6million tons to 2.2million.

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Current production is estimated at 2.77million tons.Investigation by New Telegraph revealed that importation of the grain dropped from 2.6million metric tons to 2.2million metric tons or (15.38per cent) between 2014 and 2016.

Study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed that the country was the world’s second largest rice import market but currently accounts for the largest share of the decline in the global rice trade since the beginning of 2016. Also, it said that the country, which is the largest grower of rice in West Africa region, is projected to harvest 2.7 million tons of rice in 2016/17 season.

The grain is among the imported goods stopped by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2016 from obtaining foreign exchange at the official exchange window.

It was gathered that price of Thailand rice has been reduced from $575 to $417 per tons as Nigeria cut import by 400,000 metric tons. It would recall that in 2016, CBN complained that the amount spent between January 2012 and May, 2015 on rice importation had resulted in huge unsold stock of paddy rice cultivated by Nigerian farmers and low operating capacities of many integrated rice mills in Nigeria.
The International Grains Council (IGC) also noted in 2015 that 85per cent share of Benin imports which were parboiled rice were shipped to Nigeria by road.

It explained: “Over half of imports in 2015 entered from neighboring Benin where the duty on rice is only 12per cent. Nigeria consumes parboiled rice exclusively, but Benin prefers white rice, it is easy to deduce that the 85per cent shares of Benin imports that are parboiled are bound for Nigeria through the orchestrations of clever traders.”

In 2014, the country took delivery of 3.5million metric tons, 2015, 2.6million metric tons and 2016, 2.2mllion metric tons from Thailand, United States and Vietnam.
However, it was learnt that a large percentage of the commodity could not reached the country through the land border because of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)’s policy restricting importation of rice through the land border.

Last year, NCS impounded some rice worth N597.7 billion smuggled in to the country through the land borders between January and August, 2016. Meanwhile, the Federal government has said that the country would experience self sufficient in rice production by November, 2017 .

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh also said in Abuja that price of the grain would fall before the end of the year as the consumption rate rose to 7 million tons. Government statistics revealed that only 2.7 million metric tons of the grain was produced by Nigerian farmers in 2016.

 

Source: newtelegraphonline.com

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