FG GUARANTEES FALL IN RICE PRICE
BY OMOKHUALE PUAH
The Federal government had on Monday said that the price of rice would fall in November this year.
This statement was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, during an address to the members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the ministry headquarters, in Abuja.
This statement was prompted by the decision of the government; the delay in the approval of the 2016 budget has made it impossible to implement the capital expenditure in the agricultural sector.
He stated that due to the rise in the price of rice, most Nigerians have returned to their various farms which make the price of rice at the next harvesting season, begin to crash.
Minister Ogbeh who stated that the government could not be involved in the importation of rice as speculated in some quarters, insisted that his ministry would not encourage rice importation because it would be preferred, to local production.
He further said that the Federal government was against the smuggling of rice, noting that the Borders of Seme has become a famous route for such contraband smugglings into the country.
In his words “We will not encourage the importation of rice, neither would the government in anyway be involved in it, because we are working really hard to be self-reliant in local production. By November, during the full scale harvest, the price of rice will fall” the minister said.
Though early last month the government warned that the price of rice could hit N40, 000 per bag as it still currently sold at N20, 000 per bag.
Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Development said that the $22bn annual food import bill had led to the sudden rise in the price of rice and other farm produce.
The state Minister of Agriculture maintained that if Nigerians failed to produce some of the items before the year ends, the price of rice would hit N40, 000 per bag.