NBS Records 73% Increase In Local Rice Costs Within 12-Month

A surge of 73.2% in the price of one kilogram of local rice within a year can be attributed to escalating production costs, transportation expenses, and other contributing factors.

This occurred notwithstanding the Central Bank of Nigeria’s multi-billion naira financial backing for the country’s rice value chain, designed to enhance production and halt the importation of foreign rice.

Despite being produced locally, the price of rice, a commonly consumed staple in Nigeria, has been steadily increasing. Presently, the commodity is available at varying rates, ranging from N55,000 to N60,000 for a 50kg bag, contingent on the purchasing location.

Information extracted from the National Bureau of Statistics’ chosen food prices watch report indicates that the mean cost of 1kg of local rice surged by 73.2%, climbing from N500.80 to N867.20 from November 2022 to November 2023.

In contrast to the cost of 1kg of foreign imported rice, the NBS observed a rise of 61.53%, escalating from N704.13 to N1,137 within the identical timeframe.

It was noted that local rice commanded the highest price in Lagos State, reaching N1,122.42, even with the presence of the 32-tonne per hour Lagos Rice Mill in Imota, producing the Eko Rice brand. Conversely, the lowest price for local rice was observed in Kebbi State, priced at N688.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu proudly stated during the inauguration and other events that the mill would tackle rice importation. This confidence stemmed from its annual paddy requirement of more than 240,000 tonnes, enabling the production of 2.5 million 50kg bags per year.

In a Wednesday interview with newsmen, Kabir Ibrahim, the National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, attributed the elevated cost of local rice to inflation. He pointed out that the consequential increase in production costs, along with significant contributions from logistics, packaging, and labor costs, played a substantial role in the surge in the price of local rice.

However, Kabir contested the figures presented by the NBS, asserting that they are unrealistic and lack a basis in market dynamics.

He said, “The cost of production has always been very high due to various factors. Transportation is a factor and it became a very serious threat to pricing after the removal of the fuel subsidy. If you are buying a bowl of milled rice, the miller has to provide its own power, pay workers’ salaries and discount the cost of his machinery. He has to do packaging alongside transportation costs. so it’s definitely going to be costlier than imported rice that’s not edible in Thailand

“Two, the farm gauge price is far different from the prices in the market and three markets stand out and should not be used as parameter for pricing. The price you get in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt, they are not good indices. There is already an apathy against imported rice because people have now realised the one with better quality and those countries selling it cheap are doing so just to get rid of it.

“However, I think a 70 per cent increase by the NBS is not realistic and too high. The bureau may be carrying out these information but I tell you the prices are bit cheaper than what is reported. If you go to real markets and ntoit artificial ones. to put things correctly, there is definitely food inflation and it is skyrocketing but if we go by these commodities, we are likely to be lying to our selves and the general public.”

“The past administration invested a lot in rice production and i think they should be applauded. We used to import rice to the tune of trillions but that has changed,” he added.

In a related update, it is anticipated that Nigeria and other West African nations will experience a rise in the prices of essential foods like rice, maize, millet, cereals, etc., in the year 2024.

This is according to a report titled “West Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook” published jointly by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, World Food Program, and others.

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