‘Nigeria Can Be Self-sufficient In Rice Production’

27.10.2016

The managing director of Agro-base Industries Ltd, Mr Kayode Akinpelu, has observed that Nigeria could be self-sufficient in rice production if the federal government maintains a stable policy in rice business.

Akinpelu, who gave the advice while speaking with LEADERSHIP in Lagos, said, “The major problem is the uncertainty in the market because of the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service which sometimes open up the borders for rice to flow in to raise revenue for the government.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also been wonderful in trying to assure that there would not be importation, but when you go to the markets you will find many bags of foreign rice.

“If there is the guarantee that the government will not encourage these importations, we can increase our capacity and become self-sufficient in rice production,” he added.

The rice miller, however, commended the federal government for encouraging farmers with standard rice seeds as well as providing farm inputs and implements for them. He also informed that his company had embarked on expansion programmes to increase capacity to meet local demands while maintaining that they produce tonnes of rice per day presently.

The miller attributed the high cost of local rice, which is sold at N16, 000 per bag, to the high cost of running mills with diesel and generators. Other factors he pointed out that are responsible for the exorbitant price of rice are poor electricity supply, high cost of diesel and importation of spare parts as well as high cost of fuel used for transportation.

According to him, “Our generators consume about 1,400 litres of diesel daily; if that cost is removed and other challenges resolved, nothing stops local rice from being sold at least N10,000 for 50 kilogramme.”

Akingbelu at the same time expressed confidence that with the intervention of the state and the federal governments, farmers are likely to produce more paddies at a lower price this year which will also increase production.


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