There has been a surge in the demand for local rice, with millers unable to meet the ‘excess demand’ of Nigerians, an expert has told SaharaReporters.
The rice miller, who chose to stay anonymous, said local rice is now like gold but certain milling and processing associations had placed price ceilings on how much members can sell the staple commodity.
The surge in the demand for locally milled rice is an offshoot of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that Nigeria’s borders with Benin and Niger republics be closed to prevent the smuggling of rice into the country.
The expert however, said that the government should have given a preparatory notice to millers before implementing the President’s order.
He said, “There is excessive demand, local rice has become gold.
“I’m afraid that there’s a gap, a huge gap, which is an opportunity for more millers to invest in production.
“But, there should have been a preparatory notice to millers that this was going to happen.
“Now millers are working day and night to meet up with the demand.”
The expert further told SaharaReporters that two associations – Rice Millers Association of Nigeria and Rice Processors Association of Nigeria – had a meeting to put the cost range of their products at between N13,300 and N14,000.
He however, said he was making profit but the price control was not having any effect on the market.
On August 28, President Buhari said that the partial closure of Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic was aimed at stopping “massive smuggling activities”.
As a result of this, there has been low supply of rice in many parts of the country with the price almost doubling in the few places the commodity is available.