The Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammad Sabo Nanono, has warned rice millers and dealers against selling a 50kg bag of Nigeria’s rice more than N15,000.
He explained that there is no justification for selling a bag of rice above N15,000 when the paddies are sourced cheaply from farmers and the cost of production is minimal.
“I see no reason why a 50kg bag of rice should be sold for N17,000. The same paddy rice is sold at N8,500 and maximum processing expense is N2,000, making a total of N10,500, it is unpatriotic to sell a bag more than N14,000 or N15,000.
“This is a major challenge and we have resolved to meet with rice dealers and millers and retail marketers to tell ourselves the truth because we cannot continue like this as a nation. We need rice not to be sold more than N14,500.
However, Nanono did not factor another cost such as transportation fare, haulage, loading and offloading, cost of independent power supply and multiple taxations from various government agencies, one of the processors explained.
The minister also disclosed that the appeal from neighboring countries to re-open the borders is not being positively considered.
Alhaji Nanono, who spoke at the weekend while inspecting a rice processing facility of Popular Farms and Mills Limited in Kano, insisted that the government would not accept the activities of some middlemen and unpatriotic millers to circumvent progress recorded in rice production.
Nanono, who said price control on rice might not be a good solution, explained that the outcome of the meeting would likely crash the price.
He warned that the trend of selling 50kg of rice at N17,500 was capable of forcing the country back to the dark days of smuggling and thwarting the achievement of food security in the country.
He commended firm for investing over the US $70 million to boost production of agricultural businesses, especially rice and sesame in Nigeria.
“We will not accept this because of two implications. If we continue like this, we are encouraging the return of smuggling and destroying the achievement recorded so far. There will be a political pressure on government. We would not consider price control and I will be the last person to go into that. We would consider moral persuasion first because we don’t see any reason why people should remain unpatriotic,” he said.