The Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, has said it is unpatriotic for rice producers to sell a bag of rice at above N15,000.
Nanono said that with paddy rice sold at N8,500 and cost of processing N2,000, it was exploitative for the product to be sold for between N17,000 and N18,000 per bag.
The minister, according to a statement from the ministry, said this during a working visit to rice farms and mills of Stallion Group Popular Farms and Mills Limited.
Nanono noted that the border closure had resulted in an increased output by rice milling plants in Nigeria, adding that the boost would reduce the high rate of unemployment in the country.
The minister said with the improved production rate, Nigerian rice was bound to compete favourably in the global market the moment the country begins to export the product.
The minister said, “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 to N 15000.”
He said the ministry would convene a forum for all relevant stakeholders in the rice sub-sector to dialogue on how to improve on rice seedlings, among issues.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Popular Farms and Mill Limited, Mr Amit Rai, stated that the firm had invested over $70m to boost production of agribusiness, especially rice and sesame in Nigeria.