The price of foreign rice is on the rise as demand for local rice among Enugu residents increases following the closure of borders with Benin and Niger republics by the Federal Government.
A market survey conducted by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday revealed that many residents now go for local rice due to the increase in price of foreign rice.
NAN reports that the price of foreign rice at Akwata, Ogbete, Garki and Mayor markets increased as a 50kg bag of foreign rice in the markets now goes for between N19, 500 and N20, 000 as against N17, 500 some months back.
The survey also revealed that a 25 kg bag of foreign rice is now sold between N9,000 and N9,500 as against N8,000 and N9,000.
Foreign rice dealers, who spoke to NAN at the various major markets in the metropolis, blamed the increase in rice price on boarder closure.
Mr Matthew Emenike, a rice dealer at Akwata market said that since the closure of boarders with Nigeria, no sufficient number of bags of rice had been brought into his shop.
Emenike said that government should have issued a notice to rice importers before closing the boarders, adding that it had been difficult for him and his buyers to get the rice at less price.
Mr Ibe Orji, another dealer in foreign rice at Garki market on Agbani Road said that as a result of the closure there had been low supply of rice from Lagos to Enugu.
“My supplier, who resides in Lagos, has been lamenting bitterly, telling me that there is no single bag of rice in his shop and it is difficult for him to get the commodity due to the closure of boarder,” he said.
Local rice dealers, who spoke to NAN expressed joy over high demand of the local rice.
Mrs Joy Eze at Ogbete Main Market said before now the price of local rice had remained stable for years with low demand, adding that since the boarders’ closure, she had been experiencing high patronage.
Mr Kelechi Ugwu added that the price of 50kg of local rice had slightly increased .
“The increase is not much but the demand is now higher than before, the price of 25 kg bag had increased from N6,000 to N6,700 while the 50kg is sold for N16,000 as against N15,000.
A buyer at Mayor market, Mrs Uju Ofor, said that nutritionist had advised the public to always go for local rice due to its nutritional value.
Ofor added that with the closure of boarders, many would be forced to eat the nutritious rice rather than the foreign ones.