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Border closure: Nigerians shouldn’t panic over scarcity of rice ― RIFAN

Says artificial scarcity caused by saboteurs

To harvest 6 million metric tonnes of rice in 3 weeks

By Gabriel Ewepu

THE Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Sunday, allayed fears of Nigerians over the scarcity of rice as land borders remain closed.

Rice, border
Foreign rice seized by Ogun Command

This assurance was made by the National President, RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo, in a telephone chat with Vanguard on the alleged price increase of rice across markets in the country.

According to Goronyo rice processors and farmers have met and resolved that border closure would not affect the price of the commodity, rather will maintain prices despite the closure of land borders.

He further stated that there is enough rice paddy for millers in their warehouses, which they cannot quantify and disclose that in three weeks over 6 million metric tonnes of rice would be harvested, which will be added to the 4 million metric tonnes already harvested and that put together is over the current annual consumption of 7.5 million metric tonnes.

He said: “The rice processors have met and assured Nigerians that the issue of border closure will not affect the prices of rice they sell to Nigerians. There are prices ranging from N13, 500- N14, 000 per bag of rice and they promised to maintain that price. With the cooperation of Nigerians, God willing the prices will start coming down.

“Secondly, the farmers who produce, grow and cultivate this rice did not add a kobo to the normal price they use to sell their paddy. I see no reason why Nigerians should panic and try to create unnecessary artificial scarcity of this commodity.

“The paddy we have on ground now that is in our warehouses we can’t even quantify the quantum of it.

“The rice that is on the field that is going to be harvested in the next two, three weeks it is only God who knows the quantity. We have enough factories in Nigeria that are now milling to international standards and enough for Nigerians to buy and consume.”

He also added that “The dry season is around the corner, by November we will start cultivating again the dry season farming as usual.” He also appealed to Nigerians, “All we need is to exercise patience. The border closure is not about rice only but about all the commodities, but rice stands to be the most important.

“We have rice in abundance in the country. All the prices are still maintained. The bag of paddy is still being sold at N7, 000-N7, 500 and maximum of N8, 000. We did not change it and is still the price maintained.”

However, the RIFAN chief accused people whom he called enemies of the country who are the ones creating artificial scarcity and are against the country attaining self-sufficiency in production.

“Like I said there are enemies of the progress we are making who are trying to make it difficult for the common man to get this commodity at a cheaper rate, who are not happy with this development that we are achieving rice self-sufficiency in the country. They are the ones creating this fake and artificial scarcity and rumour going around the country.

“But from the farmers and millers, we are meeting all the times, and we are trying to make it possible for any Nigerians to have access to this commodity at affordable prices. We want to make it available, accessible and affordable.”

“I want to assure you that the ones coming into our stocks from the fields is a bumper harvest and we are even growing more than what we consume,” he said.

On flood currently ravaging parts of the country he (Goronyo) said the disaster cannot stop production, availability, accessibility and affordability, “Rice is being grown on the lowland but there are also areas we cultivate rice on the upland, so even if there is flood I don’t think it will make an impact that will create scarcity of rice in the country.

“It is not healthy rice they bring as foreign rice into the country because we call it a foreign disease. This rice is kept over seven years in their silos and every quarter they spray chemicals on it to preserve it and this is the rice they pack from their silos and send it to Nigeria and people are not eating fresh ones rather they are eating disease. Most of the diseases killing people in the country today including cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, blindness and others are traceable to this rice they call foreign rice that is actually disease is the source of them. Nigerians should be careful with this foreign disease sent to Nigeria”, he added.

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