Rice prices remain high despite an investment of 850 billion naira in rice cultivation

  • Nigeria may soon experience a food crisis as the price of rice, a major staple in the country, remains high despite huge government investments
  • The farmers said that instead of injecting this money into rice cultivation, which has yielded little results, the country should instead use the same amount for imports.
  • Farmers hailed government plans to bring back the Growth Enhancement Program which enables government-farmer partnership in rice cultivation

Despite huge investments in rice cultivation by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the umbrella of the Anchors Borrowers program, the price of the staple food remains extremely high in Nigeria.

The Anchors borrowers program has come under heavy criticism from an agricultural expert who berated the government for the 850 billion naira injected into the rice value chain, according to a Guardian report.

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Local rice in the market and CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele
Local rice in the market and CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele
Source: UGC

The program was launched in 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the country’s negative food balance.

The CBN had said that the farmers were not repaying the loan they had received under the program. According to the apex bank, over 463 billion naira is owed to the bank by farmers under the program.

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Critics’ Trail Program

Kabiru Fara, the Nigerian president of the Agro Input Dealers Association (NAIDA), estimated that if the funds spent by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to invest in rice were spent on its import, Nigerians would have rice to a much lower price.

The price of 50 kg of rice is currently sold between 25,000 and 27,000 N while foreign rice is sold between 30,000 and 32,000 N. The rice mills have blamed the surge in the price of rice on the high cost of production and to the absence of paddy rice.

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They criticized the CBN for allocating the 850 billion naira anchor borrower program which did little to reduce the price of rice in the country.

Speaking with reporters in Abuja, Fara said that instead of spending so much money on a value chain without showing anything, the government should have invested more to ensure that farmers have access to inputs. agricultural products at a much lower cost.

Bring back the GES

Fara praised the government for bringing back the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) saying it will lower the price of food and make it available.

Muhammad Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, recently alluded to the plan to reintroduce GES with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Akinwunmi Adesina, the current AfDB President who was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, presented the GES. It allows the government to finance agricultural inputs up to 50 percent, while the state and farmers share the remaining 50 percent.

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Fara said farmers would be more comfortable because the prices of agricultural inputs go up, but with the GHG, farmers can get inputs at a reasonable price, which means Nigerian consumers will get products at a low price. . all things being equal.

He argued that the central bank’s ABP mainly focuses on rice producers, while GES focuses on all value chains, making it more efficient.

He said bringing back the GHG means a lot, as commercial banks have to come, producers, suppliers, agro-traders, farmer associations have to come so that they can agree on the distribution modalities. agricultural inputs.

Fara said that in this new GHG, they will ensure that quality inputs are delivered to various centers taking into account farmers’ preference.

The dollar is blamed for the high cost of rice

Legit.ng reported that the president of the Nigerian Rice Farmers Association, Aminu Goronyo, blamed the rising dollar and weakening naira on the high cost of locally produced rice.

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Goronyo said that as the dollar rate rises over the years, farmers have had to spend more on fertilizers, and as the cost of production rises, the cost of rice is also expected to rise.

In 2015, a bag of rice cost around 7,500 N, but five years later the cost of grain has risen to around 30,000 N in 2021 – increasing by 300% during the period.

Source: Legit.ng

About Keneth T. Graves

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