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Written by on January 4, 2024

Despite billions of naira pumped into boosting Nigerian rice production, the cost of local rice has skyrocketed, with a kilogramme jumping a staggering 73.2% in just one year. This spike comes as a bitter pill for Nigerians who rely on it as a staple food, and throws into question the effectiveness of government efforts to curb rice imports.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) paints a stark picture. Between November 2022 and 2023, the average price of a kilogramme of local rice surged from N500.80 to N867.20, a staggering 73.2% increase. Even worse, a 50kg bag now costs between N55,000 and N60,000, depending on location.

While the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has poured billions into the rice value chain with the intention of increasing production and halting foreign rice imports, these efforts seem to be faltering. Rising production costs, transportation expenses, and other factors are eating into any gains made, sending rice prices soaring.

Interestingly, foreign imported rice hasn’t escaped the price wave either, although its increase wasn’t as severe. The NBS data shows a 61.53% jump in the price of a kilogramme of foreign rice within the same period, highlighting broader inflationary pressures and market factors at play.

This situation raises critical questions about the sustainability of Nigeria’s rice policy. Are the billions pumped into the sector reaching the right hands? And what additional measures are needed to address the cost inflation driving up prices for a vital food source for millions? The government and stakeholders must urgently revisit their strategies and find solutions to stabilize the rice market and ensure affordable access to this essential staple for all Nigerians.

I hope this rewrite is more engaging and impactful, highlighting the human impact of the price increase and emphasizing the need for further action.

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