|Chief Audu Ogbeh|
The Federal Government has announced that the price of rice would start to fall from November this year.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh,
made this disclosure on Monday while addressing members of the Senate
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development at the headquarters of
the ministry in Abuja.
According to Ogbeh, the government could not be involved in the
importation of rice as speculated in some quarters, adding that his
ministry would not encourage rice importation because it would be
detrimental to local production.
He said the Federal Government was against rice smuggling and noted that
the Seme border had become a notorious route for smuggling of
contraband products into the country.
“We will not encourage rice importation and there is no way our ministry
or government can be involved in importing rice when we are working
hard to be self-sufficient in local production. By November when the
full-scale harvest starts, rice prices will fall,” the minister said.
Early last month, the government had warned that the price of rice might
hit N40,000 a bag. It is currently being sold around N20,000.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator
Heineken Lokpobiri, said that the $22bn annual food import bill had led
to the astronomical rise in the price of rice and other commodities.
He stressed that if Nigerians failed to produce some of the items being
imported before December, the price of rice could skyrocket to N40,000 a
On why the ministry had yet to start implementing its capital budget,
Ogbeh said, “It is about now that the capital expenditure is beginning.
One of the reasons why money is not circulating is that we need to
follow the due process on issues of procurement, advertisement and
He also said, “You may be surprised to know that only six to seven
states in Nigeria are showing enthusiasm in agriculture. Some by nature
don’t seem interested, while others just can’t connect with whatever we
are doing at the federal level.”