The Federal Government’s effort to boost agriculture in Nigeria has led to a drastic drop in rice imports from 1.2 million metric tons in 2014, to 438 tons in 2022
The Director General of the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), Mr. Andy Ekwelem, revealed the main source of import from Thailand.
Ekwelem said, “Before the current administration, Nigeria officially allowed imported rice. As of the last quarter of 2014, official rice import from Thailand was about 1.24 million tons; by 2015, these imports had dropped to about 644,131 tons and in 2016, they dropped to 58,260 tons.
“In 2017, the imports further dropped to 23,192 tons but by 2022, it dropped to an all-time minimum of 438 tons,”
In a bid to encourage local production, importers of rice and 41 other items were stopped from accessing foreign exchange at the official window by the CBN in 2015.
The FG also stopped the importation of rice across the land borders while the imports that came through the ports attracted 70 per cent tariffs. These policies led to a sharp drop in the importation of rice while local production increased.
However, the drop in the importation of foreign rice and increased production of local rice has failed to cushion the harsh price increase in the industry as the price of local rice has spiked by over 200 per cent in seven years.
According to a report by the Punch, rising insecurity has greatly affected the production of local rice and has also led to a sharp increase in the price of the commodity. The Punch reports that despite funding from the FG running into billions of Naira, the price of local rice shot up by 201.52 per cent in seven years.
Based on data from the Selected Food Prices Watch Report of the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS), in February 2016, the average price of 1kg of local rice was pegged at ₦172.74. The price rose to ₦520.84 as of February 2023.