Nigeria’s staple meal, rice, is becoming more affordable as the price of the product dropped in April by an appreciable margin.
The report on prices of selected food released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in May indicated that the price of rice dropped by 7.22 per cent in April.
According to the report published on its website, NBS said the price fell from N418.71 in March to N250.30 in April per kilogramme indicating a 7.22 per cent reduction.
The Bureau also released the current prices of some other products including eggs.
It said that the average price of 1 dozen of medium size Agric eggs decreased month-on-month by 1.71 per cent to N518.66 in April 2017 from N527.69 in March 2017.
The Bureau said that the average price of 1 kilogramme of tomatoes increased by 6.36 per cent.
It means that the price increased from N268.64 in March to N285.72 in April.
An independent check shows that the price of 50 kilogramme bag of imported rice dropped from N28,000 it sold in May last year to N15,500 at the popular Garki Market in Abuja.
The slight increase in the price of tomatoes has been attributed to the season.
Malam Adamu Abubakar, a tomatoes dealer at the market, said that rainy season was not good for cultivation of the northern brand.
He explained that only the Southern brand with heavy seeds can thrive, but not sufficient to meet the demand.
Price of onions has dropped with a small basket which sold for between N800 and N900 in March selling for between N400 and N500 in May.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday, at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja revealed the reason behind the increased price of Nigerian rice compared to the imported rice.
He pointed out that despite government’s efforts, the locally produced rice remains expensive compared to the imported rice because most of the imported rice was subsided by the foreign governments.
He further noted that most rice brought into the country were a product of Vietnam, India and Thailand whose government have imposed export subsidies on their products.
Audu Ogbeh further pointed that imported rice arrive into the country at about N9,000 per bag and are subsequently sold for about N13,000 per bag to consumers unlike the local rice which is sold for about N16,000 per bag.
He noted that the federal government was working on plans to better the lots of Nigerian farmers as there would be a meeting with the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to discuss rice prices among other matters.
Also, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources says it has begun the implementation of the National Roadmap toward increasing the country’s irrigated agriculture from 100,000 to 130, 000 hectares by 2020.
The Minister, Mr Suleiman Adamu said, in Abuja, that this was part of the ministry’s plan to boosting food production and generating foreign earnings.
“I will say it’s work in progress, between now and 2020, we hope to bring an additional 30,000 hectares based on what we have on ground and other intervention programmes.
“When we are able to complete all the projects on ground, we will be able to get 130,000 hectares by 2020.
‘‘I think that is a good step, of course we can’t do much now until we get the 2017 budget passed.” (NAN)