The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday May 16, 2017 gave reasons why imported rice is still cheaper than locally produced rice, despite government efforts.
He asserted that most of the imported rice are from Vietnam, India and Thailand while Thailand subsidises the export of its rice.
Ogbeh made the assertion while responding to questions at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja.
He said one of the major reasons was that most of the imported rice was subsidized by the foreign governments.
He explained that the imported rice arrive at about 9,000 per bag, and are then sold at about N13,000 per bag to consumers unlike the local rice sold at about N16,000 per bag.
Ogbeh who also lamented the interest rates for farming loans, noted that the country’s interest rates was higher that the interest rate in most parts of the world.
Another reason for the high cost of local rice, the minister cited, is the price of diesel to run generators in the farms, especially the high cost of diesel.
The minister however promised that the federal government was very concerned about the high cost of local rice and would do something about it.
He however revealed that he will be having a meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun to discuss rice prices among other matters.
He futher disclosed that the federal government through its Anchor Borrowers Programme has invested billions of naira in assisting mainly local rice farmers, with rice being the country’s most consumed food.