Rice producing states seek buyers, millers

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Stakeholders in the rice value chain of some producing states are saying they are unable to find enough buyers for their rice; either milled or paddy, a development which may seem strange to those who find more ‘foreign rice’ in markets around them.

From Abakaliki, in Ebonyi to Patigi in Kwara, and even Kebbi state, rice farmers say they have more paddy than buyers who will mill it, and even those who have milled the rice, they say bulk traders/consumers are not forthcoming, as they would like. Yet, the price of rice is gradually declining in many of these rice-producing communities, even though the same is hardly experienced in cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt.

“As I speak, we have so much rice in the stores yet unsold,” said Moses Nomeh, commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, Ebonyi State, in a recent interview.

Three years ago, a bushel of rice (about 22 kg) was sold around N9,000 in Ebonyi, but this month during a visit to the state, it was sold at an average of N5,000.

According to Nomeh, there is a lot of improvement in rice production. “However, the off taker arrangement is where there is still some problems. We still need more off takers for our rice,” he said. Traders at the milling cluster reiterated this view, like wise rice farmers.

Joseph Ununu, who was chairman, Abakaliki Rice Mill Owners Industrial Association when this reporter last visited the state in 2016, had complained of low patronage at the cluster, a situation still in existence three years later.

In Kwara state, some farmers also say they are struggling to find market for their paddy rice.

“Even though imported rice is no longer available, still, there isn’t market for our (local) rice as we want it. … Read More...