[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has attributed the recent hike in the price of locally processed rice to the upcoming festive season, vendors and off-takers.
The Deputy National President of RIFAN, Mr Segun Atho, on Tuesday in Lagos, said many rice vendors were stocking the commodity ahead of the Yuletide.
“The recent hike in the price of locally processed rice is seasonal because so many rice vendors are stocking for the upcoming festive season. This is the peak period for the sales of rice because we are heading toward December. Every trader will like to maximise profits during the Yuletide”.
He said when December or any festive period is approaching, most foodstuff sellers used to jerk up the prices of their food items.
“ It is a recurrent issue and not the fault of local farmers. The off takers and suppliers of local rice should be held responsible for the recent hike in the cost of locally processed rice”.
Atho said the members of his association were still producing local rice for the country and had never stopped for one day.
“Being in the primary sector of production, we hope that in the nearest future, the prices will stabilise”.
The farmer also appealed to government to help regulate the price of local rice by subsidising the commodity for the populace.
He called for a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) for the commodity while calling for government’s assistance in mechanised land clearing for local rice farmers.
He said such an assistance would help in reducing the cost normal incurred through local production of rice.
“We have been making appeals to the government to step into the situation to ensure that food prices become more affordable. There should be subsidy in food prices to cushion the effects of the price hike. Other countries do it, and our government should take a cue from them. Local rice farmers in the southern part of the country want the government to assist them in land clearing for cultivation”.
Atho said such would help to reduce the price hike, adding that it cost them so much to clear land for cultivation.
“Using cutlasses and hoes to clear our farms before cultivation cannot boost local rice production. We need the government to assist us in mechanising the process, especially, in the southern part of the country. We also need to adopt the GMP as farmers to aid an regulate local rice price across the country, so that farmers will not sell above the benchmark price. The government can also help to regularise the price by buying-up all that rice farmers will produce and sell to the public at subsidised price”.
He called on more people to venture into agriculture to help regulate the prices of food items.
“The youth, women and men should be involved in agriculture: the more, the merrier”.
He added that with more people venturing into local rice production and processing, there would be competition in prices which would result in a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]