The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has moved to crash the price of rice across the country as the apex bank and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) have concluded plans to distribute 27,000 metric tonnes of rice paddies directly to millers nationwide
The move is part of the measures initiated by the CBN to help address the rising cost of food prices in the Nigerian market.
According to a statement from the CBN, the direct allocation from RIFAN warehouses across 16 states of the federation was sequel to the earlier sale of paddy aggregated as loan repayment under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to millers from the rice pyramids unveiled in Niger, Kebbi, Gombe and Ekiti states.
Osita Nwanisobi, acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, said Kaduna State had been selected as the key location for the paddy allocation exercise, which would be done simultaneously in the states that recorded the highest quality of rice harvests during the last farming season.
The CBN Spokesman explained that the new strategy was in line with the bank’s mandate of ensuring price stability and its focus of being a people-centred central bank.
He was optimistic that the allocation of the paddies would lead to a decline in the prices of rice in the Nigerian market, boost availability, and ultimately check the activities of middlemen seeking to create artificial scarcity along the supply chains.
The price of rice has been on the increase since the Federal Government banned the importation of rice through the land borders in a bid to boost local production and stop revenue leakage.
The CBN introduced Anchor Borrowers’ Program (ABP) to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing of the required key agricultural commodities through the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash (for farm labour) to smallholder farmers. The move is to boost the production of these commodities, stabilize inputs supply to agro-processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food.
The CBN recently launched pyramids of rice paddies in Niger, Kebbi, Gombe and Ekiti state, with similar exercise expected in the Federal Capital Territory, Ebonyi and Cross River in the coming weeks.
This is part of its contribution to ensuring self-sustenance in food production as well as food security in Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the CBN, working with relevant agencies, in January 2021, had triggered the release of about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize from strategic anchors under the ABP which forced down the prices of maize.