NIGERIAOlam rice Farm has attributed the increasing price of rice in the country to high-demand and supply gap, increasing cost of seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and high cost of diesel among other factors of productions.

The General Manager, Project Coordinator, Olam Rice Farm, Mahesh Ninye, who stated this last week in Abuja, told journalists that the price of rice may not go down very soon except government takes drastic step like allowing importation of the food crop into the country.

He said: “last year, a tonne of paddy sold for N65,000, this year, it is N150,000, the mill is run on diesel for 24 hours, the roads are very bad, the price of farm input have multiplied all these things added up to increase the price of our rice from N9,000 to the current price of N17,500.”

The GM of Olam Rice Farm said the price of rice may go up again by December, because of the high demand, adding that if government had allowed importation in October, the price of rice could have crashed by December to N15,000 from the current N18,000.

“But if government allows importation now, it would take another two months to get to the table of Nigerians”

Ninye said currently the rice demand in the country is about six million metric tonnes, while the supply is 3.5 million metric tonnes leaving a demand-supply gap of 2.5 million metric tonnes (MT), stressing the need for government to increase access to finance for farmers, encourage many international investors to invest in rice production, provide them with enabling environment, infrastructure, among other things to scale down the price of rice.

Disclosing that no rice importation has taken place in the last one year, he said it would still take the country another five years to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production.

He said “government should not completely ban rice importation what they could have done was to gradually cut down import.”

He said: “The 2017 date set to achieve self sufficiency in rice production is not visible; it will take another five years to achieve that target.

Government needs to support the farmers to increase yield per hectare, support international farms to come and establish project like Olam farm and bring in more young generation into farming.”

Olam Farm is currently producing 40,000metric tonnes of paddy rice, cultivated on 4,500 hectares on two cycles of wet and dry season and the farm is currently engaging 5500 outgrowers to cultivate 5000 hectares of land.

November 9, 2016;