Residents of Kano State have lamented the high cost of rice in the state despite mass production by farmers.
Rice, the most popular staple food in the country, is gradually becoming unaffordable to the common man, most of the residents lamented.
Merchants in rice, on their part, attributed the recent high cost of rice despite the proliferation of mega and small rice mills in the state to hike in the price of paddy as well as the introduction of middlemen in the business.
Chronicle market survey revealed that a bag of locally milled rice is now sold at between N22, 000 to N24, 000 per 50kg as against the N16, 000 it was sold in January 2020.
It was also gathered that a bag of paddy which was sold at N9, 500 in January 2020 is now sold at N16, 000 per bag.
A resident of Hotoro quarters, Isa Shehu told Chronicle that “We thought with the ban on rice importation and the federal government intervention in rice production, the common man will be able to buy rice at an affordable price. We are made to believe that the essence of the border closure has been defeated completely as rice is now becoming like gold to the average Nigerian.”
Similarly, a small-scale rice mill owner, Musa Idris, stated that the hike in paddy was gradually forcing many mini rice mills to increase their rice price or halt production because they lack the capacity to buy and process the paddy at such an exorbitant price.
A rice paddy merchant, Bala Sani Maitan, said most of the merchants were purely businessmen who buy and store paddy just to mop it out of the market as well as sell at an exorbitant price after creating artificial scarcity in the market.
When contacted on the issue, Kano state Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Alhaji Ibrahim Mukhtar said the government was aware of the development, adding that as a measure to address the issue, the ministry would be holding a meeting with all relevant stakeholders along rice value chain including the millers to see where the problem lies and how the problem could be rectified.