By Nwanguma Francisca
Traders at the popular Utako Market in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja has blamed border closure for the high cost of rice.
The rice dealers who spoke to our correspondent yesterday when she went to the market for price survey, begged the Federal Government to reopen the borders.
Recall, on August 21, 2019, the federal government announced the closure of all its land borders to tackle dumping and smuggling of goods into the country.
The action was also meant to redirect the nation’s focus from being a heavy dependent or a consumer of foreign goods, especially rice to a more productive nation, consuming its products.
However, the traders said, the closure of the border have affected the price of rice in the market.
Mr. Emeka Kalu, a rice dealer in Utako Market, Abuja who has been in the business for over 10 years said, he was getting rice cheaper before the border closure.
He also said that 2019 was his worst year over the years of selling rice.
A bag of foreign rice is more costly than before, it is been sold at the price of N25, 000, while local rice (Nigerian rice) is sold at N19,000 per bag.
Another interaction with Mrs. Rosemary Uteke, a rice seller, said, the border closure affected the importation and sale of foreign rice, therefore, reported low patronage from customers.
She also said that people are more interested in the local rice because according to them the local rice is sweeter than the foreign rice but they choose to buy the foreign rice because of the stress in separating stones from the local rice.
She however, pleaded with the government to open border to enable her take care of her family.
Meanwhile, the government said, the closure of the border was intended not only to raise revenue but also to encourage local production of rice.