By Etuka Sunday
The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria has disclosed that its Members produce 150 Trucks of Rice Daily.
Chairman of the association, Mohammed Abubakar gave the figure on the sidelines of the just concluded Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held at the CBN’s Headquarters, Abuja.
Abubakar said, the clarification was necessary because of the argument on whether or not the association has the capacity to feed the nation’s population especially during the forthcoming festive season.
He said: “Our combined capacity of the integrated rice Mill is 1.8 million metric tonnes per annum. If I break it down to a day, we produce 150 trucks of rice daily. And this just for the integrated rice Millers, there are other small scale Millers that are in their hundreds, then come back to local Millers that are scattered all over the country in their millions, so the issue of scarcity is not even there. But people are used to imported rice that is why they are afraid. I assure you, you will get rice throughout the Christmas period”.
He commented the Federal Government’s determination to close the border, saying that the rice Mills that had hitherto folded up are now back in operation.
“10 years back, we only have one Rice Mill in Nigeria, but today we have 40 integrated Rice Mills. A standard Rice Mill that can be compared with any Rice Mill in the World. Before now, we hardly produce to up to 100 metric tonnes, but today we produce millions. Rice Mills that had folded up are now back in operation,” he said.
On call to crash the price, he said: “when the the border was closed, there was a panic buying by holders and distributors thinking that there will be scarcity, now it is getting to two months and they see no sign of scarcity, so the rice have started to come out and the price have started to crash down, people thought that by now the price of rice will be N50’000, because we were told after the border closure that the price of rice will be 50, 000, 60, 000 by the end of November, today is the end of November and we are selling our rice N14, 000 in our factories, and distributors are selling between N16, 000, to N18, 000 as the case may be taking of cognisance of transportation as well”.
On the health side of it, he said: “the rice we produce is from the factory to the market, so it is fresh for every Consumer to eat. But not to say about the smuggled rice from our neighbouring countries. Some of them are stacked for two, three years. So Nigerians are taking something that is not supposed to be Consumed by human beings.”
The Chairman urged the federal government not to even consider reopening the borders.
“The number of jobs that this border Closure has generated is enormous, let us not even try to reverse it. The Federal Government and CBN have done so much in terms of policies for us to achieve sufficiency in rice production and we are making progress,” he said.
Meanwhile some Farmers said, they are happy over the border closure, and are meeting with the development finance of the CBN in preparation for the next wet season.