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September 26, 2023
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Price Hike Looms as Rice Millers Halt Operations Over Scarcity of  Paddy 

The Northern Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has decried that rice millers are shutting down operations in the commercial city of Kano due to the scarcity of paddy.

Speaking on Monday in Kano, the chairman, NACCIMA Alhaji Dalhatu Abubakar, expressed  fear that food insecurity may hit its worst level in Nigeria if the present scarcity of paddy, a major raw material for the production of finished rice, persists.

Abubakar who doubles as the Chairman, Al-Hamsad Integrated Rice Mill,also said that the implication of paddy scarcity would force an increase in the price of finished rice, which would further mitigate activities of smugglers.

He added that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Nigeria is presently the largest producer of rice in Africa, with about 8,435,000 tonnes annually, followed by Egypt, Madagascar, Tanzania and Mali.

He therefore called on the Federal Government’s intervention on the area of mechanization and assisting the farmers with needed input that would enable all year round production.

Alhaji Abubakar disclosed that several millers have cut down production from 24 to 12 hours while laying off factory workers.

“Today hundreds of millers both the integrated and small scale are in serious dilemma and finding it extremely difficult to break even. It is difficult to sustain production now because of scarcity of paddy. As I speak, I know many millers that have completely closed their factories.

He disclosed that “those that are yet to close because they still have limited paddy in their reserve cannot operate 24 hours. Like me, I have reduced my production to 12 hours because I don’t have paddy. By implication, several workers will be rendered jobless.”

Besides the dearth of the raw materials, a larger percentage of integrated Rice millers in Kano are presently sourcing paddy at N400,000 per tonne, the same quantity previously sold for N330,000 in June in order to meet the high market demands,”he noted.

“Wherever you see paddy now, you buy it at an exorbitant price and you will still be compelled to face high cost of Fuel, pay tax, electricity bill etc. How many factories would survive this hard economy. The only hard way now is, the cost of finished rice which Nigerians will soon face,” Abubakar noted.

Alhaji Abubakar further disclosed that this alone might lead to increase in the cost of local finished product and if allowed, will give rise to demand for foreign rice thereby crippling the relative success the Federal Government has recorded in local rice security in the last eight years.

 

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