An Enugu-based commercial rice farmer, Mr Ekene Uzodinma, has advised Nigerians against panic buying and hoarding of rice ahead of the Yuletide celebration. Uzodinma, who is the Manager of Excellent Integrated Farms Ltd, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu. Meanwhile The National Food Security Council (NFSC), chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari has said it will make rice available before the Christmas festivity. The Deputy Chairman of the Council, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, stated this in an interview in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He said that the Council was aware of the current high prices of rice, assuring Nigerians that rice would be made available at a cheaper rate. According to the governor, government is also aware of the activities of some individuals and groups bent on frustrating the new rice policy.
“The good news is that there is a lot of production in the country.
However the Nigeria farmers said that all the Millers in Nigeria have enough paddy and farmers are producing and the harvest is coming in strong. He said that Nigeria had abundant rice that could last for about two years, adding, “with that in mind, no one should engage in panic buying in the first place.” Uzodinma said that panic buying and hoarding would naturally cause the price to rise unnecessarily. Some Nigerians are already misled by social media messages that the border closure will lead to scarcity and high cost of rice. “But that is a fallacy because there is more rice, I mean local rice, that could take the country about two years to consume. You can see that a family that needed only a bag of rice is ordering for 10 or more bags at a time. There are other families that are cashing in on the situation and using the border closure to become rice merchants and hoarding the commodity in order to re-sell it during the Yuletide. However, if Nigerians just buy rice normally, there would be no price increase and the quantity of the commodity will always be sufficient for all,’’ he said. Uzodinma said that rice merchants and middlemen had been busy going into the hinterlands with trailers, buying and transporting local rice to Lagos and other big cities.
The rice farmer further said that the quality of Nigeria’s rice remained the best anywhere in the World. “We have the best quality of rice because of the kind of soil texture in the country.
“The taste of our rice is unique, the nutritional value is very high and it is very beautify as well,’’ he noted. Uzodinma called on the youths to take advantage of the recent development to maximise the opportunities and profits in the agricultural sector. I will also want youths in Enugu state to take advantage and participate in the free-of-charge `One Youth, One Hectare’ of farmland project being organised by my NGO, The New Enugu Project,’’ he said.